PHIL 438: Topics in Continental Philosophy
This course introduces students to a specialized topic in some aspect of European philosophy from Kant to the present.
PHIL 438 Topics in Continental Philosophy: Brandom/Žižek
Robert Brandom and Slavoj Žižek should have a lot to say to each other. They both regard themselves as Hegelians of a certain sort. However, they filter their Hegelianism through different historical lenses: in Brandom’s case, through Frege and Sellars; in Žižek’s, through Marx and Lacan. Brandom’s Hegelianism has the form of an inferentialist semantics that is both normative and pragmatic. Žižek’s is a version of dialectical materialism that is both psychoanalytic and revolutionary in intention. Given these radical differences, it isn’t surprising that neither has commented much on the other’s work. Yet there should be much to discuss, including the nature of reason and commitment, and the grounds for accepting Hegel’s criticisms of Kant. The aim of our seminar will be to frame this conversation by juxtaposing two of the major works in which they deal with Hegel: Brandom’s Tales of the Mighty Dead: Historical Essays in the Metaphysics of Intentionality (2002) and Žižek’s Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism (2012).