viernes, 29 de junio de 2007

Jonathan Rée sobre Rorty

Siguen los homenajes a Richard Rorty... este es tomado del último número de la revista Prospect.


In The Linguistic Turn, Rorty observed that if philosophy could give up its claims to be a modern, scientific discipline, then it would be able to move on to a “post-philosophical phase,” throwing away the cumbersome baggage of “pseudo-scientific argumentation” and reinventing itself as a “new art form.” In his most famous book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), he stepped up to the plate, proposing that philosophy should be seen not as a hotline to Truth about the World but as a loose literary tradition which might from time to time provide the public with new metaphors to live by, or new stories for articulating the past or imagining the future. He was thus able to extend a hand of friendship to the kind of “continental philosophers” who had always been anathema to his colleagues; but then he made new enemies because the admirers of Heidegger, Gadamer and Derrida were not pleased to have their heroes bundled up with loose-talking American pragmatists who had given up on the idea of a shining path to truth.

Rorty’s disenchantment with hard-edged scientism led him not only to the sorts of thinkers that most professional philosophers dislike, but also to a kind of politics that they found equally unpalatable. He liked to recall his bookish left-wing parents, and how he was “brought up Trotskyite’ in rural New Jersey, even if he had since been “forced to admit that Lenin and Trotsky did more harm than good, and that Kerensky has gotten a bum rap.” But that did not detract from his admiration for his parents: they were Trotskyists not because they awaited a social revolution that would sweep away capitalism and injustice once and for all, but because they believed in socialism, democracy and the self-reliant simple-life Americanism of Emerson and Thoreau.

In Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (1989), Rorty argued for a revival of radicalism, but cured of the old superiority complex that deluded it into supposing that it was in possession of some exclusive insight into the fundamental structures of history, society or morality. He was an eclectic in politics, saying that he hoped to combine the progressive values of the Enlightenment with “the least common denominator of Mill and Marx, Trotsky and Whitman, William James and Vaclav Havel.” Politics was about solidarity rather than truth, and solidarity depended not on securing universal assent to principles that might be taken as self-evident, but on learning to love the fact that different people want different things from their lives, and that there is no reason why they shouldn’t. In Achieving our Country (1998), Rorty managed to annoy most would-be leftists by declaring his affection for everything they professed to despise: humanism, liberalism, individualism, technologism, representative democracy, and indeed the American way of life. He was unable to abstain from the general loathing for Reagan, Bush and the intervention in Iraq, but he also proclaimed an unfashionable preference for Roosevelt or Hubert Humphrey over Mao or Fidel Castro. He believed in a democratic utopia not because it would embody some ultimate political truth, but because it would mean that people realised there was no such thing as political truth. Above all he was a believer in hope—the hope for an open secular community where nothing matters except solidarity, and “love is pretty much the only law."

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