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.
Pippin is a notable commentator on German Idealism, mostly Kant and Hegel. and the philosophical tradition that follows.
The paper resists the idea that Hegel should be seen as completely departing from the experienced based aspects of Kant’s Philosophy. Pippin argues that Hegel does not move into a very subjectivist view, detached from experience of the external world, or an absolute metaphysical structure separate from experience. Hegel has suffered from those kinds of interpretations. Pippin refers to philosophers who have situated Hegel, in an account of concepts, as both derived from experience, but also exceeding the content of one moment of experience, He refers to the Pittsburgh philosopher John McDowell and his predecessor in Puttsburgh Hegelianism, Wilfrid Sellars. Pippin also situates the interpretation if Hegel with regard to discussion of names in Gareth Evans and the discussion of truth and knowledge in Donald Davidson.
This rehabilitation if Hegel as a philosopher who is concerned with experience, and can be situated in ‘Analytic’ discussions of language, truth and knowledge, is well established now. Another Pittsburgh Hegelian has help establish this way of thinking about Hegel, Robert Brandom. However, even those who already have some familiarity with the material will still find Pippin’s paper to be very worth reading as a very economical statement of the issues, and this way of taking Hegel. Anyone who thinks of Hegel as anti-objective or anti-experience philosopher should certainly read this to get an excellent introduction to another way of thinking about Hegel.