Richard Rorty (1931-2007)

"What counts as being a decent human being is relative to historical circumstances, a matter of transient consensus about what attitudes are normal and what practices are just or unjust."

"A belief can still regulate action, can still be thought worth dying for, among people who are quite aware that this belief is caused by nothing deeper than contingent historical circumstance."

"There is such thing as moral progress, and (...) this progress is indeed in the direction of greater human solidarity. But that solidarity is not thought of as a recognition of a core self, the human essence, in all human beings. Rather, it is thought of as the ability to see more and more traditional differences (of tribe, religion, race, customs, and the like) as unimportant when compared with similarities with respect to pain and humiliation - the ability to think of people wildly different from ourselves as included in the range of «us»."

"Although the idea of a central and universal human component called «reason», a faculty which is the source of our moral obligations, was very useful in creating modern democratic societies, (...) it can now be dispensed with in order to help bring the liberal utopia [I favour] into existence."

"Criterion of a liberal: somebody who believes cruelty is the worst thing we do."

Extractos de Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.

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