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Philosophical Problems in the Contemporary World

Edited By Dilek Arlı Çil and Nihal Petek Boyaci

The social and technological developments, social movements, scientific discoveries, economic growth or diseconomies give rise to many problems for human beings. Many disciplines such as economics, political science, architecture, sociology and psychology discuss these problems and offer solutions from different perspectives. Philosophy has its own way of dealing with these problems. As opposed to the common belief, philosophy does not only deal with ideals independently of what is going on in real life. The problems of the contemporary philosophy are also the problems of the contemporary world. For this reason, this book aims to present and discuss certain philosophical problems in the contemporary world and to suggest solutions to them.

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Perf/normativity: Between Butler and Rorty

Extract

Fulden İBRAHİMHAKKIOĞLU1

Perf/normativity:

Between Butler and Rorty2

If I am a certain gender, will I still be regarded as part of the human? Will the “human” expand to include me in its reach? If I desire in certain ways, will I be able to live? Will there be a place for my life, and will it be recognizable to the others upon whom I depend for social existence?

– Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (2004: 2–3)

Introduction

The feminist reception of Richard Rorty has been highly ambivalent, despite Rorty’s expressed support of the cause (Rorty, 2010a, 2010d). A number of feminists stressed the liberatory potential of a Rortyian irony as a feminist literary and political tool (Adams, 2010; Renegar & Sowards 2003), while others remained skeptical about the strong anti-representationalist, social constructivist proclivity in Rorty’s thought (Alcoff, 2010; Fraser, 2010; Lovibond, 2010). It is hardly coincidental that Judith Butler evokes similar reactions amongst her feminist critics, given Rorty’s and Butler’s shared anti-foundationalist stance and interest in language. In fact, Butler’s account of gender performativity bears close resemblance to Rorty’s account of irony in many ways.3 Rorty’s political stance as ←131 | 132→a liberal may seem at odds with Butler’s numerous statements against liberalism.4 Yet, a tone of hope, rhetoric of futurity, and faith in progressive politics bring the political works of these thinkers together closer than they would care to admit.

These affinities serve as...

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