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Redemptive HopeFrom the Age of Enlightenment to the Age of Obama$
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Akiba J. Lerner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267910

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267910.001.0001

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Richard Rorty’s Social Hope and Postmetaphysical Redemption

Richard Rorty’s Social Hope and Postmetaphysical Redemption

(p.90) 4 Richard Rorty’s Social Hope and Postmetaphysical Redemption
Redemptive Hope

Akiba J. Lerner

Fordham University Press

Chapter 4 is devoted to the fourth and final stage represented by Rorty’s neo-pragmatic proposal to ground social hopes in human solidarity. Rorty forged a new path toward fulfilling the emancipatory legacy of the Enlightenment by proposing provocative redescriptions for interpreting the traditional meanings of both hope and redemption. Rorty’s writings on social hope, however, reveal a tension between a more pragmatic approach that allows for a recovery of religious narratives as a source of hope and his secular utopian ideological position that advocated jettisoning all appeals to transcendental discourses. Rorty’s utopian proposal for overcoming metaphysics by replacing religion and philosophy with literature and dialogue constituted a new secular redemptive narrative that encourages a new thinking of how religious and secular narratives of redemptive hope might interact within the twenty-first century. Rorty's initial desire to rid the public sphere of all remnants of religious transcendence and metaphysics ended up, however, violating his own pragmatic principle. This chapter concludes by engaging Rorty's critics, showing the limits of Rorty’s position and where Rorty felt compelled to adjust his views toward the end of his career.

Keywords:   atheism, contingency, irony, neopragmatism, postmetaphysical, postmodernism, redescription, representation, solidarity, utopianism

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