Richard Rorty, RIP

A brilliant, humane scholar. A public intellectual in the finest sense, and a profound influence on the way I think about politics. Richard Rorty has died.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rorty a few years ago and wrote one of my earliest pieces about a debate he had with Jurgen Habermas here in Chicago. I think more than any other single book, Irony, Contigency, Solidarity articulates my own political worldview. Rorty had an uncanny ability to stare into the post-modern abyss, in which nothing is grounded in the divine or universal, and yet somehow, some way, find a kind of practical empathy that could serve as a beacon in the face of nihilism, authoritarianism and cruelty.

He will be greatly, greatly missed.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

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