Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The other thing I missed - Richard Rorty's passing last week. Another controversial iconoclast we've lost this year. From the NY Times:

His views were attacked by critics on the left and the right. The failure to recognize science’s particular powers to depict reality, Daniel Dennett wrote, shows “flatfooted ignorance of the proven methods of scientific truth-seeking and their power.”

Simon Blackburn, a philosopher at Cambridge University, has written of Mr. Rorty’s “extraordinary gift for ducking and weaving and laying smoke.”

Mr. Rorty was engaged with and amused by his critics. In a 1992 autobiographical essay, “Trotsky and the Wild Orchids,” he wrote that he was considered to be one of the “smirking intellectuals whose writings are weakening the moral fiber of the young”; “cynical and nihilistic”; “complacent”; and “irresponsible.”

Yet he confounded critics as well, by speaking up for patriotism, an academic canon and the idea that one can make meaningful moral judgments.

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