Saturday, June 15, 2013

continental naturalism: Sellars, Brandom, Kant, Hegel

Jon Cogburn has some interesting comments up HERE over at Newapps concerning the rise of naturalism in 21st century continental philosophy.

Jon correctly points out (in my opinion) that these influences could probably be summed up by locating the spirit of continental naturalism in German idealism, ontologically speaking.  Epistemologically speaking, the more "sciencey" moments and emphasis on the *powers* of the mathematical may even come from our readings of Kant, if not from the trust put into the power of reason and of the concept, via someone like Hegel.  I should note that what Hegel does with concepts, how he locates them *within* the world and thus within a natural register, is especially important for my own philosophical project of "speculative naturalism."  Brassier mentioned some similar thoughts concerning what Hegel does with the concept too (I am referring to his recent talk on naturalism).

Naturalism isn't often associated with continental philosophy, and that's for a number of reasons.  But neither was "realism" associated with the continental tradition.  In fact, continental philosophy - so the argument goes - was "anti-realist" since its postmodern days, which are now fading.  Likewise, I think that naturalism is a philosophical viewpoint that 21st century continental philosophy has yet to adopt.

One contemporary philosopher whose work I look forward to, especially when it comes to naturalism, is Adrian Johnston.  I've said before that while I share Brassier's and Johnston's naturalist convictions, the major disagreement between us comes down to whether theism can play any role here.  Johnston emphatically (and polemically) answers in the negative, while I have a different viewpoint.

I plan on writing something answering to his criticisms, hopefully soon.  Yes, I know.  Promises, promises.