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Philosophy as Poetry


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Richard Rorty was affiliated over the course of his long teaching career with Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and Stanford University. Recognized as one of the most important voices in American philosophy of the late twentieth century, he was the author of numerous landmark works, including Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.

Michael Berube is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University; his most recent book is The Secret Life of Stories: From Don Quixote to Harry Potter, How Understanding Intellectual Disability Transforms the Way We Read.

Mary V. Rorty is Clinical Associate Professor at the Stanford University Medical center and a Fellow of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics.


In these lectures Rorty is singing the same same old (and good) song about what we must give up. We must give up our striving to be in touch with the really real, and we must give up the illusion that by paring away the accidental features of our temporal lives we can finally be in touch with our true, authentic, selves. The lesson is so bracing and so difficult because it is delivered in the context of a tradition--philosophy since Plato--that had been dedicated to the doing of these impossible things for centuries. Where is Richard Rorty when we need him? He is here.-Stanley Fish, Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at Florida International University and the Floersheimer Visiting Professor of Law at Cardozo Law School. Richard Rorty, in these wonderfully clear and compact lectures, gave the best summary of his views of the meaning of truth and the philosophy of language and mind. His defense of 'narrative philosophy' is enhanced by the vivid and memorable sketches of Hegel, Nietzsche, William James, and other moderns who aimed as Rorty did to reconcile the work of reason and imagination.-David Bromwich, Yale University

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