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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Philosophy of language—the dominant philosophy of the American academy—is central to the rise of Donald Trump. To philosophers, this claim may seem as surprising as Trump’s presidency. Neither would have surprised John Dewey. In German Philosophy and Politics (1915), Dewey claimed that World War I was inevitable thanks to the Kantian philosophical commitments that informed German culture, such as the separation of reason from experience and an absolute sense of duty. In the 1943 edition, Dewey argued that Hitler’s rise and World War II depended on these same commitments. German philosophy was a mirror of German culture that provided a “definitely practical aid” in realizing the ends it reflected. Today, the mirror of American culture is the philosophy of the linguistic turn exemplified by the work of Robert Brandom. This chapter considers this link and argues for a recovery of a Deweyan pluralist philosophy of resistance and freedom.

Keywords: Brandom, Dewey, duty, experience, German philosophy, Hitler, Kantian, linguistic turn, pluralist, Trump

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