Richard Rorty, a celebrated intellectual whose ponderous body of work spanned the gamuts of philosophy, politics, and literary theory, died of pancreatic cancer Friday, at 75. Rorty was known both as a resplendent thinker and as on old lion of the left. “At 12, I knew that the point of being human was to spend one’s life fighting social injustice,” he wrote.
Rorty's provocative 1979 tract Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature earned him a reputation as the enfant terrible of philosophy for its injunctions to tackle the problems of daily life instead of philosophizing abstractly. After a long academic career capped at Stanford, he passed peacefully in Palo Alto.