Summary and Info
Richard Rorty is regarded as something of a pariah in mainstream philosophical circles. Trained by some of the most eminent philosophers of the twentieth century, he has come to be one of the strongest critics of the philosophical tradition. Over the years Rorty's books have cast serious doubt on philosophical ambitions, such as whether we can provide deep and uncontroversial definitions of justice, truth, and knowledge. He has also questioned whether it makes sense to ask if the beliefs we have, in some deep sense, correspond with the "real world." Instead of trying to resolve deep philosophical questions, Rorty believes we should turn our attention to social issues, broadly conceived as "increasing solidarity". In this book, G. Elijah Dann takes seriously Rorty's writings, showing how, contrary to what many philosophers believe, he actually helps to enhance and enliven both the philosophy of religion and the chances for moral progress. Dann goes on to discuss Rorty's metaethics and reviews. Rorty's well-known article, "Religion as Conversation-stopper," showing how the private/public distinction, though well-placed, needs adjustment. Contrary to Rorty's view that religious values should remain in the private realm, Dann maintains religious values can play an important role in the public square, albeit through a "translation" into secular terms. Finally the book explores how the history of philosophical interests shaped theological ones and Dann looks at Rorty's more recent thoughts about religion, particularly in his discussion with the Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo.