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Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity [Kindle Edition]

Richard Rorty
4.1 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (9 Kundenrezensionen)

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From Library Journal

Rorty propounds, and faces squarely the consequences of, a relativistic, non-essentialist view of man and society. For him, attitudes, values, beliefs, and practices are contingent phenomena of a particular time, place, and culture, none of which is inherently better or worse than any other. There is irony in the fact that one can realize this, yet still desire, and work for, "human solidarity" and freedom. How these positions can be reconciled is the subject of this important book, not incidental to which are fascinating discussions of Hegel, Heidegger, Habermas, Nietzsche, Nabokov, Freud, Dickens, and Orwell, among others. This is Rorty at his most stimulating, and he emerges as a major political theorist.
- Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"...bristles with big and unsettling ideas...No brief summary of this book can begin to convey its freshness, scope, and immense erudition...Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity will induce intellectual tingles in the philosopher and layman alike. It is going to be read for a long time." The Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is Rorty at his most stimulating, and he emerges as a major political theorist." Library Journal

"Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity is not only readable, informative and ceaselessly interesting; it is a bold and topical manifest about the entire philosophical and political prospect of our 'post-modern' times. Jonathan Re'e Radical Philosophy

"...consistently provocative, and every page excites philosophic thought." Philosophy and Literature

"An exciting book. For millennia philosophers have been debating whether the universe is out there to be discovered or is rather in effect invented by thinkers who can never get beyond their own categories. Rorty is our most prominent perspectivist today....Rorty writes with erudition and style. His views are always stimulating, though they will inevitably tend to infuriate readers who are not ready for a 'postmetaphysical' world." H. L. Shapiro, Choice


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4.1 von 5 Sternen
4.1 von 5 Sternen
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Influential and useful 29. September 1999
This book has influenced my reading and life for many years. Rorty defines what he believes the liberal individual can justifiably stake as his or her claims in the world. I found his views refreshing, light-handed, and extremely useful. I followed many of his sources, including a complete reading of Nabokov's works, and the amazing book, The Body in Pain, by Elizabeth Scary. Some I could tackle, others like Derrida's The Postcard, were over my head, but were still influential. I currently serve on a Board of Trustees and I find myself returning to this book to help frame my thoughts on political governance and on self-governance in a challenging environment. It is a deep well for those who wish to think carefully about how we can and should live now, given all the thought and experience that humankind has accumulated.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen There's nothing wrong with pragmatism.... 2. Februar 2000
American intellectuals who are politically liberal face a problem. They are the happy inheritors of a tradition built around Judeo-Christian values (such as concern for the poor) and Enlightenment social institutions (representative democracy, free market economy, etc.) but, having read their Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud, they can no longer give credence to the metaphysical notions (God's Will and Universal Reason) which have historically grounded our admirable social practices. In this book Richard Rorty, like John Dewey before him, argues that the ONLY justification a political institution or social policy requires is that it WORKS. Look not to lofty origins, but to concrete results. Of course, American intellectuals who are politically liberal tend to value programs whose results promote human growth, personal liberty, and social solidarity. But their enthusiasm for such goods will be tinged with irony, since they realize that there's nothing universal about these preferences (had Socrates, Jesus, and Jefferson died in their cradles our list of desirable ends might look very different-- Rorty calls this contingency). This book concludes with the suggestion that in a liberal utopia the bourgeois distinction between the public and the private would be a strong one, thus freeing individuals to pursue their own private perfection, a project Rorty feels is sometimes threatened from extremists on the Left and on the Right. This is a wonderful book, but potential readers who are ignorant of 20th century intellectual history will probably find the opening chapters pretty rough going.
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Von Ein Kunde
The basic assumption of this book is that truth is not "out there" and it discusses various consequences of this assumption, trying to combine this "ironist" viewpoint, with the "liberal" viewpoint that "cruelty should be avoided". Rorty makes various connections to the history of philosophy (Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger) and of literature (Proust, Nabokov, Orwell). Very interesting, profound and clearly written. A "must-read" even for people who do not agree with him.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Rorty's Greatest Postmodern Book 1. März 1998
Von Ein Kunde
In _Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity_, Rorty explores the end of objective realism due to linguistic faults in our language. I find Rorty's claims insightful and stimulating in this book, which is what we except from such a writer. In the book, Rorty examines the issue of our personal contingencies, and how the ideas that we have based on those contingencies should immediately placed under suspicion.
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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen What's Wrong With Pragmatism... 27. Dezember 1999
Von John
It's certainly worth reading, but as a computer-oriented person, I still come back to forms, existence, and negation. Rorty still seems to think we can climb out of the Age of Enlightenment by abandoning the means by which we got there and then proceed to create this "classless" society, which derives from his notion of universal solidarity.
The arguments for contingency and irony seem to be a set up for solidarity in a makeshift humanitarian algebra. However, to me this universal idea of solidarity just doesn't jibe with his contingency and irony arguments. It's just an abstract and universal/utopian populism.
Yes, we are all pretty much stuck in our own point-of-view, but the contingencies themselves are evolving, such that universal solidarity is only as strong as the agreement/contingency that creates it; and that is tenuous at best. For example, one person's cruelty is another's useful discipline, without which society might fail to evolve; that is, all convicts see themselves as innocent, all prosecuters as protectors of a free people, etc.
Rorty also deals with general concepts, but doesn't want to get into an Aristotleian exegesis because it isn't useful. But putting it through those paces reveals it for what it is: a liar's paradox.
Reason still has a strong foundation, but its weaknesses need to be examined, as the practice is still "useful." Russell, Whitehead, and Godel have covered this in mathematics as Church and Turing have in computer science, and Heisenburg did in Physics. In the end, it devolves into an irrational justification for socialism, and since that has been, in part, responsible for 70 million deaths this century I think it's "useful" to rethink these ideas very carefully as the practice betrays the notion of solidarity...unless we want to engage in the mutually assured destruction policies of the '60s and find our universal solidarity in the death and extinction of humanity.
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