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In the paper I examine Rorty’s argument elaborated in Philosophy and Social Hope where he places himself within the liberal democratic tradition stemming from Mill and Dewey. Rorty argues that this tradition does not need to be revised, it only needs to be supplemented by what we have learnt from contemporary post-modern critics such as Foucault. I argue on the contrary that Rorty’s project of freeing liberal democracy from foundations – a task which he places within the private concerns of the liberal ironist – requires him to revise the tradition. The activity of the liberal ironist actually may not be confined within the limits of the private sphere and has consequences for how we think about democracy and the self.