By Richard M. Rorty, Kent Puckett
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Extra resources for Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty
But offhand, I don’t know how to run the two together. Q: It seems that that’s what the recent work on whiteness studies is trying to do. RR: What’s that? Q: This idea that you start talking about whiteness as a racial identity just like any other racial identity. RR: [groans] God. Q: Think about the quote from DuBois about the wages of whiteness—the idea that white workers were convinced that, while they were oppressed, they were still better off than the blacks. So they were encouraged not to align themselves with the blacks, because of the benefits derived from their white skin.
RR: Well, this is where the private/public distinction comes in. I think that the shared hope is public and the 60 Weltanschauung justification in the background can stay private. John Rawls says that in a pluralistic society everyone has their own notion of the meaning of life, but it doesn’t get in the way of politics because they agree to keep it out of the public sphere. That seems a good idea. THE SOKAL AFFAIR Q: Speaking of controversies over foundationalism, what was your response to the Sokal Affair?
There’s a new book coming out by Richard Posner, in which he talks about the difference between academic moralists and moral entrepreneurs. It’s sort of a polemic against Dworkin and other Kantian moral philosophers. He distinguishes academic moralists, who have a moral theory which tells us that we must do so and so, from moral entrepreneurs, like Catherine McKinnon. She is his paradigm of a moral entrepreneur. She doesn’t have a theory—she has a polemic. Most of the good is done by opportunistic moral entrepreneurs, who have a very specific target, call attention to a very specific set of 48 instances of unnecessary suffering.
Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty by Richard M. Rorty, Kent Puckett