Contingency and Normativity: The Challenges of Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty’s “neo-pragmatism” launched a powerful challenge to entrenched philosophical certainties of modernity, articulating a powerful picture of normativity as a distinctive activity of human beings. This “contingentism,” with its emphasis on indeterminacy, ambiguity, uncertainty, and chance, depicts normativity as a practical human possibility rather than a metaphysical bottleneck which we must overcome at the cost of repudiating the concrete ways we grant epistemic and ethical meaning to our activities. The book is a critical survey of Rorty’s philosophy, in light of contemporary theoretical debates around language, truth, justification, and naturalism, as well as his own resourceful attempts to renew philosophy from within by using the conceptual tools and argumentative techniques of both analytic philosophy and pragmatism.

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Rosa M. Calcaterra is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at University Roma Tre. She has edited various international collections and is the author of numerous essays or chapters of books and volumes, including Pragmatismo: i valori dell’esperienza. Letture di Peirce, James e Mead (2003) and Ideias concretas: Percursos na filosofia de John Dewey (2015).
Scholars and students of pragmatism and contemporary philosophy; all interested in humanities, particularly educational, feminist, political, literary and sociological theorists; learned public of journalists, political or cultural commentators, film critics.