An Ethics for Today
Finding Common Ground Between Philosophy and Religion
by Richard Rorty
Richard Rorty is famous, maybe even infamous, for his philosophical nonchalance. His groundbreaking work not only rejects all theories of truth but also dismisses modern epistemology and its preoccupation with knowledge and representation. At the same time, the celebrated pragmatist believed moral questions did not have universally valid answers, leading to a complex view of religion rarely expressed in his writings.
In this posthumous publication, Rorty, a strict secularist, finds in the pragmatic thought of John Dewey, John Stuart Mill, Henry James, and George Santayana a political imagination shared by many religious traditions. His intent is not to promote belief over nonbelief, or to blur the distinction between religious and public domains, but to locate patterns of similarity and difference for an ethics of decency and a politics of solidarity. He particularly responds to Pope Benedict XVI and his campaign against postmodern inquiry. Whether holding theologians, metaphysicians, or political ideologues to account, Rorty remains steadfast in his opposition to absolute uniformity and its exploitation of political strength.