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A Summary of “Richard Rorty and the Ethics of Anti-Foundationalism”

By Samuel Phineas Upham

I recently re-read the essay, “Richard Rorty and the Ethics of Anti-Foundationalism” by  Jon A. Levisohn, included in my book Space of Love and Garbage. Levisohn is Assistant Professor of Education and, by courtesy, Philosophy, at Brandeis University. This chapter is largely taken from the first chapter of his honors thesis at Harvard University, entitled Rorty, Relativism, and Responsibility. His recent publications include “How to Do Philosophy of Religious Education,” Religious Education 2005, and “Patriotism and Parochialism: Why Teach American Jewish History, and How?” Journal of Jewish Education.

Here is the bio (above) from the essay and a quotation of my favorite paragraphs of the essay (below).

The contemporary student of philosophy (and of its history) is confronted not only by the collapse of the metaphysical systems of the nineteenth century, but also by the slow demise of the empiricisms which struggled to replace them in the first half of the twentieth. Without a secure philosophical account of what is universal, what is absolute, what is transcendent of historical, political and social contingency—whether in the realm of our moral beliefs or, more generally, our knowledge of anything at all—all we are left with is a sometimes overwhelming diversity. We observe, even within our own society but certainly across sociological and historical boundaries, a dazzling diversity of opinions and beliefs, with no apparent independent or objective criterion at hand to help us distinguish between the good and the bad, between the true and the false.

Check out this book on Amazon: Space of Love & Garbage by Samuel Phineas Upham

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