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New Left Review I/193, May-June 1992

Sabina Lovibond

Feminism and Pragmatism: A Reply to Richard Rorty

In a recent Tanner Lecture delivered at the University of Michigan, [1] Richard Rorty, ‘Feminism and Pragmatism’, Michigan Quarterly Review, vol. xxx, no. 2, Spring 1991, pp. 231–58 (hereafter ‘fp’), to which page references will be made; reprinted in Radical Philosophy 59, Autumn 1991. Richard Rorty responds to some comments of mine about the significance of his work for feminism. [2] Sabina Lovibond, ‘Feminism and Postmodernism’, nlr 178, November–December 1989, pp. 5–28. He reports that he was ‘a bit startled’ to find himself identified in my discussion—along with Jean-François Lyotard and Alasdair MacIntyre—as a representative of philosophical ‘postmodernism’, but concedes with regard to these writers that he ‘recognize[s] the similarities between our positions which lead Lovibond to group us together’. [3] fp, p. 253 n. 18. At a fairly early stage in his lecture Rorty confirms that ‘on all the crucial philosophical issues, [he is] on the side of Lovibond’s postmodernist opponents’; [4] fp, p. 237. the remainder of his text explains why, and seeks to show in detail how ‘pragmatist philosophy [that is, Rorty’s own brand of it] might be useful to feminist politics’. [5] fp, p. 234.

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