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Richard Rorty, 4 October 1931 — 8 June 2007

Detail of photo of Richard Rorty on back cover of _Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth_

[. . .] it is not much use pointing out the “internal contradictions” of a social practice, or “deconstructing” it, unless one can come up with an alternative practice—unless one can at least sketch a utopia in which the concept or distinction would be obsolete. After all, every social practice of any complexity, and every element of such a practice, contains internal tensions. Ever since Hegel we intellectuals have been busy winkling them out. But there is little point in exhibiting such tensions unless you have some suggestions about resolving them.

Objectivity, Relativity, and Truth

While Richard Rorty was at the University of Virginia, I had the pleasure and honor of being a student in one of his classes. To see him was to become acutely aware of just how deeply he cared about the fate of American liberalism. We are richer for his having lived and sadder for seeing him go.

Someone who loves him once said, “GG Rorty.” I couldn’t agree more.