|AGITATING THE THOMISTS: THE IRONY OF RORTY
Rosario, Jr., Tomas G. - Philosophy Dept., Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Schools, Philippines
The thesis of this paper is that Rorty's critique of Enlightenment metaphysical
thinkers, notably Kant, is, in an essential sense, a critique also of St.Thomas
Aquinas whom Etienne Gilson describes as the philosopher of being par excellence.
His critique is stimulated by a new culture of thinking which he calls
the 'culture of irony' or the 'poetic culture'. Though he admits that Nietzsche
is the trailblazer of this culture and that Foucault is the most notable,he
referred to Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Dewey as its leading advocates.
He is convinced that it is only within the environment of the 'culture
of irony' that the contemporary vision of a 'liberal society' could be
attained. For this purpose, it is necessary to abandon the 'foundationalist'
culture which is essentially characterized by metaphysical thinking. But
since he advocates the notion of 'philosophy as a conversation or free
dialogue', Rorty notes that despite the differences between the 'liberal
ironists' and the 'liberal metaphysicians' rational argumentation should
not define their relation but one of continuing conversation.