Advertisement

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 103–118 | Cite as

Richard Rorty and the concept of redemption

  • Tracy Llanera
Article
  • 385 Downloads

Abstract

It is curious why a secular pragmatist like Richard Rorty would capitalize on the religiously-laden concept of redemption in his recent writings. But more than being an intriguing idea in his later work, this essay argues that redemption plays a key role in the historical development of Rorty’s thought. It begins by exploring the paradoxical status of redemption in Rorty’s oeuvre. It then investigates an overlooked debate between Rorty, Dreyfus and Taylor (1980) that first endorses the concept. It then contrasts Rorty’s notions of essentialism and edification to link redemption to self-transformation. After providing a historical legitimation to the idea of redemption, the essay reconstructs Rorty’s modern version of the concept. Redemption for Rorty centers on human relationships and not religion or philosophy; it is also pluralist and liberal in character. Finally, it concludes that Rorty uses redemption—a primary component of religious language—to capture the salvific force of religion. This power is redirected toward the protection of secular, democratic hopes, which are demanding and fragile by nature.

Keywords

Richard Rorty Redemption Religion Liberal utopia Hubert Dreyfus Charles Taylor 

References

  1. Allison, D. (1994). Skin: Talking about sex, class, and literature. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books.Google Scholar
  2. Auxier, R., & Hahn, L. (Eds.). (2010). The philosophy of Richard Rorty (TPRR). Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  3. Bernstein, R. (1990). Rorty’s Liberal Utopia. Social Research, 57(1), 32–33.Google Scholar
  4. Bernstein, R. (2008). Richard Rorty’s deep humanism. New Literary History, 39(1), 13–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brandom, R. (2000). Rorty and his critics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. Dewey, J. (1934). A common faith. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dreyfus, H. (1980). Holism and hermeneutics. The Review of Metaphysics, 34(1), 3–23.Google Scholar
  8. Dreyfus, H., Rorty, R., & Taylor, C. (1980). Rorty, Taylor and Dreyfus: A discussion. The Review of Metaphysics, 34(1), 47–55.Google Scholar
  9. Festenstein, M., & Thompson, S. (Eds.). (2001). Richard Rorty: Critical dialogues. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gadamer, H. G. (1960). Wahrheit und Methode. Tübingen: Mohr Verlag.Google Scholar
  11. Gröschner, A., Koopman, C., & Sandbothe, M. (Eds.). (2013). Richard Rorty: From pragmatist philosophy to cultural politics. New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  12. Guignon, C., & Hiley, D. (Eds.). (2003). Richard Rorty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Habermas, J. (2008). …‘And to define America, her athletic democracy’: The philosopher and the language shaper. In memory of Richard Rorty. New Literary History, 39(1), 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heidegger, M. (1954). Vorträge und Aufsätze. Pfulingen: Günther Neske.Google Scholar
  15. Heidegger, M. (1977). The question concerning technology and other essays. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  16. Heidegger, M. (2001). Poetry, language, thought. New York: Perennial Classics.Google Scholar
  17. Kierkegaard, S. (2009). Kierkegaard’s Writings, XV: Upbuilding Courses in Various Spirits (H. V. Hong & E. H. Hong, Trans.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Leypoldt, G. (2008). Uses of metaphor: Richard Rorty’s literary criticism and the poetics of world-making. New Literary History, 39(1), 145–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Malachowski, A., & Burrows, J. (1990). Reading Rorty: Critical responses to philosophy and the mirror of nature (and beyond). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Mill, J. S. (1869). On liberty. London: Longman, Roberts & Green.Google Scholar
  21. Oakeshott, M. (1962). Rationalism in politics and other essays. London: Metheun & Co., Ltd.Google Scholar
  22. Rorty, R. (1979). Philosophy and the mirror of nature (PMN). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Rorty, R. (1980). A Reply to Dreyfus and Taylor. The Review of Metaphysics, 34(1), 39–46.Google Scholar
  24. Rorty, R. (1982). Consequences of pragmatism (CP). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency, irony, and solidarity (CIS). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rorty, R. (1991). Essays on Heidegger and others (EHO). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rorty, R. (1995). Taylor on self-celebration and gratitude. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 54(1), 197–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rorty, R. (1998a). Achieving our country: Leftist thought in twentieth century America (AC). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Rorty, R. (1998b). Truth and progress (TP). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rorty, R. (1999). Philosophy and social hope (SH). London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  31. Rorty, R. (2005). Take care of freedom and truth will take care of itself: Interviews with Richard Rorty (TCF). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Rorty, R. (2007a). Dewey and Posner on pragmatism and moral progress. The University of Chicago Law Review, 74(3), 915–927.Google Scholar
  33. Rorty, R. (2007b). Philosophy as cultural politics (PCP). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rorty, R. (2010). An Ethics for today: Finding common ground between philosophy and religion (ET). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Rorty, R., & Vattimo, G. (2005). The future of religion (TFR). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Saatkamp, H., Jr. (1995). Rorty and pragmatism: The philosopher responds to his critics. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Shook, J., & Margolis, J. (2006). A companion to pragmatism. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith, N. (2005). Rorty on Religion and Hope. Inquiry, 48(1), 76–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tartaglia, J. (2010). Richard Rorty: Critical assessments of leading philosophers. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Taylor, C. (2011). Recovering the sacred. Inquiry, 54(2), 113–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vattimo, G., & Rovatti, P. (1983). Il pensiero debole. Milan: Feltrinelli.Google Scholar
  42. Voparil, C., & Bernstein, R. (Eds.). (2010). The Rorty reader (TRR). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  43. Wrathall, M., & Malpas, J. (2000). Heidegger, authenticity and modernity: Essays in honor of Hubert L Dreyfus. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

Personalised recommendations