Making it Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment

Making it Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment

by Robert B. Brandom
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674543300

ISBN-13: 9780674543300

Pub. Date: 11/28/1998

Publisher: Harvard University Press

What would something unlike us--a chimpanzee, say, or a computer--have to be able to do to qualify as a possible knower, like us? To answer this question at the very heart of our sense of ourselves, philosophers have long focused on intentionality and have looked to language as a key to this condition. Making It Explicit is an investigation into the nature

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Overview

What would something unlike us--a chimpanzee, say, or a computer--have to be able to do to qualify as a possible knower, like us? To answer this question at the very heart of our sense of ourselves, philosophers have long focused on intentionality and have looked to language as a key to this condition. Making It Explicit is an investigation into the nature of language--the social practices that distinguish us as rational, logical creatures--that revises the very terms of this inquiry. Where accounts of the relation between language and mind have traditionally rested on the concept of representation, this book sets out an alternate approach based on inference, and on a conception of certain kinds of implicit assessment that become explicit in language. Making It Explicit is the first attempt to work out in detail a theory that renders linguistic meaning in terms of use--in short, to explain how semantic content can be conferred on expressions and attitudes that are suitably caught up in social practices.

At the center of this enterprise is a notion of discursive commitment. Being able to talk--and so in the fullest sense being able to think--is a matter of mastering the practices that govern such commitments, being able to keep track of one's own commitments and those of others. Assessing the pragmatic significance of speech acts is a matter of explaining the explicit in terms of the implicit. As he traces the inferential structure of the social practices within which things can be made conceptually explicit, the author defines the distinctively expressive role of logical vocabulary. This expressive account of language, mind, and logic is, finally, an account of who we are.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674543300
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
11/28/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
768
Sales rank:
413,497
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.54(d)

Table of Contents

Preface

PART ONE

Toward a Normative Pragmatics

Introduction

From Intentional State to Normative Status

From Norms Explicit in Rules to Norms Implicit in Practices

From Normative Status to Normative Attitude

From Assessment to the Social Institution of Norms

From Intentional Interpretation to Original Intentionality

Appendix: Wittgenstein's Use of Regel

Toward an Inferential Semantics

Content and Representation

The Priority of the Propositional

Conceptual Classification and Inference

Material Inference, Conceptual Content, and Expression

Circumstances and Consequences of Application

Conclusion

Linguistic Practice and Discursive Commitment

Intentional States and Linguistic Practices

Deontic Status and Deontic Attitudes

Asserting and Inferring

Scorekeeping: Pragmatic Significance and Semantic Content

Perception and Action: The Conferral of Empirical and Practical Conceptual Content

Assertions as Knowledge Claims

Reliability

Observation Reports and Noninferential Authority

Rational Agency

Practical Reasoning: Inferences from Doxastic to Practical Commitments

Intentions

PART TWO

The Expressive Role of Traditional Semantic Vocabulary: 'True' and 'Refers'

From Inference to Truth, Reference, and Representation

Truth in Classical Pragmatism

From Pragmatism to Prosentences

Reference and Anaphorically Indirect Descriptions

The Function of Traditional Semantic Vocabulary Is Expressive, Not Explanatory

Substitution: What Are Singular Terms, and Why Are There Any?

Multivalued Logic and Material Inference

Substitution, Sentential Embedding, and Semantic Roles

Subsentential Expressions

What Are Singular Terms?

Why Are There Singular Terms?

Objections and Replies

Conclusion

Appendix: From Substitutional Derivation of Categories to Functional Derivation of Categories

Appendix: Sentence Use Conferring the Status of Singular Terms on Subsentential Expressions—An Application

Anaphora: The Structure of Token Repeatables

Frege's Grundlagen Account of Picking Out Objects

Definite Descriptions and Existential Commitments

Substitution, Token Recurrence, and Anaphora

Deixis and Anaphora

Interpersonal Anaphora and Communication

Appendix: Other Kinds of Anaphora—Paychecks, Donkeys, and Quantificational Antecedents

Ascribing Propositional Attitudes: The Social Route from Reasoning to Representing

Representation and De Re Ascription of Propositionally Contentful Commitments

Interpretation, Communication, and De Re Ascriptions

De Re Ascriptions and the Intentional Explanation of Action

From Implicit Attribution to Explicit Ascription

Epistemically Strong De Re Attitudes: Indexicals, Quasi-Indexicals, and Proper Names

The Social-Perspectival Character of Conceptual Contents and the Objectivity of Conceptual Norms

Appendix: The Construction and Recursive Interpretation of Iterated Ascriptions That Mix De Dicto and De Re

Content Specifications

Conclusion

Two Concepts of Concepts

Norms and Practices

We Have Met the Norms, and They Are Ours

Abbreviations

Notes

Index

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