Philosophy and the Idea of Freedom (Paperback) book cover

Philosophy and the Idea of Freedom

By Roy Bhaskar

© 2011 – Routledge

240 pages

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About the Book

In Philosophy and the Idea of Freedom Roy Bhaskar sets out to develop a critique of the work of Richard Rorty, who must be one of the most influential authors of recent decades. In a brilliant tour de force, Bhaskar shows how Rorty falls victim to the very epistemological problematic Rorty himself describes.

Roy Bhaskar argues that Rorty’s account of science and knowledge is based on a half-truth. He sees the historicity of knowledge, but cannot sustain its rationality or the reality of the objects it describes. The author further argues that Rorty’s problem-field replicates the Kantian resolution of the third antinomy: we are determined as material bodies, but free as discursive (speaking and writing) subjects. Rorty’s actualism (like Kant’s) makes human agency impossible.

Developing his own critical realism, Bhaskar shows just where Rorty’s system comes unstuck, and how the philosophical problems to which it gives rise can be rationally resolved and explained. In this process Bhaskar utilizes his critique of Rorty to begin to elaborate his own alternative interpretation and critique of the philosophical conversation of the West.


"Philosophy and the Idea of Freedom is full of fascinating, important ideas and insights, and is immensely timely. It will have a deeply beneficial effect, and will surely be very widely read and discussed." – Professor Terry Eagleton, University of Oxford

Table of Contents

Introduction Section 1- Anti Rory Part 1 - Knowledge Part 2 - Agency Part 3 -Politics Part 4 - Kibitzing Section 2 - For Critical Realism Appendix 1 - Social Theory and Moral Philosophy Appendix 2 - Marxist Philosophy from Marx to Althusser

About the Author

Roy Bhaskar is the originator of the philosophy of critical realism, and the author of many acclaimed and influential works including A Realist Theory of Science, The Possibility of Naturalism, Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation, Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom, Plato Etc., From Science to Emancipation, Reflections on meta-Reality and (with Mervyn Hartwig) The Formation of Critical Realism. He is an editor of Critical Realism: Essential Readings and Interdisciplinarity and Climate Change and was the founding chair of the Centre for Critical Realism. He is currently a World Scholar at the University of London Institute of Education.

About the Series

Classical Texts in Critical Realism (Routledge Critical Realism)

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General