Rorty Reexamined

in Richard Rorty

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226309903
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309910 | DOI:
Rorty Reexamined

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This chapter reexamines key junctures in Richard Rorty's intellectual career, this time through the lens of the sociology of ideas. It considers Rorty's choice of masters thesis topic, his movement into analytic philosophy in the 1960s, and his break with the analytic paradigm and his embracing of a pragmatist identity in the 1970s. The theories of Pierre Bourdieu and Randall Collins shed light on the decisions Rorty made at several of these junctures. For example, Bourdieu's focus on the reproduction of social and cultural capital helps explain Rorty's early educational trajectory, while the emphasis of both theorists on the strategic dimensions of intellectual life helps make sense of Rorty's turn toward analytic philosophy after graduate school. In other instances, however, the theories are underdeterminative with respect to explaining Rorty's actions. Only if non-strategic processes relating to the quest for intellectual self-concept coherence are also considered can Rorty's intellectual choices be more fully explained.

Keywords: Richard Rorty; sociology; analytic philosophy; Pierre Bourdieu; Randall Collins; intellectual self-concept; intellectual life

Chapter.  24150 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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