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Humanities 2013, 2(2), 193-208; doi:10.3390/h2020193
Article

Reconsidering Richard Rorty’s Private-Public Distinction

Department of Political Science, School of Public Policy, University College London, 29/30 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9QU, UK
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 2 May 2013 / Accepted: 8 May 2013 / Published: 13 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Legacy of Richard Rorty)
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Abstract

This article provides a new interpretation of Richard Rorty’s notion of the private-public distinction. The first section of the article provides a short theoretical overview of the origins of the public-private distinction in Rorty’s political thought and clarifies the Rortian terminology. The main portion of the article is dedicated to the critique of Rorty’s private-public distinction, divided into two thematic sections: (i) the private-public distinction as undesirable and (ii) the private-public distinction as unattainable. I argue that Rorty’s formulation provides plausible answers to the first kind of criticism, but not to the second. Finally, a reformulation of the private-public distinction will be suggested, which both mitigates the second line of criticism and better coheres with Rorty’s general theory.
Keywords: Rorty; Richard; pragmatism and neo-pragmatism; public-private distinction; liberalism Rorty; Richard; pragmatism and neo-pragmatism; public-private distinction; liberalism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Erez, L. Reconsidering Richard Rorty’s Private-Public Distinction. Humanities 2013, 2, 193-208.

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