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Mike Sandbothe

Rorty's Pragmatist Vocabulary in Action

Richard Rorty is not only one of the main proponents of the world wide renaissance that American pragmatism is obviously experiencing in the 21. Century. At the same time he developed a new kind of pragmatist vocabulary. This vocabulary plays Peirce down in relation to Dewey and James and connects the two of them in a transformative way with pragmatist elements in the thinking of continental philosophers like Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein.

The anti-representationalist and consciously ethnocentric update of pragmatism that Rorty offers is outlined in his famous masterwork “Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity” (1989) as well as in the four volumes of his “Philosophical Papers” (1991-2007). My contribution will put a certain focus on the last volume: “Philosophy As Cultural Politics”. It appeared in 2007, the year of Rorty's death.

I will not read a paper in the classical sense. Instead I will make a careful and partly critical use of Rorty's pragmatist vocabulary in order to reformulate some of the main issues discussed during the preceding four days of the workshop.


Munich, 31. August 2007