Robert Brandom: a few links


1. Brandom’s Locke Lectures 2006, ‘Between Saying and Doing: Towards an Analytic Pragmatism’ (audio [currently unavailable] ¦ text)

2. Brandom’s Woodbridge Lectures 2007, ‘Animating Ideas of Idealism’ (text)

3. Articles on Making It Explicit here (see under ‘Readings’).

4. Special issue of Pragmatics & Cognition on Brandom here (subscription required).

I look forward to reading Selbsttatigkeit’s promised reflections on the Woodbridge Lectures. For my part, I think they have some serious flaws as a reading of the idealist tradition, which is much less social-pragmatic than Brandom makes out. (Something that I think is shown by the strength of the readings given by Allen Wood, John McDowell and, one of my supervisors, Bob Stern.) Nonetheless, Brandom always does a good job of presenting a clear story and his readings of the history of philosophy are usually far more interesting for what they reveal about his own project; if only because he often frames others as so many failed attempts at articulating something resembling his system. I’ll try and comment on the Woodbridge Lectures myself when I have the time, probably focussing on the reading of Hegel he puts forward.


One thought on “Robert Brandom: a few links

  1. thanks for the plug. i posted initial comments which are somewhat boring, but i thought were necessary. i’m happy you intend to focus on Hegel, since I’m finding that Brandom’s reading of Kant is rather (too?) Hegelian. i will likely try to focus on the Kantian notion of the subject, Sellars’ work on that, and McDowell’s so far uncollected comments on the “I” or subject. my major concern so far is how a plausible notion of the subject (and object) could be advanced since Brandom intends to ignore contributions from receptivity and sensibility. For instance, this part of Lecture One is very frustrating:

    “[Kant] thinks that this metaconceptual transformation has profound consequences for what it is to be semantically in touch with—to be able to represent—objects so conceived. Those considerations are interwoven with a line of thought about sensibility and receptivity and neither are in any obvious way necessarily connected to the story about representational purport that I have told here. That there is nonetheless a deep connection, indeed a necessary harmony, between them is what the transcendental deduction aims to explain and to show.

    But the fact that one of Kant’s central preoccupations is synthesizing these two thoughts about content—one, as Kant seems to have thought of it, having to do with the form of the metaconcept conceptual content, and the other having to do with its content—does not at all mean that it is not possible to dissect from the results of his synthesis one of the constellations of commitments he is concerned to integrate into a larger whole. There is an internal coherence to the line of thought about concepts (judging, hence apperception and understanding) that I have been laying out.”

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