more on rorty


I was pretty disappointed in most people's attempts to attack Rorty the
last time this came up, but I think Asher gets it right when he refers to
his "arbitrary liberal standards." I think ultimately the error that Rorty
commits is the way in which he pretends to connect his posthumanist
epistemology to his politics. He's on the right track when he says that
recognizing the contingency of our values is a positive step for the
advancement of a democratic politics. The problem, though, is that he's only
pretending that he's actually taking his recognition of the contingency of
liberal values seriously, because when he says "democratic politics" he
thinks that means "liberal politics." Ultimately Rorty ends up setting up an
unspoken distinction between values that can be seriously recognized as
contingent (e.g. religious values), and those which can only be cheerfully
recognized as contingent (liberalism). Apparently only the contingency of
the former warrants its confinement to the private, whie the contingency of
the latter effectively has no implications.

One thing that I really am curious about, though, is what people's
problems are with liberal politics. Because I share Rorty's politics (if you
were to go issue by issue), I really have no problem with them until I
consider the sort of cultural imperialism that we've seen in Vietnam,
Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, etc...


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