Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

8-2006

Abstract

Richard Rorty's navigation of the pitfalls of the cosmopolitan-communitarian debate, concern with human suffering, recognition of the contingency of communal identities and relationships, and his endorsement of liberal societies, by definition inclusive and always in search of a greater justice, make it appear as though his thought can guide us towards greater concern for the world's poor. However, this article questions the progressive potential of Rorty's thought. Obstacles to such (global) moral progress include Rorty's unquestioned statism and his focus on internal outsiders who are suffering and/or oppressed, instead of external outsiders beyond national borders; his insistence on a public-private split that legitimises social indifference, coupled with a narrow understanding of responsibility; the undemandingness of his liberalism; and his emphasis on the excluding notion of ‘solidarity’, as prerequisite for moral concern. However, continuous Rortian ‘sentimental education’ can lessen the objectification of and indifference to the global poor.

Keywords

Rorty, sentimental education, liberal societies, communal identities

Discipline

Ethics and Political Philosophy | Political Science

Research Areas

Political Science

Publication

Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies

Volume

33

Issue

1

First Page

1

Last Page

16

ISSN

0258-9346

Identifier

10.1080/02589340600617950

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Copyright Owner and License

Author

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1080/02589340600617950

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