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Rorty, Richard

  1. David R. Hiley

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee345

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Hiley, D. R. 2013. Rorty, Richard. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


Richard Rorty (1931–2007) was educated at the University of Chicago and Yale University, receiving his PhD in philosophy from Yale in 1959. He taught philosophy at Wellesley College and Princeton University, was university professor of humanities at the University of Virginia, and taught comparative literature at Stanford University until his retirement. He received the prestigious McArthur Fellowship (1981–6); and he held a number of important lectureships, including the Howison (Berkeley 1983), Northcliffe (University College London 1986), Clark (Trinity College, Cambridge, 1987), Romanell (Phi Beta Kappa 1989), Tanner (Michigan 1990), Oxford Amnesty Lecture 1993, Massey (Harvard 1997), and Donellan (Trinity College Dublin 1998). While his earliest published work was in the tradition of analytic philosophy, writing on issues in epistemology and the philosophy of mind and language, his most important and controversial book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), sought to undermine foundationalist tenants of analytic philosophy and the traditional view of philosophy of which it was a part. His subsequent publications worked out the consequences of anti-foundationalism for philosophy, science, ethics, and politics. This essay will begin with an overview of his critique of traditional philosophy in order to draw out its implications for ethics.


  • ethics;
  • philosophy