R.I.P. Richard Rorty


I just learned that Richard Rorty died Friday. I was a big fan of his work as an undergrad, and at that time both Consequences of Pragmatism and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity had a big influence on my thinking. I suppose they still do indirectly, though I'm less impressed with them now than I was then. He was one of the (very) few contemporary philosophers whom I found really inspiring, even when he was downright frustrating. So I'm sad to hear he's no longer around. Love him or hate him, English-language philosophy needs many more people writing interesting, far-reaching, and far-sighted philosophy, and can't afford to lose any of those who are.

UPDATE: Here are some other people's thoughts on Rorty's passing that I've come across:

John Holbo at The Valve

Brian Leiter at Leiter Reports

Jacob Levy

"Duck" at DuckRabbit

N. Pepperell at Rough Theory

Sean Carroll at Cosmic Variance

Peter Bradwell at Demos

Daniel Solove at Concurring Opinions

Christopher Hayes (via Rough Theory)

David Roberts at The Gristmill (via Rough Theory)

John Wilkins at Evolving Thoughts

If you have posted your own reflections, let me know. It's nice to see such a broad range of people, from physicists and analytic philosophers to broadly continental sorts, remembering him fondly. Like I said, far-reaching.


More like this

What Is Life? A 21st Century Perspective | Conversation | Edge.   In February 1943 one of the most distinguished scientists of the 20th Century, Erwin Schrödinger, delivered a seminal lecture, entitled 'What is Life?', under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, in Trinity…
You can tell when the anti-intellectuals are in charge: they start throwing away investments in knowledge that took generations to build, all in the name of short-term economy. The latest instance: the state of Wyoming wants to shut down the University of Wyoming Geological Museum. It's already…
The Leiter Report has a brief obit. Richard Rorty was a significant thinker, although I must say that what I learned from his work Philosophy and the MIrror of Nature, I had to unlearn later on. But that is the way of philosophical discussions. More from Telos, courtesy of Mixing Memory. I…
"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, it to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution." -John Adams…

Oh. I'd become a big fan of his work in the past six months -- in other words, I was becoming more and more anti-foundationalist -- and just spend yesterday afternoon reading a few essays in his "Philosophy and Social Hope". Sad...