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Richard Paul Critical Thinking Biography Of Rory

Gilmore Girls is an American comedy-drama television series, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. The show debuted on October 5, 2000 on The WB and became a flagship series for the network. Gilmore Girls originally ran for seven seasons, with the final season moving to The CW, and ended its run on May 15, 2007.

The show's main focus is on the relationship between single mother Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory, who live in Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a small fictional town filled with colorful characters. The series explores issues of family, romance, education, friendship, disappointment, and ambition, along with generational divides and social class, the latter themes manifesting through Lorelai's difficult relationship with her high society parents, Emily and Richard, and Rory's experiences at an elite high school and later on at an Ivy League University.

Sherman-Palladino, who served as showrunner for the majority of the series, infused Gilmore Girls with distinctive fast-paced dialogue filled with pop culture references. After season six, when the series moved to its new network, Sherman-Palladino left the show and was replaced by David S. Rosenthal for the final season. The series was produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Television and filmed on the studio's lot in Burbank, California.

Television critics praised Gilmore Girls for its witty dialogue, cross-generational appeal, and effective mix of humor and drama. It never drew large ratings but was a relative success for The WB, peaking during season five as the network's second most-popular show. The series has been in daily syndication since 2004, while a growing and dedicated fandom has led to its status as a cult classic. Since coming off the air, Gilmore Girls has been cited in TV (The Book) and Time magazine as one of the 100 greatest television shows of all time.[1][2] In 2016, the main cast and Sherman-Palladino returned for a four-part miniseries revival titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which streamed on Netflix.


The series has two protagonists: witty "thirty-something" mother Lorelai Gilmore and her academic teenage daughter Rory. Their backstory is established early in the show: Lorelai grew up in Hartford with her old money parents, Richard and Emily, but always felt stifled by this environment. She accidentally became pregnant at age sixteen, and left home a year later to raise Rory in the close-knit town of Stars Hollow. Lorelai found work and shelter at the Independence Inn, where she eventually progressed from maid to executive manager. Lorelai and Rory develop a very close relationship, living like best friends, and Lorelai is proud of the independent life she has formed away from her parents. In the pilot episode, she is forced to go to them when Rory is admitted to Chilton Preparatory School but she cannot afford the tuition fees. Emily and Richard agree to provide a loan, so long as the girls join them every Friday night for dinner. This sets up the show's primary conflict, as the Gilmores are forced to face their differences and complicated history. The contrasting mother–daughter relationships of Emily–Lorelai and Lorelai–Rory become a defining theme of the show. Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has summarized the core of Gilmore Girls:

"I think the theme was always family and connection. I always felt like the underlying thing about Gilmore was that, if you happened to be born into a family that doesn’t really understand you, go out and make your own. That’s what Lorelai did. She went out and she made her own family. The ironic twist in her life is that then this daughter that she created this half family for, likes the family that she left. It was a cycle of crazy family."[3]

The series also focuses on both girls' ambition: Rory to attend an Ivy League college and become a journalist, and Lorelai to open an inn with her best friend Sookie St. James. The romantic relationships of the protagonists are another key feature; throughout the series Lorelai has a "will-they-won't-they" dynamic with her friend, local diner owner Luke Danes, while also harboring unresolved feelings for Rory's father, Christopher Hayden. Rory has three boyfriends during the run of the show - local boy Dean Forrester, bad boy Jess Mariano, and wealthy Logan Huntzberger. The quirky townspeople of Stars Hollow are a constant presence. Along with series-long and season-long arcs, Gilmore Girls is also episodic in nature, with mini-plots within each episode - such as a town festival, an issue at Lorelai's inn, or a school project of Rory's.


See also: List of Gilmore Girls episodes

Season 1[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls (season 1)

Rory has a difficult time settling in at Chilton, struggling to match the demands of private school and attracting the fury of classmate Paris Geller. She meets her first boyfriend, Dean, but the pair break up when Rory doesn't reciprocate his, "I love you". She is also pursued by arrogant Chilton student Tristan, but she has little interest. Lorelai begins dating Rory's English teacher, Max Medina, though their relationship is complicated by the situation. At the same time, she has a close friendship with the local diner owner, Luke Danes, and several people comment on their mutual attraction - but Lorelai is in denial and Luke doesn't act on it. Rory's father, Christopher Hayden, returns and also wants Lorelai but she tells him he is too immature for a family. All the while, Lorelai struggles to adjust to having her parents in her life on a regular basis. Emily and Richard enjoy developing a relationship with their granddaughter, but also realize how much they have missed. The season ends with Rory reuniting with Dean and Max proposing to Lorelai.

Season 2[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls (season 2)

Lorelai accepts Max's proposal, but realises shortly before the wedding that it isn't right and they break up. She and Sookie get excited about opening their own business at the dilapidated Dragonfly Inn but the owner refuses to sell. Sookie gets engaged to Jackson Belleville, a local farmer. Luke's teenage nephew, Jess Mariano, comes to live under his care. Jess is sullen and angry with everyone apart from Rory. The two strike up a friendship, causing jealousy in Dean. Lorelai is disapproving, especially when they are in a car accident, which leads to a blow-up with Luke. Richard announces that he has retired but soon becomes bored and sets up his own insurance company. Christopher appears to have his life together and Lorelai decides to reunite with him. But at Sookie's wedding Christopher learns that his recently estranged fiancé is pregnant and decides to return to her, leaving Lorelai heartbroken. At the same time, Rory impulsively kisses Jess.

Season 3[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls (season 3)

Rory's attraction to Jess grows stronger, and she gets jealous when he teases her with a new girlfriend. Dean can't ignore what is going on, and eventually ends their relationship. Rory and Jess immediately become a couple. Meanwhile, she and Paris spend the year as Student Body Presidents at Chilton and both submit applications to Harvard University. Paris is devastated when she doesn't get in. Rory is accepted but decides to attend Yale University instead, much to Emily and Richard's delight. The Independence Inn is badly damaged in a fire, but Lorelai and Sookie are able to buy the Dragonfly when its elderly owner dies. Luke begins dating a lawyer named Nicole. Lane Kim, Rory's best friend, starts a band called Hep Alien and tries to convince her strict mother to let her date the guitarist, Dave, while keeping the band secret. As the season ends, Jess abruptly leaves Stars Hollow to track down his estranged father in California, and Rory graduates High School as valedictorian.

Season 4[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls (season 4)

Rory starts her college education at Yale, with Paris - now a friend - as her roommate. Both start working for the Yale Daily News. Rory is surprised when Dean quickly marries his new girlfriend. The pair grow closer again over the season, leading Rory to turn down Jess when he returns and declares his love. Lorelai spends the season renovating the Dragonfly Inn in preparation for its open, along with Sookie and their colleague Michel. She also begins a relationship with Richard's new business partner, Jason Stiles, which she keeps secret from her parents. Lane's mother learns about Hep Alien and throws her out of the house. Sookie and Jackson have a son. Emily feels neglected by Richard and the two separate, with Richard moving into the poolhouse. Luke and Nicole elope during a cruise, but quickly decide to divorce. Towards the end of the season, Luke accepts that he is in love with Lorelai and begins wooing her. The pair finally kiss on the Dragonfly's opening night, while Rory loses her virginity to a married Dean.

Season 5[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls (season 5)

Lorelai and Luke start a relationship. Emily and Richard - who reunite and renew their wedding vows - disapprove, and Emily interferes by telling Christopher to try and win her back. Luke feels overwhelmed, resulting in a brief separation between him and Lorelai and a rift between Lorelai and Emily. Rory tries to have another relationship with Dean, now separated from his wife, but it soon ends when he realizes how different their lives are. She falls for Logan Huntzberger, a wealthy playboy Yale student whose parents think she is beneath him. Lane and Paris both start relationships: the former with her bandmate Zack, the latter with Yale Daily News editor Doyle. Sookie has a daughter. Rory gets an internship at Logan's father's newspaper but is deflated when he tells her she "doesn't have it." She and Logan are arrested for stealing a yacht, after which Rory announces that she is quitting Yale and moves in with Emily and Richard. When Lorelai sees how supportive Luke is over the situation, she asks him to marry her.

Season 6[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls (season 6)

Lorelai is devastated by Rory's actions but insists that she can't force her back to Yale: it's a decision Rory must make for herself. Mother and daughter don't speak for six months. Rory has to complete community service and Emily gets her a job with the DAR. Richard becomes concerned but eventually, after encouragement from Jess, Rory returns to Yale and reunites with Lorelai. She replaces Paris as editor of the Yale Daily News, which causes issues in their friendship, and after a short separation from Logan the relationship gets serious. Rory is crushed when Logan's father sends him to work in London. Hep Alien disband then come back together; Lane and Zack get married. Lorelai plans a wedding with Luke, but things get difficult when Luke learns that he has a 12-year-old daughter named April. He starts building a relationship with her but keeps Lorelai separate. Lorelai tries to accept this but eventually snaps and issues him an ultimatum. When he doesn't agree to elope, Lorelai goes to Christopher.

Season 7[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls (season 7)

Lorelai and Luke officially split when she tells him she slept with Christopher. Before much time had passed, Christopher convinces Lorelai to try a relationship. The pair spontaneously marry during a trip in Paris, but Lorelai soon accepts that it isn't right and they split amicably. Luke has a custody battle over April, after her mother moves them to New Mexico, and wins the right to see her during holidays. Lane and Zack have twins, and Sookie becomes pregnant again. Rory completes her final year of college. She and Logan spend half the season in a long-distance relationship until he eventually moves back to Connecticut. He proposes, but Rory says that she wants to keep her options open, which leads to their separation. She panics about what she will do after graduating; following some rejection, she gets a job reporting on the Barack Obama campaign trail. Stars Hollow throws a surprise goodbye party for Rory. When Lorelai finds out that Luke organized it, the pair reconcile with a kiss. Lorelai promises Emily that she will continue attending Friday Night Dinners. Before Lorelai and Rory have to say goodbye, they have one last breakfast at Luke's Diner.

A Year in the Life[edit]

Main article: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Nine years after the end of the original series, Rory is struggling in her journalism career and having a no-strings-attached, secret affair with Logan in London, while technically having a boyfriend named Paul that she often forgets about. While Logan is engaged to be married the two of them can't seem to stay apart. Lorelai and Luke live together but are still having communication problems. Richard has recently died of a heart attack, which causes tension between Lorelai and Emily and they end up in joint therapy. Lorelai starts to question her life, so travels to California with intentions to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, where she has an epiphany: she fixes the rift with Emily by recounting a happy story about Richard, and goes home to propose to Luke. Emily decides to sell the Gilmore mansion and move to Nantucket, where she starts working in a museum. After encouragement from Jess, Rory decides to write a book about her life called "Gilmore Girls". After Luke and Lorelai marry, Rory tells her mom that she is pregnant and the father is left unknown.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main article: List of Gilmore Girls characters


  • Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore: Independent single-mom who runs an inn and loves pop-culture and coffee.
  • Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore: Precocious and driven single-child of Lorelai, age 16 at the start of the show.
  • Scott Patterson as Luke Danes: Grouchy but kind-hearted diner owner; Lorelai's friend and eventual love interest.
  • Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore: Matriarch of the Gilmore family, who lives as a high society housewife.
  • Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James: Lorelai's chirpy best friend and chef/co-owner at the inn. (main seasons 1-7; guest AYITL)
  • Keiko Agena as Lane Kim: Rory's best friend, who secretly defies her strict mother and forms a rock band. (main seasons 1-7, AYITL)
  • Yanic Truesdale as Michel Gerard: The grumpy French concierge at Lorelai and Sookie's inn. (main seasons 1-7; recurring AYITL)
  • Edward Herrmann as Richard Gilmore: Intellectual patriarch of the Gilmore family, who works in insurance. (main seasons 1-7)[a]
  • Liza Weil as Paris Geller: Rory's feisty nemesis and eventual friend throughout high school and college. (main seasons 2-7; recurring season 1, AYITL)
  • Jared Padalecki as Dean Forester: Rory's season 1–3 boyfriend, who moved to Stars Hollow from Chicago. (main seasons 2-3; recurring seasons 1, 4-5; guest AYITL)
  • Sean Gunn as Kirk Gleason[b]: Quirky resident of Stars Hollow who works numerous jobs around the town. (main seasons 3-7; recurring seasons 1-2, AYITL)
  • Milo Ventimiglia as Jess Mariano: Luke's troubled nephew who falls for Rory and becomes an intense but short-lived boyfriend. (main seasons 2–3; recurring season 4; guest seasons 6, AYITL)
  • Chris Eigeman as Jason Stiles: Lorelai's season 4 boyfriend and Richard's business partner. (main season 4, guest AYITL)
  • Matt Czuchry as Logan Huntzberger: Rory's season 5–7 boyfriend, who comes from an extremely wealthy family. (main seasons 6-7; recurring season 5, AYITL)


  • Liz Torres as Miss Patty, the town dance teacher and gossip (seasons 1–AYITL)
  • Emily Kuroda as Mrs. Kim, Lane's strict Seventh-day Adventist mother (seasons 1–AYITL)
  • Sally Struthers as Babette Dell, Lorelai's eccentric neighbor and town gossip (seasons 1–AYITL)
  • Jackson Douglas as Jackson Belleville, Sookie's husband and a local farmer (seasons 1–AYITL)[c]
  • Michael Winters as Taylor Doose, the uptight town Selectman (seasons 1–AYITL)
  • David Sutcliffe as Christopher Hayden, Rory's father and Lorelai's on-off love interest (seasons 1–3; 5–AYITL)
  • Shelly Cole as Madeline Lynn, Rory's ditzy high school friend (seasons 1–4)
  • Teal Redmann as Louise Grant, Rory's ditzy high school friend (seasons 1–4)
  • Scott Cohen as Max Medina, Lorelai's season one boyfriend and brief fiance, and Rory's English teacher at Chilton (seasons 1–3)
  • Chad Michael Murray as Tristan DuGrey, wealthy Chilton student who has a crush on Rory (seasons 1–2)
  • Rose Abdoo as Gypsy, the town mechanic[d] (seasons 2–AYITL)
  • Todd Lowe as Zach Van Gerbig, Lane's bandmate and eventual husband (seasons 3–AYITL)
  • John Cabrera as Brian Fuller, Lane's bandmate (seasons 3–AYITL)
  • Tricia O'Kelley as Nicole Leahy, Luke's season 3–4 girlfriend and short-term wife (seasons 3–4)
  • Adam Brody as Dave Rygalski, Lane's bandmate and season 3 boyfriend (season 3)
  • Sebastian Bach as Gil, Lane's bandmate (seasons 4–AYITL)
  • Danny Strong as Doyle McMaster, Paris's boyfriend and one-time editor of the Yale Daily News (seasons 4–AYITL)
  • Kathleen Wilhoite as Liz Danes, Luke's flighty sister and Jess's mother (seasons 4–7)
  • Michael DeLuise as TJ, Luke's dopey brother-in-law (seasons 4–7)
  • Wayne Wilcox as Marty, Rory's friend at Yale who has unrequited feelings for her (seasons 4–5; 7)
  • Alan Loayza as Colin McCrae, Logan's wealthy friend (seasons 5–6; AYITL)
  • Tanc Sade as Finn, Logan's wealthy friend (seasons 5–6; AYITL)
  • Gregg Henry as Mitchum Huntzberger, Logan's father and a newspaper mogul (seasons 5–AYITL)
  • Vanessa Marano as April Nardini, Luke's "long lost" adolescent daughter (seasons 6–AYITL)
  • Sherilyn Fenn as Anna Nardini, April's mother and Luke's ex-girlfriend[e] (seasons 6–7)



“I sold it off of a line, ‘It’s [a] mother and daughter and they’re more like friends than mother and daughter.’ And they all perked up and literally said, ‘Great, we’ll buy that’. I walked out of there and turned to my manager at the time and said, ‘That’s all I got. I don’t know what the show is.’”

–Amy Sherman-Palladino on her initial pitch to The WB[5]

Amy Sherman-Palladino, who came from a background of writing for half-hour sitcoms, had Gilmore Girls approved by The WB after several of her previous pitches were turned down. On a whim, she suggested a show about a mother and daughter but had put little thought into the idea.[5] Having to create a pilot, she drew inspiration for the show's setting of "Stars Hollow, Connecticut" after making a trip to Washington Depot, Connecticut, where she stayed at the Mayflower Inn. She explained: "If I can make people feel this much of what I felt walking around this fairy town, I thought that would be wonderful ... At the time I was there, it was beautiful, it was magical, and it was feeling of warmth and small-town camaraderie ... There was a longing for that in my own life, and I thought—that's something that I would really love to put out there."[6]

Once the setting was established, Gilmore Girls developed as a mixture of sitcom and family drama.[7] Sherman-Palladino's aim was to create "A family show that doesn't make parents want to stick something sharp in their eyes while they're watching it and doesn't talk down to kids."[8] She wanted the family dynamic to be important because "It’s a constant evolution ... You never run out of conflict.”[9] The show's pace, dialogue, and focus on class divisions was heavily inspired by the screwball comedies of the 1930s and Katharine Hepburn–Spencer Tracy films.[10][11] Sherman-Palladino was also influenced by the "acerbic wit" of Dorothy Parker.[11]

The pilot episode of Gilmore Girls received financial support from the script development fund of the Family Friendly Programming Forum, which includes some of the nation's leading advertisers, making it one of the first network shows to reach the air with such funding.[12] The show was green-lit by The WB, and Sherman-Palladino proceeded to exercise control over all aspects of its production.[13] Her husband Daniel Palladino was a consultant and occasional writer for the first season, then agreed to quit his producer position on Family Guy to commit to Gilmore Girls; he became an executive producer with the second season, and also played a major role.[14] The show's third executive producer was Gavin Polone.


Alexis Bledel was cast in the key role of Rory despite having no previous acting experience. Sherman-Palladino was drawn to her shyness and innocence, which she said was essential for the character, and felt she photographed well.[15]Lauren Graham was pursued by the casting directors from the start of the process, but she was committed to another show on NBC. A week before shooting, they had still failed to cast Lorelai so they asked Graham to audition anyway. Sherman-Palladino cast her that day, on the hope that Graham's other show (M.Y.O.B.) would be cancelled, which it soon was.[16][17] She later explained how Graham met all the criteria she had been looking for: "Lorelai’s a hard fucking part. You’ve got to be funny, you’ve got to talk really fucking fast, you’ve got to be able to act, you’ve got to be sexy, but not scary sexy. You’ve got to be strong, but not like ‘I hate men,'".[18] Graham and Bledel only met the night before they started filming the pilot.[5]

In casting the grandparents, Sherman-Palladino had veteran actor Edward Herrmann in mind for Richard and was delighted when he agreed. Kelly Bishop, a fellow New York stage actress, was cast straight after her audition; Sherman-Palladino recalled knowing immediately "and there's Emily".[16] The role of the Stars Hollow diner owner was originally a woman, but the network reported that they needed more men and Scott Patterson was cast as Luke. It was advertised as a guest role, but Patterson said he treated the pilot as "a chemistry test" and he was promptly promoted to series regular.[19]

In the pilot, Sookie was played by Alex Borstein but she could not be released from her Mad TV contract. She was therefore replaced by Melissa McCarthy, who re-filmed Sookie's scenes. The role of Dean also changed after the pilot, with the original actor replaced by newcomer Jared Padalecki. The character Lane was based on Sherman-Palladino's friend and fellow producer Helen Pai; Japanese-American actress Keiko Agena was cast in the role when they could not find an appropriate Korean-American actress. Liza Weil auditioned to play Rory, and while she was considered wrong for the part – Sherman-Palladino liked her so much that she wrote the role of Paris specially for her.[16][17]


Gilmore Girls had a small writing staff, headed by Amy and Daniel Palladino (seasons 1–6), that changed regularly throughout the series. The Palladinos wrote a high percentage of episodes, and would review and rework the dialogue in episodes allocated to others. As such, the show is considered to have a distinctive "voice". Sherman-Palladino said "every draft either I write, or it passes through my hands ... so that there is a consistency of tone. It's very important that it feel like the same show every week, because it is so verbal."[20] The main job of the writers' room was to help develop storylines and create detailed episode outlines.[20][21] Notable writers who worked on the show at some point include Jenji Kohan, Bill Prady, Jane Espenson, Rebecca Rand Kirshner, and Janet Leahy.

As signalled by its tagline "Life's short. Talk fast", Gilmore Girls is known for its fast-paced dialogue and "witty repartee".[18][22][23] Sherman-Palladino wanted a snappy delivery from the characters because she believes that "comedy dies slow",[14] which required large volumes of dialogue to fill the hour-long time slot.[24] Scripts averaged 80 pages per episode, compared to an "hour-long" average of 55–60 pages, with one page translating to 20-25 seconds of screen time.[25][26]

Much of the dialogue is peppered with references to film, television shows, music, literature, and celebrity culture. The range of references is broad, summarised by critic Ken Tucker as "some cross between Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Ulysses".[27] Sherman-Palladino wanted the characters to speak this way as an indicator of their worldliness and intelligence, and to cater to a broad audience.[28] At the start, she argued with the network about the frequently old-fashioned references; when she refused to remove a comment about Oscar Levant, she felt the executives adopted an attitude of "Let the crazy woman dig her own grave."[18] The relative obscurity of some of the allusions resulted in explanatory "Gilmore-isms" booklets being included in the DVD sets of the first four seasons.[29]

In contrast to the rapid-fire dialogue, storylines on Gilmore Girls move slowly. Sherman-Palladino's motto was "make the small big, make the big small", which she learned from her days writing for Roseanne. She chose to be "very stingy with events", and the drama is low-key because "sometimes the average every day things are more impactful".[30] Key incidents often take place off-screen and are only revealed through character conversations, which journalist Constance Grady says is because "On Gilmore Girls, the explosion is never what matters: It’s the fallout."[22] The show similarly uses subtext rather than exposition, "where people will talk a great deal in order to obscure what they really mean to say".[22] The writers did not like moments to be overly sentimental, preferring characters to show love through actions and behavior.[16][22] Sherman-Palladino stated that the network did not interfere or request changes,[20][24] though there is speculation that she delivered scripts at the last minute to avoid their input.[31][f]

Sherman-Palladino treated Lorelai as a reflection of herself. Her husband commented: "Amy writing for Lorelai Gilmore has always been really special. No surprise, they’re kind of dopplegangers ... Amy and Lorelai are very, very similar. That character is a great cipher for a lot of what Amy is and has been, from the very beginning."[3]


The pilot episode was shot in the Toronto suburb of Unionville. The rest of the series was filmed at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California. Exterior scenes of Stars Hollow, along with those at Luke's Diner and Miss Patty's dance studio, were all filmed on the backlot – with dozens of background actors utilized to make it look like a functioning town. Production designers regularly had to decorate the town square with fake leaves or fake snow to make it look like a New England fall or winter. Interiors of Lorelai's house and inn, and all scenes at Yale and the Gilmore mansion, were filmed on a sound stage.[33] Very occasionally, the show was filmed on location. The exterior shots of Rory's preparatory school, Chilton, were filmed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, California.[34] Rory's visit to Harvard was filmed at UCLA, and her initial visit to Yale was filmed at Pomona College.[35][36]

Gilmore Girls relied on a master shot filming style, in which a scene is filmed to frame characters and their dialogue together within a long and uninterrupted, single take; often illustrated through another method regularly employed on the show, the walk and talk.[37] Sherman-Palladino explained "There's an energy and style to our show that's very simple, in my mind ... [it] almost needs to be shot like a play. That's how we get our pace, our energy, and our flow ... I don't think it could work any other way."[20]

It took eight working days to shoot an episode,[38] and days were regularly 14–20 hours long.[39] Lauren Graham said: "We filmed alongside The West Wing, and Aaron Sorkin shows are known for having the worst hours ever, they go on and on, but we were always there even after they had gone home, because you couldn't change a word of the script."[40] The cast were required to be word-perfect in all the scenes, while also reciting large amounts of dialogue at speed. Matt Czuchry, who had a main role for the final three seasons, commented "The pace of the dialogue was what made that show incredibly unique, and also incredibly difficult as an actor. To be able to maintain that speed, tone, and at the same time, try to make layered choices was a great experience to have early in my career. It really challenged me."[41] The combination of the difficult dialogue and long takes meant each scene had to be shot many times; Graham said in 2015: "never before or since have I done as many takes of anything".[42] Alexis Bledel recalled that one scene required 38 takes.[43] Graham added, "that show – as fun and breezy and light as it is – is technically really challenging".[42]


Gilmore Girls' non-diegetic score was composed by singer-songwriter Sam Phillips throughout its entire run. Sherman-Palladino, who served as the music supervisor of the series, was a big fan of the musician and secured her involvement.[44] For the score's instrumental arrangement, Phillips primarily used her voice and an acoustic guitar, and on occasion included piano, violin, and drums. Many of the musical cues are accompanied by melodic "la-la"s and "ahh"s, which developed because Sherman-Palladino wanted the score to sound connected to the girls themselves, almost like "an extension of their thoughts ... if they had music going in their head during a certain emotional thing in their life." Sherman-Palladino felt that the score elevated the series "because it wasn't a wasted element in the show. Everything was trying to say a little something, add a little something to it."[45] Several of Phillips' album tracks are also played in the show, and she made an appearance in the season six finale, performing part of "Taking Pictures".[46]

The theme song is a version of Carole King's 1971 song "Where You Lead". King made a new recording specially for Gilmore Girls: a duet with her daughter Louise Goffin. She was happy that it gave the song "a deeper meaning of love between a mother and her child".[47] King appeared in several episodes as Sophie, the town music shop owner, and performed a brief portion of her song "I Feel the Earth Move" in the revival.[48]

Music also plays a large part in the show as a frequent topic of conversation between characters and in live performances within scenes.[46] Musical acts who made appearances include The Bangles, Sonic Youth, Sparks, and The Shins (S04E17). Grant-Lee Phillips appears in at least one episode per season as the town's troubadour, singing his own songs and covers.[46] In 2002, a soundtrack to Gilmore Girls was released by Rhino Records, entitled Our Little Corner of the World: Music from Gilmore Girls. The CD booklet features anecdotes from show producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino about the large part music has played in their lives.


Change of showrunner[edit]

In 2006, the WB merged with UPN to form a new network, The CW. Gilmore Girls survived the merger, being selected as one of seven WB shows to be transferred for a new season, but it resulted in a significant change. In April that year, it was announced that Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel could not come to an agreement with The CW and would be leaving the show when their contracts expired that summer.[49] Journalist Michael Ausiello said of the decision: "The thought of Gilmore Girls heading into what is likely to be its final season (and its first on a brand-new network) without its mama or her right-hand man is unfathomable."[49] Discussing the departure later, Sherman-Palladino reflected on the contract dispute in an interview with Vulture, saying:

"It was a botched negotiation. It really was about the fact that I was working too much. I was going to be the crazy person who was locked in my house and never came out. I heard a lot of 'Amy doesn't need a writing staff because she and Dan Palladino write everything!' I thought, That's a great mentality on your part, but if you want to keep the show going for two more years, let me hire more writers. By the way, all this shit we asked for? They had to do [it] anyway when we left. They hired this big writing staff and a producer-director onstage. That's what bugged me the most. They wound up having to do what we'd asked for anyway, and I wasn't there."[50]

David S. Rosenthal, who worked on the show as a writer and producer for season 6, was selected by Sherman-Palladino to replace her as showrunner.[51] Commenting on this change, an article in Wired says: "the Palladinos had written the majority of the episodes up to that point, and their distinctive rhythms and obsessions were what defined Gilmore Girls. What remains after their departure is something that seems like Gilmore Girls Adjacent more than anything."[7]


There was speculation during the seventh season that it would be the show's final year, as Graham and Bledel's contracts were both coming to an end. As negotiations continued between the actresses and the network, Rosenthal planned a finale that "could serve as an ending or a beginning of a new chapter and a new season".[52] Graham later said that at the time they finished filming, "there was a 50/50 chance we'd be returning", and requested that the finale provide "an opportunity to say goodbye" to the characters, in case of cancellation.[53] The cast and crew did not have a final wrap party or an opportunity to say farewells.[39][54]

The CW initially considered bringing the show back for a shortened, 13-episode season but then decided against the idea.[53] On May 3, 2007, the network announced that the series would not be renewed.[55][56] Graham explained that the possibility of returning fell through because "We were trying to find a way we [she and Bledel] could have a slightly easier schedule, and there was really no way to do that and still have it be Gilmore Girls."[53]


Main article: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Because the final season was not written by the series' creator, and the new writers had not known that the finale was definitely the last episode, Lauren Graham noted that a lot of fans "were disappointed with how it [the series] ended".[57] In 2009, Amy Sherman-Palladino expressed an interest in pursuing a Gilmore Girls film, to finish the series as she originally intended.[58] Over the following years, fans and journalists continued to ask regularly if the show would return. Privately, Sherman-Palladino stayed in contact with Graham, Bledel, Patterson and Bishop to discuss the possibility, but nothing came to fruition.[59]

In June 2015, for the 15th anniversary of the show, the cast and showrunners reunited for a special panel at the ATX Television Festival. When asked about a possible revival, Sherman-Palladino told the audience "I'm sorry, there's nothing in the works at the moment."[60] The hype generated by the reunion, however, empowered Sherman-Palladino to pitch new episodes and encouraged Netflix to produce them.[13] In October 2015 – eight years after the show had ended – TVLine reported that the streaming channel struck a deal with Warner Bros. to revive the series in a limited run, consisting of four 90-minute episodes, written and directed by Amy and Daniel Palladino.[61][62] The Palladinos explained that it felt like the right time creatively to continue the story, and that the freedom provided by Netflix made it possible.[3]

The revival miniseries, titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, was filmed from February to May 2016. Aside from Edward Herrmann, who died a year prior, every cast member who received a main credit on the show returned for at least a scene, while many supporting characters also made an appearance. The sets all had to be rebuilt from scratch, using nothing but photos and footage from the original series.[63] The revival was released on Netflix on November 25, 2016 to positive reviews.[64] There is speculation regarding a possible second revival, with Netflix reportedly keen.[65]

Broadcast history[edit]

Gilmore Girls' first season commenced on The WB in the Thursday 8pm/7pm Central time slot, as a lead in for Charmed.[66] Renewed for a second season, the show was relocated on Tuesdays 8pm/7pm, the time slot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which transferred to UPN, and served as a lead-in for Smallville. Later seasons saw it lead into One Tree Hill.[67] First season reruns aired on Monday nights from March until May 2001, to spread audience awareness. An additional run of the first season aired in 2002 on Sunday nights under the title Gilmore Girls Beginnings (which featured a modified opening sequence voiced with a monologue detailing the premise from Graham), and was one of two shows on The WB to give the Beginnings in its title for reruns (the other being 7th Heaven).[18]

In the United Kingdom, Gilmore Girls was initially screened on Nickelodeon from 2003. Only the first three seasons were shown, with episodes edited for content and some, like "The Big One", dropped entirely. The series was subsequently picked up by the Hallmark Channel, which gave UK premieres to seasons 4 and 5. In Ireland, the series aired its entire run on RTÉ One on Sundays.


In the US, the show began its syndicated release on ABC Family in 2004.[68] The network has continued to air the show daily under its new name Freeform. In October 2015, Gilmore Girls concurrently became available on a second network, Up. Josef Adalian of Vulture commented on how rare this is: "not that many non-procedural, hour-long shows from the early part of the century — particularly those from a small network such as WB — are still even airing regularly on one cable network, let alone two."[69] Up showed Gilmore Girls 1,100 times in its first year; Freeform aired it 400 times in the same period.[69] From 2009 to 2013, Gilmore Girls also aired in weekend timeslots on SOAPnet.

In the UK, E4 showed all seven seasons in rotation until January 2012. The show moved to 5Star, where it has been airing since 2013. In Australia, from March 2015, Gilmore Girls began airing again weeknights on digital terrestrial network GEM.

Home media and online[edit]

Warner Home Video released all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls on DVD, in regions 1, 2 and 4, mainly in full-screen 4:3 ratio due to Amy Sherman-Palladino's preference at the time of original release. The full series DVD boxset was released in 2007. Special features include deleted scenes, three behind-the-scenes featurettes, cast interviews, montages, and one episode commentary (for "You Jump, I Jump, Jack").[70]

On October 1, 2014, all seven seasons of the series began streaming on Netflix's "Watch Instantly" service in the United States. On July 1, 2016, Gilmore Girls became available on Netflix worldwide.[71][72] All seasons of Gilmore Girls are also available for digital download on the iTunes Store, and other digital sales websites, with all digital sites offering all episodes in HD.


Critical response[edit]

Upon debut, Gilmore Girls was lauded for the distinct, dialogue-infused style created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the strength of the dynamic familial themes, and the performances of its cast, particularly leading star Lauren Graham. On Metacritic, the first season has an average rating of 81 out of 100 from 26 reviews, indicating "universal praise".[73]

In the San Francisco Chronicle, John Carman wrote "It's cross-generational, warm-the-cockles viewing, and it's a terrific show. Can this really be the WB, niche broadcaster to horny mall rats?"[74]Caryn James of The New York Times called it a "witty, charming show" that "is redefining family in a realistic, entertaining way for today's audience, all the while avoiding the sappiness that makes sophisticated viewers run from anything labeled a 'family show.'"[8]Ray Richmond of The Hollywood Reporter declared it "a genuine gem in the making, a family-friendly hour unburdened by trite cliche or precocious pablum," while Jonathan Storm of The Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed it "a touching, funny, lively show that really does appeal to all ages". David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun called Gilmore Girls "One of the most pleasant surprises of the new season".[73]

For the second-season premiere, Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel praised the show as "one of television's great, unsung pleasures", and said "Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino writes clever dialogue and ingratiating comedy, but she also knows how to do bittersweet drama."[75] Emily Yahr of The Washington Post retrospectively called the second instalment "Pretty much a perfect season of television".[76] Viewers were concerned that the show would suffer when Rory left for college after season 3,[77] and Yahr commented that the show was not "the same" from this point but gave seasons four and five a positive 7/10.[76]

The last two seasons were less positively received. Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune described the sixth season as "uneven at best", explaining, "the protracted fight between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore left the writers scrambling to cram the show with filler plots that stretched many fans' patience to the limit."[78] The introduction of Luke's daughter has been described as "pretty much the most hated plot device in Gilmore Girls history".[76]Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly rated the seventh season "C", describing it as "a death-blow season [which] was more accurately Gilmore Ghosts

Singer-songwriter Sam Phillips composed the Gilmore Girls musical score

Richard McKay Rorty (October 4, 1931 – June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher. Educated at the University of Chicago and Yale University, he had strong interests and training in both the history of philosophy and contemporary analytic philosophy, the latter of which came to comprise the main focus of his work at Princeton University in the 1960s.[1] He subsequently came to reject the tradition of philosophy according to which knowledge involves correct representation (a "mirror of nature") of a world whose existence remains wholly independent of that representation. Rorty had a long and diverse academic career, including positions as Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, Kenan Professor of Humanities at the University of Virginia, and Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Among his most influential books are Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989).

Rorty saw the idea of knowledge as a "mirror of nature" as pervasive throughout the history of western philosophy. Against this approach, Rorty advocated for a novel form of American pragmatism, sometimes called neopragmatism, in which scientific and philosophical methods form merely a set of contingent "vocabularies" which people abandon or adopt over time according to social conventions and usefulness. Abandoning representationalist accounts of knowledge and language, Rorty believed, would lead to a state of mind he referred to as "ironism," in which people become completely aware of the contingency of their placement in history and of their philosophical vocabulary. Rorty tied this brand of philosophy to the notion of "social hope"; he believed that without the representationalist accounts, and without metaphors between the mind and the world, human society would behave more peacefully. He also emphasized the reasons why the interpretation of culture as conversation (Bernstein 1971), constitutes the crucial concept of a "postphilosophical" culture determined to abandon representationalist accounts of traditional epistemology, incorporating American pragmatist naturalism that considers the natural sciences as an advance towards liberalism.


Richard Rorty was born on October 4, 1931, in New York City.[2] His parents, James and Winifred Rorty, were activists, writers and social democrats. His maternal grandfather, Walter Rauschenbusch, was a central figure in the Social Gospel movement of the early 20th century.[3] His father experienced two nervous breakdowns in his later life. The second breakdown, which he had in the early 1960s, was more serious and "included claims to divine prescience."[4] Consequently, Richard Rorty fell into depression as a teenager and in 1962 began a six-year psychiatric analysis for obsessional neurosis.[4] Rorty wrote about the beauty of rural New Jersey orchids in his short autobiography, "Trotsky and the Wild Orchids." His colleague Jürgen Habermas's obituary for Rorty points out that Rorty's contrasting childhood experiences, such as beautiful orchids versus reading a book in his parents' house that defended Leon Trotsky against Stalin, created an early interest in philosophy. He describes Rorty as an ironist:

"Nothing is sacred to Rorty the ironist. Asked at the end of his life about the 'holy', the strict atheist answered with words reminiscent of the young Hegel: 'My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.'"[5]

Rorty enrolled at the University of Chicago shortly before turning 15, where he received a bachelor's and a master's degree in philosophy (studying under Richard McKeon),[6][7] continuing at Yale University for a PhD in philosophy (1952–1956).[8] He married another academic, Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (Harvard University professor), with whom he had a son, Jay, in 1954. After two years in the United States Army, he taught at Wellesley College for three years until 1961.[9] Rorty divorced his wife and then married Stanford UniversitybioethicistMary Varney Rorty in 1972. They had two children, Kevin and Patricia. While Richard Rorty was a "strict atheist" (Habermas),[5] Mary Varney Rorty was a practicing Mormon.[4]

Rorty was a professor of philosophy at Princeton University for 21 years.[9] In 1981, he was a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the "Genius Award," in its first year of awarding, and in 1982 he became Kenan Professor of the Humanities at the University Of Virginia.[10] In 1997 Rorty became professor of comparative literature (and philosophy, by courtesy), at Stanford University, where he spent the remainder of his academic career.[10] During this period he was especially popular, and once quipped that he had been assigned to the position of "transitory professor of trendy studies."[11]

Rorty's doctoral dissertation, "The Concept of Potentiality" was an historical study of the concept, completed under the supervision of Paul Weiss, but his first book (as editor), The Linguistic Turn (1967), was firmly in the prevailing analytic mode, collecting classic essays on the linguistic turn in analytic philosophy. However, he gradually became acquainted with the American philosophical movement known as pragmatism, particularly the writings of John Dewey. The noteworthy work being done by analytic philosophers such as Willard Van Orman Quine and Wilfrid Sellars caused significant shifts in his thinking, which were reflected in his next book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979).

Pragmatists generally hold that the meaning of a proposition is determined by its use in linguistic practice. Rorty combined pragmatism about truth and other matters with a laterWittgensteinianphilosophy of language which declares that meaning is a social-linguistic product, and sentences do not 'link up' with the world in a correspondence relation. Rorty wrote in his Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989):

"Truth cannot be out there—cannot exist independently of the human mind—because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the world can be true or false. The world on its own unaided by the describing activities of humans cannot."(5)

Views like this led Rorty to question many of philosophy's most basic assumptions—and have also led to him being apprehended as a postmodern/deconstructionist philosopher. Indeed, from the late 1980s through the 1990s, Rorty focused on the continental philosophical tradition, examining the works of Friederich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida. His work from this period included Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Essays on Heidegger and Others: Philosophical Papers (1991) and Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers (1998). The latter two works attempt to bridge the dichotomy between analytic and continental philosophy by claiming that the two traditions complement rather than oppose each other.

According to Rorty, analytic philosophy may not have lived up to its pretensions and may not have solved the puzzles it thought it had. Yet such philosophy, in the process of finding reasons for putting those pretensions and puzzles aside, helped earn itself an important place in the history of ideas. By giving up on the quest for apodicticity and finality that Edmund Husserl shared with Rudolf Carnap and Bertrand Russell, and by finding new reasons for thinking that such quest will never succeed, analytic philosophy cleared a path that leads past scientism, just as the German idealists cleared a path that led around empiricism.

In the last fifteen years of his life, Rorty continued to publish his writings, including four volumes of his archived philosophical papers, Achieving Our Country (1998), a political manifesto partly based on readings of Dewey and Walt Whitman in which he defended the idea of a progressive, pragmatic left against what he feels are defeatist, anti-liberal, anti-humanist positions espoused by the critical left and continental school. Rorty felt these anti-humanist positions were personified by figures like Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Foucault. Such theorists were also guilty of an "inverted Platonism" in which they attempted to craft overarching, metaphysical, "sublime" philosophies—which in fact contradicted their core claims to be ironist and contingent. Rorty's last works, after his move to Stanford University, focused on the place of religion in contemporary life, liberal communities, comparative literature and philosophy as "cultural politics."

Shortly before his death, he wrote a piece called "The Fire of Life," (published in the November 2007 issue of Poetry magazine),[12] in which he meditates on his diagnosis and the comfort of poetry. He concludes, "I now wish that I had spent somewhat more of my life with verse. This is not because I fear having missed out on truths that are incapable of statement in prose. There are no such truths; there is nothing about death that Swinburne and Landor knew but Epicurus and Heidegger failed to grasp. Rather, it is because I would have lived more fully if I had been able to rattle off more old chestnuts—just as I would have if I had made more close friends. Cultures with richer vocabularies are more fully human—farther removed from the beasts—than those with poorer ones; individual men and women are more fully human when their memories are amply stocked with verses."

On June 8, 2007, Rorty died in his home from pancreatic cancer.[8][10][13]

Major works[edit]

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature[edit]

Main article: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Rorty argues that the central problems of modern epistemology depend upon a picture of the mind as trying to faithfully represent (or "mirror") a mind-independent, external reality. If we give up this metaphor, then the entire enterprise of foundationalist epistemology is misguided. A foundationalist believes that in order to avoid the regress inherent in claiming that all beliefs are justified by other beliefs, some beliefs must be self-justifying and form the foundations to all knowledge.

There were two senses of "foundationalism" criticized in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. In the epistemological sense, Rorty criticized the attempt to justify knowledge claims by tracing them to a set of foundations (e.g., self-evident premises or noninferential sensations); more broadly, he criticized the claim of philosophy to function foundationally within a culture. The former argument draws on Sellars's critique of the idea that there is a "given" in sensory perception, in combination with Quine's critique of the distinction between analytic sentences (sentences which are true solely in virtue of what they mean) and synthetic sentences (sentences made true by the world). Each critique, taken alone, provides a problem for a conception of how philosophy ought to proceed, yet leaves enough of the tradition intact to proceed with its former aspirations. Combined, Rorty claimed, the two critiques are devastating. With no privileged insight into the structure of belief and no privileged realm of truths of meaning, we have, instead, knowledge as those beliefs that pay their way. The only worthwhile description of the actual process of inquiry, Rorty claimed, was a Kuhnian account of the standard phases of the progress of disciplines, oscillating through normal and abnormal periods, between routine problem-solving and intellectual crises.

After rejecting foundationalism, Rorty argues that one of the few roles left for a philosopher is to act as an intellectual gadfly, attempting to induce a revolutionary break with previous practice, a role that Rorty was happy to take on himself. Rorty suggests that each generation tries to subject all disciplines to the model that the most successful discipline of the day employs. In Rorty's view, the success of modern science has led academics in philosophy and the humanities to mistakenly imitate scientific methods. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature popularized and extended ideas of Wilfrid Sellars (the critique of the Myth of the given) and Willard Van Orman Quine (the critique of the analytic-synthetic distinction) and others who advocate the Wittgensteinian doctrine of "dissolving" rather than solving philosophical problems.

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity[edit]

Main article: Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity

In Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989), Rorty abandons specifically analytic modes of explication in favor of narrative pastiche in order to develop an alternative conceptual vocabulary to that of the "Platonists" he rejects. This schema is based on the belief that there is no worthwhile theory of truth, aside from a non-epistemic semantic one (as Donald Davidson developed out of the work of Alfred Tarski). Rorty suggests that the task of philosophy should be distinguished along public and private lines. Private philosophers, who provide one with greater abilities to (re)create oneself, a view adapted from Nietzsche and which Rorty also identifies with the novels of Marcel Proust and Vladimir Nabokov, should not be expected to help with public problems. For a public philosophy, one might turn to Rawls or Habermas.

This book also marks his first attempt to specifically articulate a political vision consistent with his philosophy, the vision of a diverse community bound together by opposition to cruelty, and not by abstract ideas such as 'justice' or 'common humanity,' policed by the separation of the public and private realms of life.

In this book, Rorty introduces the terminology of Ironism, which he uses to describe his mindset and his philosophy.

Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth[edit]

Amongst the essays in Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers, Volume 1 (1990), is "The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy," in which Rorty defends Rawls against communitarian critics. Rorty argues that liberalism can "get along without philosophical presuppositions," while at the same time conceding to communitarians that "a conception of the self that makes the community constitutive of the self does comport well with liberal democracy."[14] For Rorty, social institutions ought to be thought of as "experiments in cooperation rather than as attempts to embody a universal and ahistorical order."[15]

Essays on Heidegger and Others[edit]

In this text, Rorty focuses primarily on the continental philosophers Heidegger and Derrida. He argues that these European "post-Nietzscheans" share much with American pragmatists, in that they critique metaphysics and reject the correspondence theory of truth. When discussing Derrida, Rorty claims that Derrida is most useful when viewed as a funny writer who attempted to circumvent the Western philosophical tradition, rather than the inventor of a philosophical (or literary) "method." In this vein, Rorty criticizes Derrida's followers like Paul de Man for taking deconstructive literary theory too seriously.

Achieving Our Country[edit]

Main article: Achieving Our Country

In Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America (1997), Rorty differentiates between what he sees as the two sides of the Left, a cultural Left and a progressive Left. He criticizes the cultural Left, which is exemplified by post-structuralists such as Foucault and postmodernists such as Lyotard, for offering critiques of society, but no alternatives (or alternatives that are so vague and general as to be abdications). Although these intellectuals make insightful claims about the ills of society, Rorty suggests that they provide no alternatives and even occasionally deny the possibility of progress. On the other hand, the progressive Left, exemplified for Rorty by the pragmatist Dewey, Whitman and James Baldwin, makes hope for a better future its priority. Without hope, Rorty argues, change is spiritually inconceivable and the cultural Left has begun to breed cynicism. Rorty sees the progressive Left as acting in the philosophical spirit of pragmatism.

On human rights[edit]

Rorty's notion of human rights is grounded on the notion of sentimentality. He contended that throughout history humans have devised various means of construing certain groups of individuals as inhuman or subhuman. Thinking in rationalist (foundationalist) terms will not solve this problem, he claimed. Rorty advocated the creation of a culture of global human rights in order to stop violations from happening through a sentimental education. He argued that we should create a sense of empathy or teach empathy to others so as to understand others' suffering.[16]

Reception and criticism[edit]

Rorty is among the most widely discussed and controversial contemporary philosophers,[17] and his works have provoked thoughtful responses from many other well-respected figures in the field. In Robert Brandom's anthology, entitled Rorty and His Critics, for example, Rorty's philosophy is discussed by Donald Davidson, Jürgen Habermas, Hilary Putnam, John McDowell, Jacques Bouveresse, and Daniel Dennett, among others.[18] In 2007, Roger Scruton wrote, "Rorty was paramount among those thinkers who advance their own opinion as immune to criticism, by pretending that it is not truth but consensus that counts, while defining the consensus in terms of people like themselves."[19] Ralph Marvin Tumaob concludes that Rorty was really influenced by the notion of Jean-François Lyotard's Metanarratives, and by this he further added that "postmodernism was influenced further by the works of Rorty".[20]

John McDowell is strongly influenced by Rorty, particularly by Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979).[21] In continental philosophy, authors such as Jürgen Habermas, Gianni Vattimo, Jacques Derrida, Albrecht Wellmer, Hans Joas, Chantal Mouffe, Simon Critchley, Esa Saarinen, and Mike Sandbothe are influenced in different ways by Rorty's thinking. American novelist David Foster Wallace titled a short story in his collection Oblivion: Stories "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature", and critics have accredited Rorty's influence to some of Wallace's writings on Irony.[22]

Susan Haack has been a fierce critic of Rorty's neopragmatism. Haack criticises Rorty's claim to be a pragmatist at all and wrote a short play called We Pragmatists, where Rorty and Charles Sanders Peirce have a fictional conversation using only accurate quotes from their own writing. For Haack, the only link between Rorty's neopragmatism and the pragmatism of Peirce is the name. Haack believes Rorty's neopragmatism is both anti-philosophical and anti-intellectual, and exposes people further to rhetorical manipulation.[9][23][24]

Although Rorty was an avowed liberal, his political and moral philosophies have been attacked by commentators from the Left, some of whom believe them to be insufficient frameworks for social justice.[25] Rorty was also criticized by others for his rejection of the idea that science can depict the world.[26] One criticism, especially of Contingency, irony, and solidarity is that Rorty's philosophical 'hero', the ironist, is an elitist figure.[27] Rorty claims that the majority of people would be "commonsensically nominalist and historicist" but not ironist. These people would combine an ongoing attention to the particular as opposed to the transcendent (nominalism), with an awareness of their place in a continuum of contingent lived experience alongside other individuals (historicist), without necessarily having continual doubts about the resulting worldview as the ironist does. An ironist is someone who: 1) "has radical and continuing doubts about their final vocabulary"; 2) "realizes that argument phrased in their vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts"; and 3) "does not think their vocabulary is closer to reality than others" (all 73, Contingency, irony, and solidarity). On the other hand, the Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo alongside the Spanish philosopher Santiago Zabala in their 2011 book Hermeneutic Communism: from Heidegger to Marx affirm that "together with Richard Rorty we also consider it a flaw that 'the main thing contemporary academic Marxists inherit from Marx and Engels is the conviction that the quest for the cooperative commonwealth should be scientific rather than utopian, knowing rather than romantic.' As we will show hermeneutics contains all the utopian and romantic features that Rorty refers to because, contrary to the knowledge of science, it does not claim modern universality but rather postmodern particularism."[28]

Rorty often draws on a broad range of other philosophers to support his views, and his interpretation of their works has been contested.[29] Since Rorty is working from a tradition of re-interpretation, he remains uninterested in 'accurately' portraying other thinkers, but rather in utilizing their work in the same way a literary critic might use a novel. His essay "The Historiography of Philosophy: Four Genres" is a thorough description of how he treats the greats in the history of philosophy. In Contingency, irony, and solidarity, Rorty attempts to disarm those who criticize his writings by arguing that their philosophical criticisms are made using axioms that are explicitly rejected within Rorty's own philosophy.[30] For instance, Rorty defines allegations of irrationality as affirmations of vernacular "otherness", and so—Rorty claims—accusations of irrationality can be expected during any argument and must simply be brushed aside.[31]

Select bibliography[edit]

As author
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979.
  • Consequences of Pragmatism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982. ISBN 978-0816610631
  • Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0521353816
  • Philosophical Papers vols. I–IV:
    • Objectivity, Relativism and Truth: Philosophical Papers I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN 978-0521353694
    • Essays on Heidegger and Others: Philosophical Papers II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
    • Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
    • Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Philosophical Papers IV. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Mind, Language, and Metaphilosophy: Early Philosophical Papers Eds. S. Leach and J. Tartaglia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. ISBN 978-1107612297.
  • Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth Century America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0674003118
  • Philosophy and Social Hope. New York: Penguin, 2000.
  • Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2002.
  • The Future of Religion with Gianni Vattimo Ed. Santiago Zabala. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0231134941
  • An Ethics for Today: Finding Common Ground Between Philosophy and Religion. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0231150569
As editor
  • The Linguistic Turn, Essays in Philosophical Method, (1967), ed. by Richard M. Rorty, University of Chicago press, 1992, ISBN 978-0226725697 (an introduction and two retrospective essays)
  • Philosophy in History. ed. by R. Rorty, J. B. Schneewind and Quentin Skinner, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985 (an essay by R. Rorty, "Historiography of philosophy", pp. 29–76)

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Ulf Schulenberg, Romanticism and Pragmatism: Richard Rorty and the Idea of a Poeticized Culture, 2015
  • Marianne Janack, What We Mean By Experience, 2012
  • Marianne Janack, editor, Feminist Interpretations of Richard Rorty, 2010
  • James Tartaglia, Richard Rorty: Critical Assessments, 4 vols., 2009
  • Neil Gross, Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher, 2008
  • Rorty's Politics of Redescription / Gideon Calder, 2007
  • Rorty and the Mirror of Nature / James Tartaglia, 2007
  • Richard Rorty: Pragmatism and Political Liberalism / Michael Bacon, 2007
  • Richard Rorty: politics and vision / Christopher Voparil, 2006
  • Richard Rorty: his philosophy under discussion / Andreas Vieth, 2005
  • Richard Rorty / Charles B Guignon., 2003
  • Rorty / Gideon Calder, 2003
  • Richard Rorty's American faith / Taub, Gad Shmuel, 2003
  • The ethical ironist: Kierkegaard, Rorty, and the educational quest / Rohrer, Patricia Jean, 2003
  • Doing philosophy as a way to individuation: Reading Rorty and Cavell / Kwak, Duck-Joo, 2003
  • Richard Rorty / Alan R Malachowski, 2002
  • Richard Rorty: critical dialogues / Matthew Festenstein, 2001
  • Richard Rorty: education, philosophy, and politics / Michael Peters, 2001
  • Rorty and his critics / Robert Brandom, 2000
  • On Rorty / Richard Rumana, 2000
  • Philosophy and freedom : Derrida, Rorty, Habermas, Foucault / John McCumber, 2000
  • A pragmatist's progress?: Richard Rorty and American intellectual history / John Pettegrew, 2000
  • Problems of the modern self: Reflections on Rorty, Taylor, Nietzsche, and Foucault / Dudrick, David Francis, 2000
  • The last conceptual revolution: a critique of Richard Rorty's political philosophy / Eric Gander, 1999
  • Richard Rorty's politics: liberalism at the end of the American century / Markar Melkonian, 1999
  • The work of friendship : Rorty, his critics, and the project of solidarity / Dianne Rothleder, 1999
  • For the love of perfection : Richard Rorty and liberal education / René Vincente Arcilla, 1995
  • Rorty & pragmatism: the philosopher responds to his critics / Herman J Saatkamp, 1995
  • Richard Rorty : prophet and poet of the new pragmatism / David L Hall, 1994
  • Reading Rorty: critical responses to Philosophy and the mirror of nature (and beyond) / Alan R Malachowski, 1990
  • Rorty's humanistic pragmatism: philosophy democratized / Konstantin Kolenda, 1990
  • Arriaga M / Richard Rorty's anti-foundationalism and traditional philosophy's claim of social relevance.

External links[edit]

  • Richard Rorty at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
  • UCIspace @ the Libraries digital collection: Richard Rorty born digital files, 1988–2003
  • Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
  • Rorty audio, "Dewey and Posner on Pragmatism and Moral Progress," University of Chicago Law School, April 14, 2006.
  • PhilWeb's entry for Richard Rorty An exhaustive compilation of on-line links and off-line sources.
  • Rorty essays published in Dissent (magazine)
  • Rorty audio, informative interview by Prof. Robert P. Harrison, Nov. 22, 2005.
  • Rorty interview, "Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies," conducted by Derek Nystrom & Kent Puckett, Prickly Paradigm Press, Sept. 1998.
  • Rorty interview, The Atlantic Monthly, April 23, 1998.
  • Rorty Memorial Lecture by Jürgen Habermas, Stanford University, Nov. 2, 2007.
  • Rorty eulogized by Richard Posner, Brian Eno, Mark Edmundson, Jürgen Habermas, Daniel Dennett, Stanley Fish, David Bromwich, Simon Blackburn, Morris Dickstein & others, Slate Magazine, June 18, 2007.
  • "The Inspiring Power of the Shy Thinker: Richard Rorty" by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, TELOS, June 13, 2007.
  • Richard Rorty at Princeton: Personal Recollections by Raymond Geuss in Arion, Winter 2008
  • Rereading Rorty by Albrecht Wellmer in Krisis, 2008.
  1. ^
  2. ^"Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher". 1931-10-04. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  3. ^Bernstein, Adam (11 June 2007). "Richard Rorty, 75; Leading U.S. Pragmatist Philosopher". Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  4. ^ abcBruce Kuklick. "Neil Gross, Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher." Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 47.1 (2011):36.
  5. ^ ab"Jürgen Habermas: Philosopher, poet and friend (12/06/2007)". signandsight. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  6. ^Marchetti, Giancarlo. "Interview with Richard Rorty." Philosophy Now Volume 43, Oct.–Nov. 2003.
  7. ^Ryerson, James. "The Quest for Uncertainty Richard Rorty's Pragmatic Pilgrimage." Linguafranca Volume 10, Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001. Web. 21 June 2011. <>
  8. ^ ab"Richard Rorty, distinguished public intellectual and controversial philosopher, dead at 75" (Stanford's announcement), June 10, 2007
  9. ^ abcStanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  10. ^ abc"Richard Rorty, Philosopher, Dies at 75" (NY Times Obituary), June 11, 2007
  11. ^Ryerson, James. "Essay: Thinking Cheerfully."The New York Times Book Review. July 22, 2007: p. 27.
  12. ^Rorty, Richard (November 2007). "The Fire of Life". Poetry magazine. 
  13. ^"Richard Rorty," (short obituary), June 9, 2007.
  14. ^Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers, Volume 1 (1990), p. 179
  15. ^Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers, Volume 1 (1990), p. 196
  16. ^See Barreto, José-Manuel. "Rorty and Human Rights: Contingency, Emotions and How to Defend Human Rights Telling Stories." Utrecht Law Review, Volume 7 Issue 2 April 2011
  17. ^(Last sentence of the introduction)
  18. ^ Rorty and His Critics (Philosophers and their Critics): Robert B. Brandom: Books
  19. ^Scruton, Roger (2007-06-12). "Richard Rorty's legacy". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  20. ^"System of Rorty". 
  21. ^In the preface to Mind and World (pp. ix–x) McDowell states that "it will be obvious that Rorty's work is [...] central for the way I define my stance here".
  22. ^Howard, Jennifer. "The Afterlife of David Foster Wallace". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  23. ^Susan Haack (November 1997). "Vulgar Rortyism". New Criterion. 
  24. ^Haack, Susan (1993). "Ch. 9: Vulgar Pragmatism: an Unedifying Prospect". Evidence and Inquiry. Oxford UK: Blackwell. ISBN 0631118519. 
  25. ^"Objectivity and Action: Wal-Mart and the Legacy of Marx and Nietzsche", A discussion of Terry Eagleton's attacks on Rorty's philosophy as insufficient in the fight against corporations such as Wal-Mart
  26. ^"The failure to recognize science's particular powers to depict reality, Daniel Dennett wrote, shows 'flatfooted ignorance of the proven methods of scientific truth-seeking and their power.'"[1]
  27. ^Rob Reich – The Paradoxes of Education in Rorty's Liberal Utopia
  28. ^Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala. Hermeneutic Communism: From Heidegger to Marx Columbia University Press. 2011. Pgs. 2 and 3
  29. ^Richard Rorty (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  30. ^Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.[ISBN missing], p. 44
  31. ^Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. p. 48