The Ethics of Richard Rorty. Moral Communities, Self-Transformation, and Imagination
Edited By Susan Dieleman, David E. McClean, Paul Showler, Routledge, 2022
This book contains diverse and critical reflections on Richard Rorty’s contributions to ethics, an aspect of his thought that has been relatively neglected. Together, they demonstrate that Rorty offers a compelling and coherent ethical vision. The book’s chapters, grouped thematically, explore Rorty’s emphasis on the importance of moral imagination, social relations, language, and literature as instrumental for ethical self-transformation, as well as for strengthening what Rorty called “social hope,” which entails constant work toward a more democratic, inclusive, and cosmopolitan society and world.
Several contributors address the ethical implications of Rorty’s commitment to a vision of political liberalism without philosophical foundations. Others offer critical examinations of Rorty’s claim that our private or individual projects of self-creation can or should be held apart from our public goals of ameliorating social conditions and reducing cruelty and suffering. Some contributors explore hurdles that impede the practical applications of certain of Rorty’s ideas.
The Ethics of Richard Rorty will appeal to scholars and advanced students interested in American philosophy and ethics.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Stretched Thin: Rorty’s Ethical Vision Paul Showler and Susan Dieleman
Part I: Creating Moral Communities and Creating Selves
1. Reading Rorty in Tehran; Or, What Happened When I Road-Tested Rorty’s Philosophy of Life Inside an Iranian Prison Kian Tajbaksh
2. Self-Creation and Community: Nietzsche, Foucault, Rorty Daniel I. Harris
3. Richard Rorty, Ethnocentrism, and Moral Community: A Westerner’s Response to FGM John Giordano
4. Rorty’s Hope of Achieving a Global Civilization Clarence Mark Phillips
Part II: Imagination, Care, and Virtue
5. Imagination as a Social Virtue Santiago Rey
6. Can Trees Care? The Overstory and Rorty’s Ideal of Inspirational Literature Ben Roth