Solidarity, critique and techno-science: evaluating Rorty's pragmatism, Freire's critical pedagogy and Vattimo's philosophical hermeneutics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


The critique of metaphysics can often entail a critique of liberalism. Rorty sought a revolutionary paradigm shift in philosophy and the broader humanities, by linking the rejection of metaphysics to a justification for liberal democracy and reformism. He believed that the recognition of socio-historical contingency concerning interpretations of fundamental values and of truth, combined with a humanities education, would create a sense of solidarity that would motivate reforms. Freire argues that a dialogic form of education is as important as the humanities’ content. For Freire, people liberated by a critical education based on dialogue rather than a passive reception of information, can develop a radical critique of capitalism. Vattimo argues that while Heidegger saw techno-science as being the final phase in metaphysical domination, the contemporary development of information and communications technology creates a ‘Babel-like’ pluralism that undermines the ‘violence’ of metaphysic’s totalising thought. This can allow for the development of a post-metaphysical ‘weak communism’ that improves social justice. Rorty and Freire help to show that it is education, rather than technological developments, that can motivate a post-metaphysical politics of solidarity, and Vattimo and Freire are correct to argue that replacing reformism with radical critique is needed for social justice, although Vattimo’s weak communism only provides limited social justice.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Affairs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Apr 2020


  • critical pedagogy, Critique, hermeneutics, Metaphysics, solidarity, technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas