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Richard Rorty (1931-2007)


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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Richard Rorty, a very influential philosopher, who tried to connect philosophy’s concerns with other concerns across the academy, died recently. His obituary can be found here.

I’m not sure how many readers of this blog have read any of Rorty’s works, but I’d be interested in anyone’s opinion as to their worth. I myself think he had a real talent at writing clear and compelling prose, and finding creative and controversial perspectives. But I think usually he was wrong, and usually misrepresented the philosophers he described.

For more discussion of Rorty, see the entry on Brian Leiter’s webapge, on the blogroll to the right.


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