Rethinking of Social Solidarity
This paper is an inquiry into Richard Rorty's views on social solidarity. I attempt to
clarify two things: first, whether his argument over the reason and purpose of social
solidarity is persuasive; second, whether his doubts about the current argument over
social solidarity have validity.
That doubt appears with respect to the possibility of "solidarity based on others." On
the first point, I think his argument is persuasive. Rorty says social solidarity has the
purpose of "avoiding cruelty." It is my understanding that in this insistence "avoiding
cruelty" is consistent with our common values. We can generally understand that the
notion of "avoiding cruelty" includes not only recognition of the being of others but also
recognition of the freedom of others.
On the other hand, Rorty says social solidarity comes from what he calls "sympathy
for the pain of others." I think that this insistence, based on our experience, is useful for
Regarding Rorty's doubt, I reserve judgment on its validity. I agree that it is certain
that "solidarity based on others" cannot secure the being of all social members. But I
state my agreement with a reservation for I also think that the interpretation of "closed
others" and the conception of social solidarity based on reciprocity are controversial
On the other hand, I conclude that his rejection of universalism, namely, the rejection
of foundationalism is invalid. In my thinking, foundationalism is not worth serious
consideration from a pragmatic point of view. I assert, in contrast, that continuously
and jointly evaluating various beliefs that have "avoiding cruelty" as their purpose is
the most important point for social solidarity.