The Self as an Object of Criticism: Richard Rorty’s Denial of the Objectivity of Truth


Author: Do Kien Trung, Kobe University, Japan
Published: November 19, 2018

Citation: Kien Trung, D. (2018). The Self as an Object of Criticism: Richard Rorty’s Denial of the Objectivity of Truth. IAFOR Journal of Ethics, Religion & Philosophy, 4(1).


Denial of the objectivity of truth in the Self’s creation is one of the most critiqued aspects for which Richard Rorty received both consensus and contradiction. Rorty’s post-philosophical response to the human language debate lies in the intersection between the younger Heidegger who rejected an ambitious desire to describe the linguistic turn as a Platonic reference structure, which separate the Self from contingency in social practice, and the later Wittgenstein who denied a possible existence of a priori space of Kant’s transcendental idealism in which sociology and sciences cannot penetrate. If the role of truth is to stimulate thought and motivate action, the essence of language cannot be described merely as an intermediate tool between the Self and reality. Moreover, if all problems of traditional philosophy can be resolved when the general structure of language is exposed, we must consider that language has supreme authority in which the limitation in our language is the limitation of the world. Rorty overcomes those restrictions by emphasizing that there is no abstract authority independent from rational justification whose only authority is conviction via human discourse. By focusing on discourse, Rorty separates his neo-pragmatism from the experience-focused pragmatism of his predecessors. This article focuses on the two most controversial ideas of Rorty’s account of the Self: firstly, the Self’s ideal is merely its narrative; secondly, language cannot precede the Self’s existence.


Richard Rorty, contingency of language, community of language, pragmatism, objectivity of truth