SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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Taking Other Human Beings Seriously: Rorty on Moral Choice and Responsibility

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This paper gives an account of the underlying moral dimension of Rorty’s thought by examining his earliest published essays and often neglected passages of Mirror. To make taking other human beings seriously the highest priority of democratic inquiry is to situate the social practice of justification in a moral context that supplies the normativity often regarded as missing or inadequate in Rorty’s account by analytic philosophers, Deweyan, and “new” pragmatists alike. Bringing this neglected moral dimension into view sheds new light on the seemingly problematic stances he adopted with regard to truth as the goal of inquiry, the possibility of rational criticism, and answerability to our peers. While this account is meant to serve as a corrective, my aim is less to defend Rorty from criticism than to show how introducing this largely neglected moral dimension alters the picture and adds coherence to Rorty’s fundamental challenge to us.


Christopher Voparil    
Union Institute & University
United States


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