Contributor(s)Department of Philosophy
Master of Arts
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AbstractThis essay takes as its starting point the belief that Richard Rorty and Slavoj Žižek are two of the most popular, accessible and important recent philosophers writing on the Left. Its aim is to bring their texts into explicit dialogue. I hope to demonstrate in the process that – on the whole and all things considered – with Žižek’s help we can see that Rorty’s philosophy is a ladder that, once surmounted, we ought to throw away. But the implication is that we can then throw away Žižek’s ladder as well, for he is at his best as a critic of Rortian positions. The reader will find – to their horror, no doubt – that what remains when the dust has settled is none other than the ‘spectres of Marx’: the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and other faithful 20th-century Marxists, all awaiting not – as one might have expected – their burial, but their transubstantiation.