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Online Classroom
Skips November 25th
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14
System Requirements:

You will need a reliable Internet connection as well as a computer or device with which you can access your virtual class. We recommend you arrive to class 5-10 minutes early to ensure you're able to set up your device and connection.

Class Delivery:

Classes will be held via Zoom.

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this lecture class:

The Pittsburgh Hegelians: Hegel’s Unlikely American Renaissance

Long denigrated in English-language philosophy, Hegelianism experienced one of its great renaissances in the late 20th century—in Pittsburgh. Gathered at the city’s namesake university, the philosophers Wilfred Sellars, John McDowell, and Robert Brandom revitalized, against the philosophical grain, elements of German idealism as a mode for thinking productively about mind and knowledge. 

Taking their cue from Sellars’s paper “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind,” which attacked the “myth of the given” that Sellars claims undergirds empiricist epistemology, the Pittsburgh Hegelians (as they’re sometimes called) argued, with Hegel, for the irreducibly normative and social character of human knowledge and rationality. But, just how Hegelian were the Pittsburgh Hegelians? Is philosophical idealism, in some form or another, compatible with the procedures of natural science? How do we know things, and what does it mean to know them?

In this course, we will read from the major works of the “Pittsburgh School,” including “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind,” McDowell’s Mind and World, and Brandom’s Making it Explicit. We’ll explore their key concepts and ideas like the essential sociality and historicity of rational thought, conceptual holism, the replacement of representationalism with inferentialism, and the nature of normativity. We will ask: How do social norms structure individual thought?  What are the “manifest” and “scientific” images of the world, and how can they be integrated into a single “synoptic vision” of human rationality and cognition? Is idealism reconcilable with naturalism? How viable is Hegelianism as a mode for understanding the human mind, belief, and human rational agency?

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

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Refund Policy

Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.

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School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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