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June 10, 2007

Richard Rorty

So I'm a little late, but I wanted to pay my respects and note the death of Richard Rorty (1931-2007).

I personally am attracted to Rorty for a variety of reasons, in part because he (1) espoused American pragmatism; (2) emphasized the interpretivity and value-laden nature of scientific practice; (3) was sympathetic to some aspects of skepticism; (4) denied that truth was a goal of inquiry; (5) emphasized particularity and contingency; (6) turned to narrative and stories later in his career; and (7) wrote beautifully.

Of course, Rorty did not necessarily hold these positions simultaneously, nor did he hold all of them at any given time in his career.  But there are many aspects of his contentions that I personally am quite sympathetic to, and his work is relevant to my own research on pain.

Montaigne, as always, provides an encomium: "To philosophize is nothing else than to prepare oneself for death." 


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