Richard Rorty
Quotations


Openmindedness should not be fostered because, as Scripture teaches, Truth is great and will prevail, nor because, as Milton suggests, Truth will always win in a free and open encounter. It should be fostered for its own sake.

Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.

The difference between people and ideas is . . . only superficial.

The usual picture of Socrates is of an ugly little plebeian who inspired a handsome young nobleman to write long dialogues on large topics.

There is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves.

The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it cannot propose a language for us to speak. Only other human beings can do that.

Truth is simply a compliment paid to sentences seen to be paying their way.

My principal motive is the belief that we can still make admirable sense of our lives even if we cease to have ... "an ambition of transcendence."

As long as we try to project from the relative and conditioned to the absolute and unconditioned, we shall keep the pendulum swinging between dogmatism and skepticism. The only way to stop this increasingly tiresome pendulum swing is to change our conception of what philosophy is good for. But that is not something which will be accomplished by a few neat arguments. It will be accomplished, if it ever is, by a long, slow process of cultural change that is to say, of change in common sense, changes in the intuitions available for being pumped up by philosophical arguments.

Philosophy makes progress not by becoming more rigorous but by becoming more imaginative.

Truthfulness under oath is, by now, a matter of our civic religion, our relation to our fellow citizens rather than our relation to a nonhuman power.

Philosophers get attention only when they appear to be doing something sinister--corrupting the youth, undermining the foundations of civilization, sneering at all we hold dear. The rest of the time everybody assumes that they are hard at work somewhere down in the sub-basement, keeping those foundations in good repair. Nobody much cares what brand of intellectual duct tape is being used.

If I had to lay bets, my bet would be that everything is going to go to hell, but, you know, what else have we got except hope?



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