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N.2/2020 Filosofia e storia: una relazione ancora possibile?

Storia e storiografia in Richard Rorty tra estraniazione, identificazione ed edificazione

Giulio Antonio Piva

(Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele di Milano)

Published in December, 2020

History and Historiography in Richard Rorty between Estrangement, Identification and Edification.



The aim of the paper is to inquire into the way Richard Rorty links the historical vocabulary of contingency with his re-description of philosophy as “criticism of culture”. Thus, the paper focuses on five different uses of the historical vocabulary, taken as means to the need of edification that underlines Rorty’s pragmatism. I will proceed in five steps. Firstly, I will show these uses to draw on the causal description of the man-world relation that Rorty labels “non-reductive naturalism”. Secondly, I will show how this picture gives place to two theoretical uses of the historical vocabulary and how Rorty uses them to replace the picture of man-as-knower-of-essences. Thirdly, I will show these uses to give place to several narrative uses of history as historical narration. I will show the main ones to be the history of ideas and the story of progress, by connecting them to the needs of alienation and identification required to let the process of edification of the self and of the community take place. Fourthly, I will describe how from the story of progress follows an ethical use of history, consisting in giving the community better identities by the means of more and more inclusive narratives. Finally, I will show these uses to be linked to the needs of Rorty’s post-Philosophical culture by showing the role the philosopher can play in it.


Richard Rorty; Intellectual History; History of Ideas; Historicism; Non-reductive Naturalism.


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