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RORTY AND AMERICA, OVERSEAS

RORTY AND AMERICA, OVERSEAS COLUMNS János Boros Descartes c’est la France, as André Glucksmann has it, to which might be added: Rorty c’est les États-Unis.1 America is seen by many intellectuals, here in Europe, as Rorty proposed that we should see it. But Glucksmann’s tag line, Descartes c’est la France, has a second clause: . . . mais la France n’est pas Descartes. And mutatis mutandis, the second clause also holds true for Richard Rorty and the United States.2 His America was a we to which he was glad to belong, but his we was not a country or even a region. Rorty’s was a “spiritual America” — the community of his fellow liberal intellectuals throughout the world. “We liberal democrats,” he would say, or “we leisured Western intellectuals,” “we pragmatists,” “we enlightened members of the most inclusive society.” So there is no reason, though he was the most American of philosophers, not to think of Rorty in European terms. Derrida characterized the maître-penseurs of his time — Lacan, Levinas, Foucault, Barthes, Deleuze, Blanchot, Cixous, Lyotard, Sarah Kofman — as la génération incorruptible, by which meant it was a generation sans compromis. Rorty was the incorruptible philosopher of America, its thinker (borrowing http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

RORTY AND AMERICA, OVERSEAS

Common Knowledge , Volume 14 (2) – Apr 1, 2008

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2008 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
0961-754X
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-2007-068
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

COLUMNS János Boros Descartes c’est la France, as André Glucksmann has it, to which might be added: Rorty c’est les États-Unis.1 America is seen by many intellectuals, here in Europe, as Rorty proposed that we should see it. But Glucksmann’s tag line, Descartes c’est la France, has a second clause: . . . mais la France n’est pas Descartes. And mutatis mutandis, the second clause also holds true for Richard Rorty and the United States.2 His America was a we to which he was glad to belong, but his we was not a country or even a region. Rorty’s was a “spiritual America” — the community of his fellow liberal intellectuals throughout the world. “We liberal democrats,” he would say, or “we leisured Western intellectuals,” “we pragmatists,” “we enlightened members of the most inclusive society.” So there is no reason, though he was the most American of philosophers, not to think of Rorty in European terms. Derrida characterized the maître-penseurs of his time — Lacan, Levinas, Foucault, Barthes, Deleuze, Blanchot, Cixous, Lyotard, Sarah Kofman — as la génération incorruptible, by which meant it was a generation sans compromis. Rorty was the incorruptible philosopher of America, its thinker (borrowing

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2008

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