Article: “Ethnocentrism: Lessons from Richard Rorty and Randy David”, special issue on The Sociology of Democratic Practice for the Philippine Sociological Review. ^
This article engages Richard Rorty’s controversial concept of ethnocentrism with the help of Randolf (Randy) S. David’s writings. The first section defines Rorty’s concept of ethnocentrism and responds to the general criticisms of relativism and divisiveness that have been made against it. The second section suggests a conceptual replacement for Rorty’s notion of a vicious ethnocentrism: egotism. Egotism is a kind of cultural ethnocentrism that is resistant to openness, creativity, and social transformation. Inspired by David’s work, the third and final section suggests how the concepts of ethnocentrism and egotism might be of some use as conceptual tools for articulating contemporary social issues in the Philippines.
Book Chapter: “Nihilism” for A Companion to Richard Rorty, ed. Alan Malachowski (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017). ^
The concept of nihilism plays an interesting role in Richard Rorty’s oeuvre. On the one hand, Rorty barely refers to the concept; on the other, Rorty’s critics pejoratively characterize his pragmatism as nihilistic. This entry seeks to clarify Rorty’s position. It suggests that Rorty avoids the concept in order to get away from the conceptual baggage that accompanies the existential sense of the term. Rorty neither endorses the idea that human lives are meaningless nor thinks that abandoning the Platonic quest for truth diminishes our capacity to experience meaningful lives. By challenging these assumptions, Rorty can then be seen as a thinker who may have much more to say about the modern challenges to human meaning than meets the eye. In this light, the entry presents three cases that explore Rorty’s contributions to our understanding of existential nihilism. It also suggests contemporary research approaches to Rorty and nihilism.