Monday, November 21, 2016

Rorty, *Achieving Our Country*: Prescient?

I don't remember much about the book.
I'm not sure whether it's worth reading (again). But it's short and easy. So that's something.
I generally have a higher opinion of Rorty than most analytically-trained philosophers do. Part of that is probably because, when I was skulking around UVa, between grad school and employment, I was overly-aggressive toward him at talks, and he was always kind and friendly to me nevertheless. (What a little shit I was, in retrospect...) But part of it's because I think that his development of criticisms (often not originally his own, of course) of realism, empiricism, and analytic philosophy are often better than they're given credit for. But criticism is usually easy; the other thing is hard. His own attempts to generate something like a positive program fall very flat--unsurprisingly, given his allegiance to characters like Wittgenstein and Derrida.
Anyway, the article linked above may be of some interest.

(h/t the other RR)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that book a couple years after it came out. The main point of the book, as I recall, was not the prediction of what an American-style autocrat would look like, but an argument that the Left badly damages its case by refusing the embrace American patriotism. Which, being a pragmatist, he believes should be embraced whether you believe is America is exceptionally good, exceptionally bad, or otherwise, since it is a path to power. The prediction is pretty run of the mill lefty, failure to implement such and such a social program will lead the masses to turn to a dictator in their economic despair stuff. As a prediction, nothing special. And not terribly accurate either, except on a superficial level. The evidence keeps piling up that feelings of despair about the economy are driven more by culture war anger than vice versa.

5:23 PM  

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