|Philosophy and social hope
|Most philosophy since Plato has aimed at true knowledge, penetrating beneath appearances to an underlying reality. To this tradition, argues Richard Rorty, pragmatism opposes a philosophy of hope.
One of the most provocative figures in recent philosophical and wider literary and cultural debate, Richard Rorty brings together in this collection a wide range of philosophical, political and cultural writings. He explains in a fascinating memoir how he began to move away from Plato towards James and Dewey, culminating in his own version of pragmatism. What matters, he suggests, is not whether our ideas correspond to some fundamental reality but whether they help us carry out practical tasks and create a fairer and more democratic society. In an introduction called ‘Relativism’ and an afterword on the unfortunate popularity of the term ‘postmodern’, Rorty responds to charges that he is a ‘postmodern relativist’.