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Feminism and Historicist Universalism: A Critical Analysis of Richard Rorty’s Anti-Universalism

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Richard Rorty, a neo-pragmatist well known for his anti-universalist philosophy, applies his anti-universalist approach to feminism in the paper titled “Feminism and Pragmatism” (1991). In this paper, Rorty claims that universalism is not helpful for feminists in making changes to a masculinist society. In contrast, the main point of my paper is to defend universalism as appropriate to feminism. It is not, however, argued in the form of advocacy for all versions of universalism. I will classify universalism into two distinguished types, AHISTORICIST-ESSENTIALIST universalism and HISTORICIST, ANTI-ESSENTIALIST universalism, and I will defend the latter as consonant with feminism and Rorty’s own pragmatistic approach.


Youjin Kong    
Michigan State University
United States


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