Sunday, June 10, 2007

Richard Rorty (1931-2007)

Richard Rorty, Stanford University philosopher and professor of comparative literature, and the man who once declared that "Truth is whatever your peers will let you get away with saying," is dead at age 75 of pancreatic cancer.

Rorty was also known for his idea of "liberal irony," the term he used to describe our attempt to justify our belief in human rights which, as an atheist, Rorty recognized could not be justified. Nevertheless, he suggested that liberal institutions were superior to other forms of government because they reduce cruelty in the world, even though he had no basis for saying that cruelty ought to be reduced.

Rorty was a good example of what happens to a man's philosophy when he starts from the assumption of atheism and seeks to draw consistent conclusions from its implications.