By Shamus (aka CollegeBinary)
A nice passage from the first Critique:
There is properly speaking no polemic in the field of pure reason. Both parties beat the air, and wrestle with their own shadows, since they go beyond the limits of nature, where there is nothing that they can seize and hold with their dogmatic grasp. Fight as they may, the shadows which they cleave asunder grow together again forthwith, like heroes of Valhalla, to disport themselves anew in the bloodless contest.
Nature, in ceasing to be divine, ceases to be human. Here, indeed, is just our problem.
In the previous post, I made an attempt to clarify the foundations of Brandom’s project by investigating his explanatory strategy and the substantive commitments he adopts. In the light of this, Brandom’s account of normativity was also re-examined with the suggestion that it might be bolstered by a more robust account of autonomy that placed stronger conditions upon the attribution of normative commitments to agents. In this final post on Brandom, I will inspect the historical underpinnings to many of these earlier positions. More specifically, Brandom’s approach to the Enlightenment tradition and its denaturalising of values will be scrutinised.
Below the fold are my attempts to get a better handle on Brandom’s overall strategy. I also revisit some of the same themes with respect to autonomy outlined in the previous post on Brandom, although I haven’t quite digested all of Shawn’s helpful comments on this material yet. Shawn has some posts of his own up on Brandom’s Woodbridge Lectures over at Words and Other Things for those of you who have not already seen them.
This is just a pointer to future posts in the pipeline.
1. I’m still working on Brandom and am confronting the necessity of reading Making It Explicit from cover to cover rather than perpetually skipping around. Consequently, expect a post on some of the methodological presuppositions and explanatory structure of Brandom’s project, and a second on the reading of the Enlightenment and the disenchantment of the world outlined in the first chapter. Hopefully both of those will be up in the next week.
2. Other than Brandom, I’m still reading Bernstein’s book on Adorno, which is sustaining my initial enthusiasm on the strength of the engaging strategy it pursues in diagnosing and attempting to overcome problems in modern ethical life, but I am finding many of the details less than convincing. I might leave this one to percolate before writing on it though.
3. I’ve been thinking about the notion of form in relation to German idealism, being drawn back to the question of the Kant-Hegel relation once more. So after finishing up on Brandom, I want to write something about the role of form in Hegel’s critique of Kant, focusing on the claim that Kant is a subjective idealist rather than the claim that he ends up with an empty formalism. In doing so, I’ll comment on some of the neo-Kantian attempts to rescue Kant from this charge, saying something about why I don’t think they work. That post will be a prolegomena to another that tries to say something about the relation of the Phenomenology to the Logic, commenting in a very general way about some of Hegel’s philosophical ambitions. Hopefully, that might be of some interest to those following the posts on the Logic over at Roughtheory and Perverse Egalitarianism.
Now the tricky bit, doing it all.