ABSTRACT

Seen from the perspective developed in the previous chapters, the vicarious thought environment in which intellectuals struggle to outdo each other roughly corresponds to what Richard Rorty (1989) calls the “private sphere” as opposed to the “public sphere.” For, in the private sphere as in the vicarious thought environment, the intellectual is not concerned with the collective enterprise of improving society but with “free[ing] himself from his predecessors” (Rorty 1995: 438). For Rorty, unlike for Habermas, intellectuals are not obliged to provide a “public justification” for their theories by going public, nor are they successful in attempting to do so since the connection between the two distinct realms, if any, can be only contingent rather than necessary.