MLAR 7060 Understanding America 2: Philosophy of Richard Rorty

This course is an intense encounter with the work of perhaps the most significant, original, and influential philosopher in American history, Richard Rorty (1931-2007). The material that we read will cover all the main aspects of Rorty's philosophical and political work. The main focus of the course will be an attempt to come to terms with Rorty's critique of the cult and culture of professional philosophy. We will also be concerned with an attempt to understand Rorty as a major figure in the American intellectual tradition and locate him within the history that includes such figures as Emerson, Whitman, William James, John Dewey, and other figures considered to be exemplars of naturalism, pragmatism, or neo-pragmatism in one form or another.