JEffrEy J. wiLLiAms Analytic philosophy, at least to those in literary studies, seems an arid pursuit focused on technical problems of language, often conveyed in the mathematical symbols of formal logic. However, just as literary theory is quite different from common portraits of it, analytic philosophy differs from such images and has changed considerably since the days of Rudolph Carnap. Robert Brandom is an analytic philosopher, but while following in its rationalist tradition, he argues for a revisionary perspective, holding that we obtain meaning through inference rather than reference to a state of affairs. And rather than the compartmentalized arguments of much analytic philosophy, often captured in a single essay, he has aimed to construct a systematic philosophy, notably in his 741-page book, Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment (Harvard UP, 1994). Another aspect of his revisionary stance is bringing several unlikely bedfellows, such as pragmatism and Hegel, into his version of analytic philosophy. Instead of disregarding the history of philosophy, he frequently evokes "the mighty dead." Before he published Making It Explicit, Brandom gained a reputation from articles, unpublished papers, and talks as part of the "Pittsburgh School" of philosophy, which included colleagues Wilfrid Sellars,
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Dec 22, 2013
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