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. 
     Against this background, I point out in the end the possible areas of conversation between a liberal ironist like Rorty and a liberal metaphysician like St. Thomas Aquinas.