Rorty and Religion

In Alan Malachowski (ed.), A companion to Rorty. Hoboken: Wiley. pp. 444–455 (2020)
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This chapter offers a philosophical reconstruction of philosophical views on epistemic practices and the social practical basis of authority in order to make sense of Richard Rorty's anxieties about religion's role in democratic life. It shows that the philosophical views can also be used to construct an approach to religious pluralism that is far more open‐ended and dialogical than the approach that Rorty chose to pursue. The chapter reviews Rorty's call for the privatization of religion in light of his broader view of epistemic practices. Rorty's two main anxieties about religion come from his view of the social practical basis of authority. His tendency to generalize about the dangers of religion in public life was shaped by the culture wars of the 1990s, the political and cultural struggle between liberal secularists and the religious right over issues such as abortion and homosexuality.



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Molly Farneth
Haverford College

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