‘That most complex being’
in The Norman Geras Reader
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One philosopher who expresses himself emphatically about human nature, and whose works have attracted wide interest, is Richard Rorty. In this chapter, Geras explores Richard Rorty's various usages on the question of human nature and the tensions and anomalies they display. Rorty is an astute and provocative as well as influential thinker. An analysis of what he says about the idea of human nature, then, may serve a wider effort of clarification and exchange. Though Rorty's own relationship to post-modernism is not an altogether enthusiastic one, anti-essentialism is a trope he has in common with it. After some preliminary remarks, the chapter reviews the critical uses and rhetorical emphases of Rorty's omnipresent rejection of the idea of human nature. It offers a few reflections on the story they conjointly tell. The rhetoric of emancipation is not so distant from the rhetoric of 'utopia', which Rorty seems quite happy to employ.

The Norman Geras Reader

‘What’s there is there’

Editors: Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

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