CONFERENCE: Reconsidering Rorty on Politics, Language, and Aesthetics

We are delighted to announce the following conference “Reconsidering Rorty on Politics, Language and Aesthetics”, which will take place the 8-9 December 2022 at the École Normale Supérieure (45rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris). Our keynote speakers will be Robert Brandom (Pittsburgh) et Susan Dieleman (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville). 

This conference proposes to shed light on the work of the philosopher Richard Rorty. Rorty’s name is widely known within and beyond the departments of philosophy, but there have been few major conversations on his work in France, despite a strong editorial tradition and many workshops at several universities. If Rorty is known for his critical readings of the analytic tradition, the ethical and political aspects of his work still remain under-explored. We are thinking in particular of the continual relevance of his seminal 1983 text, ‘Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism’, given at a meeting on the social responsibility of intellectuals, which Rorty saw as an opportunity to explain certain tendencies in liberal thought that he considered naive. By focusing on the political aspect of Rorty’s work that engages his redefinition of liberalism, this conference aims to contribute to the study of the intellectual history, philosophical value and contemporary legacy of this aspect of his philosophy. 

Three lines of enquiry characterise this conference’s approach: (1) we will examine whether Rorty’s emphasis on contingency, irony and post-modernity throughout his work remains relevant today; (2) we will illuminate Rorty’s approach to the arts, and their relationship with his liberalism ; (3) we will re-explore Rorty’s classic argument, which attempts to explain the functioning of language without recourse to the notion of representation.

Please find the programme of the conference here:

To attend the conference online, and receive the Zoom details, please register here

Organizers: Micol Bez, Katie Ebner-Landy, Mathias Girel, Bernardo Marques