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Richard Rorty

He is arguably the most influential philosopher of our time: a radical American who is against war in Iraq - and against truth, reason and science. Yet his radicalism turns out to be oddly disarming

By Simon Blackburn   April 2003

Postmodernists – the very word is like a knell. According to popular fears, they scoff at everything we hold dear, replacing truth, reason, objectivity, knowledge, and scientific method with fashion, rhetoric, power, subjectivity and relativism – thereby summoning our history and politics, literature and art, indeed western civilisation itself, to its doom. According to these fears, almost all the humanities have answered the diabolical call. And currently leading the danse macabre, in the steps of Nietzsche and Foucault, Lyotard and Derrida, capers the cloven-hooved and triple-horned figure of Richard Rorty.

Rorty, born in 1931 in New York City, is an…

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