Robert Brandom
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Series: Philosophy Now
Author(s): Jeremy Wanderer  
ISBN: 184465088X
ISBN-13: 9781844650880
Publication Date: 30/06/2008
Pages: 256 (216 x 138mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
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Robert Brandom is one of the most significant philosophers writing today, yet paradoxically philosophers have found it difficult to get to grips with the details and implications of his work. This book aims to facilitate critical engagement with Brandom’s ideas by providing an accessible overview of Brandom’s project and the context for an initial assessment.

Jeremy Wanderer’s examination focuses on Brandom’s inferentialist conception of rationality, and the core part of this conception that aims to specify the structure that a set of performances within a social practice must have for the participants to count as sapient beings by virtue of their participation in the practice, and for the performances within the practice to have objective semantic content by virtue of their featuring within the practice. Wanderer’s exploration of these two goals forms the structure to the book. Part I provides a structural model of linguistic practice and considers various groups of potential participants in terms of their relationships to this practice. Part II examines the meaning of the performances that are caught up in this gameplaying practice. Brandom’s approach to semantics is outlined and the challenge such an approach has in allowing for a representational dimension of language and thought is explored.

Wanderer offers readers a valuable framework for understanding the Brandomian system and helps situate Brandom’s systematic theorizing within contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. The book will be a sought after aid to reading Brandom for advanced students and philosophers engaging with his challenging body of work.


"The danger with a book as good as Jeremy Wanderer's introduction to the thought of Robert Brandom is that people will read it instead of reading the original. It is fortunate, then, that the book is extremely good; clear and well-referenced with regard to straight points of exposition and explicit when offering reconstruction, amendment or interpretation of Brandom's position. An important resource for students and scholars alike." – Philosophical Papers

"A very good book. It is an intelligent, interesting, economical, unpretentious, and accurate exposition of the main features of Robert Brandom's philosophy of language. Wanderer gets Brandom to speak for himself, without using the history of philosophy as a mouthpiece, and the voice we hear is much clearer." – Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Wanderer's book provides us with a very insightful overview of Brandom's work, one that helps not only to clarify his ideas, but also to continue a critical discussion of the merits of Brandom's significant contributions to our understanding of what it is to be, as Aristotle described us, animals with language." – International Journal of Philosophical Studies

"A genuinely edifying introduction to Brandom's thinking is now available . . . displays a detailed knowledge and understanding of Brandom's demanding work and admirably succeeds in its aim of introducing Brandom's project." – Philosophy in Review

"A very good guide, at once thoughtfully critical and generally sympathetic. It introduces in a direct and clear way many themes in Brandom, but does so according to its own plan, thereby shedding light on aspects of Brandom’s thought that can be hard to discern in the original presentation." – Danielle Macbeth, Haverford College, Pennsylvania

“An excellent book. The author has an assured grasp of a very difficult, structurally complex area of philosophy and he has plenty to contribute to the debate, both by clarifying the issues and also by adding a critical dimension.” – Rowland Stout, University College Dublin

Jeremy Wanderer is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cape Town.

Part I: Sapience
1. Parrots
2. Rational beings
3. Logical beings
4. Us
Part II: Inferentialism
5. Sentential semantics
6. Subsentential semantics
7. Communication
8. Losing the world

Also available in Hardback (1844650871), priced 50.00

Click here to buy the hardback edition