By Richard M. Rorty
Filenote: PDF is searchable snapshot ocr. PDF has 184 pages and test from hardbook edition.
Publish yr note: First released 1998. content material from The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures within the historical past of yank CiviUzation in 1997.
Must the sins of America's earlier poison its desire for the long run?
Lately the yankee Left, taking flight into the ivied halls of academe to rue the nation's disgrace, has replied definite in either notice and deed. In Achieving Our Country, one in all America's premiere philosophers demanding situations this misplaced iteration of the Left to appreciate the position it will possibly play within the nice culture of democratic highbrow hard work that began with writers like Walt Whitman and John Dewey.
How have nationwide delight and American patriotism come to appear an endorsement of atrocities--from slavery to the slaughter of local americans, from the rape of old forests to the Vietnam conflict? Achieving Our Country lines the resources of this debilitating mentality of disgrace within the Left, in addition to the damage it does to its proponents and to the rustic. on the middle of this heritage is the clash among the outdated Left and the hot that arose throughout the Vietnam struggle period. Richard Rorty describes how the paradoxical victory of the antiwar move, ushering within the Nixon years, inspired a disappointed iteration of intellectuals to pursue "High Theory" on the cost of contemplating where of principles in our universal existence. during this flip to thought, Rorty sees a retreat from the secularism and pragmatism championed through Dewey and Whitman, and he decries the tendency of the heirs of the hot Left to theorize in regards to the usa from a distance rather than partaking within the civic paintings of shaping our nationwide future.
In the absence of a colourful, energetic Left, the perspectives of intellectuals at the American correct have come to dominate the general public sphere. This galvanizing publication, tailored from Rorty's Massey Lectures of 1997, takes step one towards redressing the imbalance in American cultural existence via rallying these at the Left to the civic engagement and suggestion wanted for "achieving our country."
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Extra resources for Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
And behind that motive the is this and behind and theocentric metaphysics, and far more controversial op- position to the correspondence theory of truth: the idea that truth is a matter of accurate representation of an antecedently existing reality. For Dewey, the idea that there was a reality "out there" with an intrinsic nature to be respected and cor- responded to was not sense. It a manifestation of sound common was a rehc of Platonic otherworldliness. Repudiating the correspondence theory of truth was Dewey's way of man's claim a that restating, in philosophical terms.
It fears easily ple economic and pohtical change, and therefore becomes the pawn of the whose rich and powerful selfish interests are served by — the peo- forestalling such change. I do not think that subsequent American have made leftists any advance on Dewey's understanding of the relation be- tween the individual and Foucault that the subject sive practices minds and ety is go hearts. society. is the all Dewey was as convinced as a social construction, that discur- way down to the But he insisted that the only point of soci- to construct subjects capable of ever richer, bottom of our more novel, ever forms of human happiness.
For Hegel told a story about history as the growth of freedom, the gradual dawning of the idea human beings are on their own, because there God more to more to the divine than the history In a than his march through the world of the where as yet those who are that nothing —nothing adventure. Atlantic to a unimagined wonders might be worked: "America is the country of the future all human famous passage, Hegel pointed across the place is weary of the ... "^'' Whitman probably never encountered this passage, but he knew in his bones that Hegel should have written that sen- tence.