An Ethics for Today

An Ethics for Today: Finding Common Ground Between Philosophy and Religion

RICHARD RORTY
FOREWORD BY JEFFREY W. ROBBINS
INTRODUCTION BY GIANNI VATTIMO
CONCLUSION BY G. ELIJAH DANN
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 104
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/rort15056
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  • Book Info
    An Ethics for Today
    Book Description:

    Richard Rorty is famous, maybe even infamous, for his philosophical nonchalance. His groundbreaking work not only rejects all theories of truth but also dismisses modern epistemology and its preoccupation with knowledge and representation. At the same time, the celebrated pragmatist believed there could be no universally valid answers to moral questions, which led him to a complex view of religion rarely expressed in his writings.

    In this posthumous publication, Rorty, a strict secularist, finds in the pragmatic thought of John Dewey, John Stuart Mill, William James, and George Santayana, among others, a political imagination shared by religious traditions. His intent is not to promote belief over nonbelief or to blur the distinction between religious and public domains. Rorty seeks only to locate patterns of similarity and difference so an ethics of decency and a politics of solidarity can rise. He particularly responds to Pope Benedict XVI and his campaign against the relativist vision. Whether holding theologians, metaphysicians, or political ideologues to account, Rorty remains steadfast in his opposition to absolute uniformity and its exploitation of political strength.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52543-5
    Subjects: Religion, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. FOREWORD RICHARD RORTY: A PHILOSOPHICAL GUIDE TO TALKING ABOUT RELIGION
    (pp. VII-XXIV)
    JEFFREY W. ROBBINS

    Richard Rorty is famous, maybe even infamous, for his philosophical nonchalance. With his death in 2007 at the age of seventy-five, newspapers across the United States and around the world eulogized him as one of the most influential contemporary philosophers while also detailing the “casual way in which he dismissed millennia of philosophical heritage.”¹ While some, such as Professor Russell Berman of Stanford University reserved an exalted place for Rorty in the pantheon of the history of philosophy by declaring that Rorty “rescued philosophy from its analytic constraints” and returned it “to core concerns of how we as a people,...

  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)
    GIANNI VATTIMO

    I made the acquaintance of Richard Rorty at Milwaukee in 1979, where they had organized a conference on postmodernism. Those taking part included the late Ihab Hassan, an Egyptian thinker who had written books on postmodernity; Hans-Georg Gadamer; and Rorty. I was a touch diffident vis-à-vis Rorty because, as well as being older than I, though not by much, he had just won an important prize for his book Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, and that made him the featured American philosopher at the conference. He was very kind, though, and after taking a quick look at my paper,...

  5. AN ETHICS FOR TODAY
    (pp. 7-26)
    RICHARD RORTY

    I’m very grateful to Gianni Vattimo for his sympathetic remarks about my philosophical writings, and I’m very grateful to Antonella Parigi and her colleagues in Torino Spiritualitàfor inviting me on this occasion. I have been in Torino before, but this is the first time I have been in the Teatro Regio, and it is a very impressive stage from which to speak. My topic today is spirituality and secularism. Pope Benedict XVI has complained that it is becoming very difficult for the Church to say what it believes. Very soon, the pope has written, one will not be able to...

  6. CONCLUSION PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, AND RELIGIOUS BELIEF AFTER RORTY
    (pp. 27-76)
    G. ELIJAH DANN

    A few years ago, I wrote After Rorty: The Possibilities for Ethics and Religious Belief in which I tried to outline, among other things, what ethics, the philosophy of religion, and religious belief might look like in light of Richard Rorty’s metaphilosophical views.¹ The timing of this exploration was fortunate, as a couple months before my manuscript was due the very capable Santiago Zabala published a book based on a discussion of these topics that Rorty had with Gianni Vattimo.² Their conversation provided me with more theoretical fodder for my own study. Now, a few years later, I’d like to...