Reconstrution and pragmatist metaphysics. On Brandom’s understanding of rationality


In this paper I illustrate what is reconstructive rationality, a notion that remains rather undetermined in Robert Brandom’s work. I argue that theoretical and historical thinking are instances of reconstruction and should not be identified with it. I then explore a further instance of rational reconstruction, which Brandom calls “reconstructive metaphysics”, arguing that the demarcation between metaphysical and non-metaphysical theories has to be understood as a pragmatic one. Finally, I argue that Brandom’s reconstructive metaphysics is basically a pragmatist metaphysics. Here I try to outline a pragmatist understanding of the concept of metaphysics in order to reconcile Brandom’s more or less implicit attempt at metaphysical theorizing with his devotion to a pragmatist tradition that is resistant if not hostile to the very idea of metaphysics. Hence I come back to the question of how pragmatism has contributed to the understanding of “reconstructive rationality”, and argue that the latter is a notion of rationality which is needed by Brandom’s philosophy but which cannot find a clear place in the typology of the five forms of rationality that he introduces, being more akin to the core structure of rationality rather than a specific form of it.