Is Richard Rorty a philosophical quietist? We consider different stances Rorty has assumed toward philosophy, arguing that on the face of it there is no conflict between them. However, Rorty's extensive writing on the topic of truth suggests a tension between Rorty's own recommendation of “benign neglect” of metaphysics and his actual philosophical practice. The topic of truth actually serves Rorty's philosophical purposes well, allowing him to change the direction of conversation from a concern with the nature of concepts to a direct concern with human practice. The switch Rorty envisions is captured in the emblematic figure of the ironist, and we consider the ironist variety of quietism accordingly. For Rorty, we conclude, quietism is a contingent, conditional, strategic stance. Rorty's aim is to change the direction of a strand of philosophical conversation, not to free us from philosophical illusion or to bring philosophy to an end.
Research Article|January 01 2010
The New Loud: Richard Rorty, Quietist
Common Knowledge (2010) 16 (1): 48-65.