The possibility of German idealism after analytic philosophy : McDowell, Brandom and beyond
In James Williams (ed.), Postanalytic and Metacontinental: Crossing Philosophical Divides. Continuum (2010)
The late Richard Rorty was no stranger to provocation, and many an analytic philosopher would surely count as extremely provocative comments he had made on Robert Brandom’s highly regarded book from 1994, Making It Explicit.1 Brandom’s book was, Rorty asserted “an attempt to usher analytic philosophy from its Kantian to its Hegelian stage.”2 The reception of Kant within analytic philosophy has surely been, at best, patchy, but if it is difficult to imagine exactly what Rorty could have had in mind by analytic philosophy’s “Kantian phase,” the idea of an immanent Hegelian one would strike many as ludicrous. Given that the beginnings of analytic philosophy are conventionally described in terms of the radical break initiated by Russell and Moore with the Hegel-inspired idealism of their teachers at Cambridge in the closing years of the 19th century, the distinctly anti-Hegelian character of analytic philosophy has been held to be central. Moreover, the increasing naturalistic tenor of recent analytic philosophy would seem hardly propitious for a revival of 19th century idealism. And yet Rorty’s description should not be dismissed as mere provocation.
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