Truth and Solidarity
“Take care of freedom, and truth will take care of itself.” Richard Rorty liked repeating this slogan to capture the essence of pragmatist American liberalism, as it was developed from Dewey to Rawls. He reiterated the same idea with a brilliant interpretation of Rawls’ idea of reflective equilibrium, arguing that such equilibrium is the most mature assertion of the “priority of democracy to philosophy” — that is, the primacy of democracy to truth. I shall argue that to the extent that liberalism relies on reflective equilibrium and not on some conception of truth, it cannot but replace truth with patriotism; a form of patriotism which — pace Rorty — is incompatible with the type of cosmopolitan solidarity nowadays very much in demand.
Omri Boehm teaches at The New School for Social Research, where he writes on early modern philosophy and philosophy of religion, with a specific focus on Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant. His books include The Binding of Isaac: A Religious Model of Disobedience (Continuum, 2007) and, more recently, Kant’s Critique of Spinoza (Oxford University Press, 2014). In addition to his academic work, he has also written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times, and Die Zeit, among other publications. He is currently writing a book provisionally titled Passion, Freedom, Reason: A Rereading in Descartes. He holds a PhD from Yale University (2009).