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Prof. Robert Brandom holds the Spinoza Chair at the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities during the second term of the academic year 2020-2021. Prof. Brandom will be delivering the Spinoza Lectures under the title of 'Fetishism, Anti-Authoritarianism, and the Second Enlightenment: Rorty and Hegel on Representation and Reality.'

Event details of Spinoza Lecture (online): Hegel’s Recollective Account of Representation
Date 29 April 2021
Time 19:30 -21:00
Prof. Robert Brandom
Prof. Robert Brandom

Hegel anticipates the challenge to the very idea of objective reality as providing norms for thought that Rorty thought required us to enact a second Enlightenment. Unlike Rorty, Hegel presents a detailed, constructive, anti-authoritarian, non-fetishistic, social pragmatist account of the representational dimension of conceptual content. He thereby offers a concrete pragmatist alternative to Rorty’s global semantic and epistemological anti-representationalism. 

The contrast between these views raises a new, specifically pragmatist version of the “Kant oder Hegel?” question. Should pragmatists embrace the concepts of representation and its associated understanding of the reality we represent, reconstrued along Hegelian lines of recollective rationality? Should the concept of experience be rehabilitated as Hegelian Erfahrung? To do so would be to complete the circle Rorty began when he rejected what he understood as ultimately Kantian conceptions of representation and experience. Should pragmatism’s advance from Kant be understood and developed in Rorty’s way, or in Hegel’s?


This second of two Spinoza Lectures will take place online via Zoom. Click the link below to join the webinar.

About Robert Brandom

Robert Brandom is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Fellow of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, where he has taught since 1976.  He received his BA in Philosophy and Mathematics from Yale University in 1972.  His 1977 PhD from Princeton University was supervised by Richard Rorty and David K. Lewis.

Brandom is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities Award from the Mellon Foundation and the Anneliese Maier Forschungspreis from the Humboldt Stiftung. He has delivered the John Locke lectures at Oxford University, the Hempel lectures at Princeton, the Townsend and Howison lectures at Berkeley, the Aquinas lecture at Marquette, and the Brentano lectures in Vienna, among others. 

Brandom is the author of 15 books, which have been translated into many languages.  Among them are Making It Explicit (Harvard, 1994), Between Saying and Doing (Oxford, 2008), and A Spirit of Trust (Harvard, 2019). He is also the author of more than one hundred articles on a wide range of philosophical topics, most of which may be freely downloaded from his website.

The Spinoza Lectures

The Spinoza Lectures are given by high-profile thinkers of our time. They are intended for a wide audience that would like to keep abreast of current developments in philosophy.

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