Auspicious Grafts

Ideas of different philosophers — or interpretations of them — cannot just be arbitrarily combined, but they may turn out to be compatible if there is some common basis, or if they have a different scope of application. My semantic Aristotle has a substantial common basis with Brandom’s Kant and Hegel, which is not too surprising, since my reading of Aristotle has among other things benefited from thinking about Brandom’s work, and at a deeper historical level, independent of Brandom, there is a common basis in guiding notions of reason and rational ethics.

I’ve recently commented on connections between Aristotelian and Hegelian dialectic, and previously on Aristotle’s partial anticipation (in his discussion of friendship) of Hegel’s key notion of mutual recognition. It also seems to me that in a very broad way, something like the idea of Kantian synthesis was implicit in Aristotle, so a fuller account can be treated as a welcome addition. Related to this, Kant’s notion of unity of apperception — particularly with Brandom’s way of reading it as an ethical goal — sounds very good from an Aristotelian point of view concerned with ends. (See also Aristotle and Kant; Hegelian Genealogy; Retrospective Interpretation.)