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Richard McKay Rorty, American pragmatist philosopher and public intellectual noted for his wide-ranging critique of the modern conception of philosophy as a quasi-scientific enterprise aimed at reaching certainty and objective truth. In politics he has argued against programs of both the left and the right in favor of what he describes as a meliorative and reformist "bourgeois liberalism." (2).Rorty's views are somewhat easier to characterize in negative than in positive terms. In epistemology he opposes foundationalism, the view that all knowledge can be grounded, or justified, in a set of basic statements that do not themselves require justification. According to his "epistemological behaviorism," Rorty holds that no statement is epistemologically more basic than any other, and no statement is ever justified "finally" but only relative to some circumscribed and contextually determined set of additional statements. In the philosophy of language Rorty rejects the idea that sentences or beliefs are "true" or "false" in any interesting sense other than being useful or successful within a broad social practice. He also opposes representationism, the view that the main function of language is to represent or picture pieces of an objectively existing reality. Finally, in metaphysics he rejects both realism and antirealism, or idealism, as products of mistaken representationalist assumptions about language.Richard Rorty was born in 1931 in New York City ...Show more

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Richard McKay Rorty, American pragmatist philosopher and public intellectual noted for his wide-ranging critique of the modern conception of philosophy as a quasi-scientific enterprise aimed at reaching certainty and objective truth. …
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