March 2013‎ > ‎

5 - Faculty News: "Richard Rorty" by Ron Kuipers

ICS SENIOR MEMBER RONALD KUIPERS’ LATEST BOOK, RICHARD RORTY, RECEIVES RAVE REVIEWS
 

“Kuipers’ book provides the best introduction to all facets of Rorty’s work, for anyone who cares about the relevance of philosophy today” – Nancy Frankenberry
 

Ronald Kuipers’ new book is a philosophical commentary on the life’s work of Richard Rorty (1931-2007), a well-known and highly influential American philosopher in the pragmatist tradition of William James and John Dewey. The book forms the latest volume in Bloomsbury Press’ Contemporary American Thinkers series.

Kuipers composed the book during a sabbatical ICS awarded in the 2011-12 academic year. He describes Rorty as one of the most cited yet least understood philosophers of the 20th century. The book thus offers an overview and introduction to Rorty’s ideas, key writings and contributions to various fi elds of philosophy. It traces the development of Rorty’s thought and examines the key topics and controversies central to his work.

Kuipers introduces Rorty’s complex thought through the exploration of three Rortyan personas: The Philosophical Therapist, The Liberal Ironist and the Anticlerical Prophet. This exploration of Rorty’s multivalent yet deeply coherent intellectual identity is set against the background of his personal motivations for studying philosophy and for pursuing the controversial questions he did. The book portrays how, in conversation with the traditions of American Pragmatism, Analytic Philosophy and Continental Thought, Rorty creates his own unique brand of philosophy. Rorty’s originality, says Kuipers, resides in his fresh approach to interrelated social and political problems, revealing a thinker who has important reasons for marching into controversial intellectual territory.

Advance reviews have been glowing. Princeton University Professor of Religion Jeffrey Stout describes the book as “a well-informed, interesting, and clear overview of Richard Rorty’s contributions to American thought,” adding that he finds it “especially instructive on Rorty’s thinking about religion and politics.” Dartmouth College Professor of Religion Nancy Frankenberry claims that “Kuipers’ book provides the best introduction to all facets of Rorty’s work, for anyone who cares about the relevance of philosophy today,” and concludes that “the chapter on Rorty as Anticlerical Prophet is a tour de force.”