Noel Gascoigne

6.30-8pm | Thursday 12 June 2008
Room J116, Cowdray House, LSE

Noel Gascoigne, Principal Lecturer in Philosophy, Roehampton University

Re-Visions – on Richard Rorty
In these talks, Neil Gascoigne explores the development and implications of Richard Rorty’s neo-pragmatism.

The first talk uses Rorty’s autobiographical fragment “Trotsky and the Wild Orchids” to introduce his conception of the relationship between philosophy and politics, and what he takes to be the consequent task for the contemporary intellectual.

The second talk turns to Rorty’s earliest work in the philosophy of mind and shows how his subsequent ‘turn’ against materialism leads to his non-Realist views on truth and objectivity, views he regarded as important for the renewal of the enlightenment project.

The final talk looks at how much pragmatism, as a philosophical movement, constitutes a self-conscious break with the ‘authority’ of the European tradition. The issue this raises is the extent to which it is tied to a specifically American conception of democracy, thus raising the question: ‘of what use is pragmatism to we Europeans?’