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 â€˜solidarityâ€™, as prerequisite for moral concern. However, continuous Rortian â€˜sentimental educationâ€™ can lessen the objectification of and indifference to the global poor.
Rorty, sentimental education, liberal societies, communal identities
Ethics and Political Philosophy | Political Science
Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies
Taylor and Francis
JORDAAN, Eduard.(2006). Richard Rorty and Moral Progress in Global Relations. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, 33(1), 1-16.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/392
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