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Richard Rorty Short Essay: Analysis

Often, what is presented as fact, or objective reality, is the truth as it has been discerned by a particular group or subgroup and distilled into a text. For Western civilization, that has traditionally meant that educated and relatively wealthy white males defined truth. Postmodernists challenged this approach and thus challenged the foundations on which basic "truths" were based. Religion and speculative theories proved even attractive and fertile targets for postmodern criticism (Lemke, 1994).

Richard Rorty was born in 1931 in New York City and was raised with a commitment to the political left that was at once anti-communist even as it embraced redistributive economics and pragmatism. Within this social and intellectual circle, participants considered themselves patriotic as they sought to implement social, political and economic reforms. Rorty was an academic, completing his undergraduate studies as well as a master's degree at the University of Chicago (he entered at the age of 15), then moving to Yale for his doctorate. This was followed by time in the military after which he began teaching at Wellesley College. Other teaching posts would include Princeton, the University of Virginia and Stanford. Rorty died in Palo Alto, California in 2007 from pancreatic cancer (Bernstein, 2007).

Unlike most philosophers, Rorty dispensed with the Big Questions-who are we, why are we here, what is the meaning


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