Feminism and Historicist Universalism: A Critical Analysis of Richard Rorty's Anti-Universalism

The Pluralist 12 (1):50-59 (2017)

Authors
Youjin Kong
Michigan State University
Abstract
Richard Rorty, a neo-pragmatist well known for his anti-universalist philosophy, applies his anti-universalist approach to feminism in the paper titled “Feminism and Pragmatism” (1991). In this paper, Rorty claims that universalism is not helpful for feminists in making changes to a masculinist society. In contrast, the main point of my paper is to defend universalism as appropriate to feminism. It is not, however, argued in the form of advocacy for all versions of universalism. I will classify universalism into two distinguished types, ahistoricist-essentialist universalism and historicist, anti-essentialist universalism, and I will defend the latter as consonant with feminism and with Rorty’s own pragmatist approach.
Keywords Feminism  Richard Rorty  Historicist Universalism  Universalism  Essentialism  Anti-Universalism  Historicism
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DOI 10.5406/pluralist.12.1.0050
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