[lit-ideas] Re: 'airy-fairy Proustian snob' or the Last Great AmericanPhilosopher?

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 23:35:28 -0500

Here's a piece from Slate (called to my attention by Jeff McLaughlin at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops BC) in which various people offer their reflections on Richard Rorty.


a quote from Stephen Metcalf from the above site: "always and everywhere deplore cruelty;"

But why? Why deplore it? Why not embrace? I really like Rorty. But he, like everyone else lacking God-given absolutes, seems confined to personal preference. And from my perspective, judging from history and the history of religion, it seems there's no God-given absolute against cruelty -- God and Cheney seem to me to be best buddies. Rorty, I imagine, would respond that cruelty doesn't work, it only begets more cruelty, ergo, don't be cruel (unless you want to rule?). But I would argue that the Western world is where it is (mostly egalitarian, liberal, bourgeois democracies ) in large part through past cruelty. I have to wonder, you know? Is all ethics after the fact? But not tonight. I'm going to bed.

Mike Geary

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