Link: New Book from Robert Brandom

Primary version of this post, with visual content, at Barry Stocker’s Weblog.

Reason in Philosophy: Animating Ideas by Robert B. Brandom, Harvard University Press, 2009.


Hat tip to Thomas Gregersen.

A book which looks more accessible than Brandom’s Making It Explicit, the central book in his work, and distinctly long and arduous text. However, Reasons in Philosophy still looks like a rather demanding read, though Brandom claims the second part is more accessible than the first part.

Brandom continues his work of look at reason as a matter of reasons as norms and as inferences used in argument, contributing to the emergence of a community of rational beings. Brandom is putting ideas about concepts, meanings, and judgements as abstract entities into the context of pragmatic communication, persuasion and sharing of norms. In this project he has integrated Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Heidegger, Wittgenstein and philosophical Pragmatism into a comprehensive theory of concepts and reasons as what exists in a space of persuasion, belong to a social context emergent from discussion of semantics.

A new book from Brandom is an event, and this broadens the project with an account of the place of American Transcendentalism, most associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson, a key cultural figure in 19th Century America, in broad political and social concerns as well as philosophy. Movements towards broader democracy and the abolition of slavery were often put in Transcendentalist terms, and had a great influence in literature through Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others.

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