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Take Care of Freedom and Truth Will Take Care of Itself: Interviews with Richard Rorty (Cultural Memory in the Present) Paperback – November 29, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Cultural Memory in the Present
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804746184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804746182
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,478,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The United States has produced a great many idiosyncratic champions of human freedom, Walt Whitman and William James above all. It is time to recognize Rorty's place in that lineage."—Dissent

"Rorty is an extraordinarily important and influential philosopher, both inside and outside philosophy. His thoughtful political and social views are worth presenting in interview format . . . . Many of the interviews here are otherwise inaccessible, making this collection invaluable." —Samuel C. Wheeler III, University of Connecticut

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This volume collects a number of important and revealing interviews with Richard Rorty, spanning more than two decades of his public intellectual commentary, engagement, and criticism. In colloquial language, Rorty discusses the relevance and nonrelevance of philosophy to American political and public life. The collection also provides a candid set of insights into Rorty's political beliefs and his commitment to the labor and union traditions in this country. Finally, the interviews reveal Rorty to be a deeply engaged social thinker and observer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A reader reader on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rorty has become a cultural phenomenon unto himself, standing (with Chomsky and a few others) as one of America's most famous intellectuals (so it's more than a bit distressing to discover here that he's convinced we're headed for nuclear annihilation! Why must major American intellectuals be Cassandra figures?) The Introduction by Mendieta is nicely written and illuminating, if a bit hagiographic (and the picture on the cover is priceless!). Whatever you think of Rorty's philosophical views (I find myself agreeing at most half the time -- and what fun is it to read someone you completely agree with?), he is incredibly clever. He's got the wit of a 18th century French moralist, reincarnated for the 20th century. This collection of selected interviews showcases his great talent for the moody one-liner, the quick rejoinder, the ever-clever repartee; one almost feels sorry for the interviewers on whom he frequently sharpens his tools. Rorty is a masterful stylist, and, while I think his most highly developed medium remains the essay, for those of us who have read so many of his essays that they start to seem formulaic, the interview makes for an interesting change of pace. This book helps give one a sense of Rorty's full philosophical voice, his thoughts about his own remarkable intellectual trajectory, and, in the end, his rather depressing vision of our future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cerasel O. Cuteanu on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
this is an excellent volume for Rorty researchers; I usually do not have a lot of consideration for interview volumes, when we are talking about huge thinkers, such as Rorty, but this one would clear your views on one of the paradigmatic philosophers.
What you get in this volume are almost axiomatic statements about Rortianism - it will deffinitely be a great instrument should you want to read more complicated works of Rorty's.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Cuddihy on May 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's easy to find paradoxes in Richard Rorty's thinking. He's an academic philosopher who has no faith in philosophical systems, a thinker who rejects the label "relativist" but disbelieves in the idea of absolute Truth, a liberal social observer who has Utopian hopes for humanity but rejects radical social change, a moralist who believes we can discover more about ethics and the vagaries of human conduct in a Henry James novel than in a Sunday church sermon or a philosophical treatise on ethics, and an ironist who claims that we must put irony aside when confronting social issues.

With admirable cogency, this book takes on most of these paradoxes and transforms them into highly readable food for thought. Most passages, as is true of several other recent Rorty works, are accessible to an educated layman who reads little or no academic philosophy. Those who are either mystified or irritated by the arcane jargon that dominates much academic philosophy will be enlightened by Rorty's take on the subject, and by his distinction between what he calls narrative and analytic philosophy. Though analytically trained, he favors the narrative thinkers, his major influences being the American pragmatists, William James and John Dewey. He is also clearly inspired by two Continental European thinkers, Nietzsche and Heidegger, but displays mixed feelings about both of them. He claims in this book-and I think justifiably-to distill solid and inspired pragmatist thinking from the work of both men, while discarding the chaff of Nietzsche's pro-aristocratic, anti-democratic perspective and Heidegger's fascist inclinations and pronouncements. Meanwhile, readers of this book who also happen to be admirers of Jurgen Habermas will find that he and Rorty have many points in common.
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