Book Chapter: “Art of Living: Irony and Redemption from Egotism”, Handbuch Richard Rorty [A Companion to Richard Rorty], ed. Martin Müller (Springer VS). Version accepted: Feb 2018.
In relation to the question of the art of living, this chapter articulates the opposite of Richard Rorty’s liberal ironist: the egotist. In the first section, I articulate what egotism is and who egotists are. My aim is to nominate the egotist as a useful counter-figure to the liberal ironist. In the second section, I talk about irony. I emphasize the radicalism and relevance of Rorty’s conception of irony with the help of recent literature. In the third section, I argue that the power of irony is crucial to fight egotism. I show how Rorty mobilizes irony by way of self-creation and solidarity to combat the problem of egotism. In the fourth section, I summarize my argument and suggest how an ironic life prevents nihilism.
Book Chapter: “Nihilism” for A Companion to Richard Rorty, ed. Alan Malachowski (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017). Version accepted: Feb 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.