Richard Rorty - one of his last interviews online

Total Posts:  39
Joined  31-12-2017
31 May 2018 12:06

Richard Rorty was one of the most important American philosophers in the second half of the 20th century.  I recently came across this interview from 2006 on KQED (Rorty died the following year).  In it, a number of topics are discussed that are often the subject of Sam’s interviews, and also of many posts on this forum.  I listened to this casually the first time, and then a second time noting where some of these topics are mentioned, which I have indicated below (to the nearest 30 sec).

min 1- truth and freedom
1:30 - objective truth
2:00 - pragmatism
3:00 - Influence of Hegel on Dewey
6:00 - the new left
8:15 - “irony” (this term is not being applied here in a colloquial way, but rather as an important and original concept in Rorty’s thought—see
11:30 - analytic v. continental philosophy
12:30 - multiculturalism
14:00- hope, knowledge and morality (compare to R. H. Hare’s intuitive and critical levels - see my last post
16:00- last 200 years in the west
18:30- the American academy now (interesting to compare what Rorty says to views of David Horowitz and other critics)
21:00- Evangelical Christianity
35:00 Leo Strauss
36:30 Charles Peirce
38:00 Habermas, the James’s
41:15 Harold Bloom’s “American Religion”
45:00 Presidential impeachment (of Bush)
48:30 Natural science vs. the Arts

Several conjectures were made during the interview (mostly by call-in-listeners) about why there has been a rise in the religious right in the US (e.g, a reaction to increasing diversity, manipulation by powers that be, the rise of superstition, the influence of religious history). Rorty wasn’t satisfied with any of these and suggested some ways to get at this question. 


Books mentioned: (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity) (Take Care of Freedom and Truth Will Take Care of Itself) (H Bloom—The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation)

[ Edited: 31 May 2018 12:17 by saeed]