Richard Rorty was a philosopher who attempted to bring together the tradition of American pragmatism and that of post-Nietzschean French and German philosophy.
Rorty’s books criticized the idea that knowledge consists of an accurate representation of the intrinsic natures of things and argued for the pragmatist view that true beliefs are the beliefs that help us achieve our ends. He tried to carry on Dewey’s attempt to blend Hegelian historicism with a post-Darwinian naturalism. He was the author of numerous books, such as Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (1989), Objectivity, Relativism and Truth (1991), Essays on Heidegger and Others (1991), Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America (1998), Truth and Progress (1998), and Philosophy and Social Hope (2000). He was the co-author, with Gianni Vattimo, of The Future of Religion (2005).
Rorty was a professor of comparative literature at Stanford University. He served on the faculties of Yale University, Wellesley College, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia.
Rorty received a B.A. (1949) and an M.A. (1952) from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. (1956) from Yale University.
Last updated January 1, 2005.