In this volume, a host of distinguished scholars examine Richard Rorty's influence on twentieth-century American pragmatism and its commitment to achieving social democracy. Rorty's reclaiming of the pragmatist tradition and his contribution to the discipline of intellectual history are highlighted; at the same time, each essay finds Rorty's pragmatism (most fully enunciated in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity) lacking in its privatist vision of the good life. This criticism is drawn out through explicit comparisons between Rorty and his grandfather Walter Rauschenbusch, William James, John Dewey, Randolph Bourne, Richard J. Bernstein, and other twentieth century pragmatist thinkers. This volume offers the most complete historical treatment of this controversial intellectual to date.
John Pettegrew is assistant professor of history at Lehigh University. He is currently completing a book entitled Brutes in Suits: The Pathological Origins of American Masculinity, 1890-1920.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Pragmatism: An Old Name for Some New Ways of Thinking? Chapter 3 Rorty, Radicalism, and Romanticism: The Politics of Gaze Chapter 4 Private Life and Public Commitment: From Walter Rauschenbusch to Richard Rorty Chapter 5 Lives of Irony: Randolph Bourne, Richard Rorty, and a New Genealogy of Critical Pragmatism Chapter 6 Is It Pragmatism? Rorty and the American Tradition Chapter 7 Is the Revival of Pragmatism Practical? Chapter 8 Narrative Politics: Richard Rorty at the "End of Reform" Chapter 9 Afterword: Intellectual Historians and Pragmatist Philosophy