Tom Rockmore

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Tom Rockmore
Born March 4, 1942 (Aged 71)
New York City, New York, USA
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Main interests German idealism, Marxism, aesthetics

Tom Rockmore (born 1942) is an American philosopher. Although he denies the usual distinction between philosophy and the history of philosophy, he has strong interests throughout the history of philosophy and defends a constructivist view of epistemology. The philosophers whom he has studied extensively are Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Marx, Lukács, and Heidegger. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1974 and his Habilitation à diriger des recherches from the Université de Poitiers in 1994. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Duquesne University, as well as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Peking University.


Rockmore is a strong critic of representationalism in epistemology.[1] This is the view that the mind has access to external reality via copies of that reality that the mind receives from the object.[2] It assumes a metaphysical realism, in which there is an external reality independent of the knower. Instead Rockmore argues for a constructivist view on the basis of which the mind, on the basis of its experience, forms concepts and ideas that become the basis of its knowledge. This shift has significant consequences for phenomenology, aesthetics, and political philosophy. It further questions the transcendental claims particularly of early phenomenology.

As a historian of philosophy, Rockmore shows how German Idealism influenced the development of both continental and analytic philosophy. He claims that Marx, in particular, was influenced by the thought of Kant, Schelling, Fichte, and Hegel. He argues that Marx’s thought, however, was significantly misunderstood by Engels. Engels’ subsequent influence leads to the development of versions of Marxism that were inconsistent with much in Marx’s original thinking.

Rockmore’s political philosophy focuses on the effect of representational thinking on certain ideological strains that cause problematic political decisions in both Western and non Western states.

Rockmore has also recently published on aesthetics.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • (2011) Before and After 9/11: A Philosophical Examination of Globalization, Terror, and History
  • (2010) Kant and Phenomenology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • (2006) Kant and Idealism. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2006
  • (2006) In Kant’s Wake
  • (2005) Hegel, Idealism and Analytic Philosophy
  • (2005) On Constructivist Epistemology
  • (2004) On Foundationalism: A Strategy for Metaphysical Realism
  • (2002) Marx After Marxism. London: Wiley Blackwell
  • (1997) Cognition: An Introduction to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit
  • (1996) On Hegel's Epistemology and Contemporary Philosophy
  • (1995) Heidegger and French Philosophy: Humanism, Anti-Humanism and Being
  • (1993) Before and After Hegel: A Historical Introduction
  • (1992) On Heidegger's Nazism and Philosophy
  • (1992) Irrationalism. Lukács and the Marxist View of Reason
  • (1989) Habermas on Historical Materialism
  • (1986) Hegel's Circular Epistemology
  • (1980) Fichte, Marx and the German Philosophical Tradition

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rockmore, Tom. On Constructivist Epistemology. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1995.
  2. ^ Weber, Eric Thomas. Rawls, Dewey and Constructivism: On the Epistemology of Justice. Continuum, 2010, p.1..

External links[edit]