Taking Rorty Seriously: Pragmatism, Metaphilosophy, and Truth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Downloads (Pure)


Although Rorty’s work has become a touchstone for evaluating the metaphilosophical stance appropriate for pragmatism, the suspicion prevails that his ‘neopragmatism’ (NeoP) is undermined by a failure to take first-order philosophical problems seriously. We propose that this imputation is grounded in the assumption that he attempts to distinguish metaphilosophy from philosophy in order to insulate the former from the latter, and against it argue that pragmatism’s experimental attitude towards inquiry entails that there is and can be no such separation. We go on to suggest that philosophers such as Misak who define their ‘new pragmatist’ (NewP) position partly in opposition to Rorty’s, insist on this separation because they feel themselves answerable to some ‘transcendental’ urge. The conviction that to reject that urge is to reject the calling of philosophy itself is manifest in the debate between NeoP and NewP on the role of truth-talk. We argue that acceding to this urge prevents us from taking philosophy seriously, and by extension from taking Rorty’s contribution to philosophy in like fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
Early online date16 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sept 2020


  • Richard Rorty
  • Metaphilosophy
  • Neo-Pragmatism
  • New Pragmatism
  • truth

Cite this