America’s last historically important philosopher on the American Left — and where it went disastrously wrong.

Introductory Notes.

Richard Rorty (1931–2007) might be the last historically important American philosopher — if only because given the way American academia is presently going, there aren’t likely to be any more philosophers of historical importance.

A Yale PhD (1956), Rorty produced numerous well-received articles in the philosophy of mind…

They’re far from perfect, but they are successful. That said, you have other options if you hunt around.

This article turned up in my feed the other day and targeted Amazon Prime as the embodiment of corporate evil. Here were the two core paragraph:

Prime Day is a singular and strange artifact, but then again, so is Prime, Amazon’s $119-a-year membership service, which buys subscribers free one-day shipping…

What’s really behind the intractability of so many angry public debates these days?

Have you ever listened to (or been in) an argument that went something like:

“The Bible says __________” [readers can fill in the blank]

“The Bible was written by men who lived thousands of years ago!”

“The Bible is God’s Word, and God’s Word is eternal. The same today, yesterday…

Thinking about the world can be a messy affair. You can do it with the right tools, which come with a warning.

Neats and Scruffies.

The history of philosophy shows us two broad kinds of thinkers. And a few of a third.

There are those who, like Plato, liked things neat, tidy, pristine. A place for everything, and everything in its place. And everyone, as becomes clear from his Republic.

These philosophers’ ideal is mathematics…

Is Marxism dead? Not exactly!

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways,” wrote Karl Marx (1818–1883) in his Theses on Feuerbach (1845), “the point is to change it.”

Thus began an approach to philosophy different from the first three we considered: grand theory, analysis, and existentialism.

The first thing worth noting: Marx…

Does it matter today?

What is philosophy? It may be the one human endeavor for which its own subject matter, goals, and methods are its first problems, priorities, and points of contention.

Everyone who has taught the subject probably introduced it etymologically: philosophy derives from the Greek words philo (“love of”) and sophia (“wisdom”)…

Steven Yates

I am the author of What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory. I write about philosophy, life, the future, a few current affairs, and every so often, a little music.

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