A deflationist theory of intentionality? Brandom's analysis of de re specifying attitude-ascriptions

Pragmatics and Cognition 13 (1):73-90 (2005)
Abstract
The paper presents an interpretation of Brandom¿s analysis of de re specifying attitude-ascriptions. According to this interpretation, his analysis amounts to a deflationist conception of intentionality. In the first section I sketch the specific role deflationist theories of truth play within the philosophical debate on truth. Then I describe some analogies between the contemporary constellation of competing truth theories and the current confrontation of controversial theories of intentionality. The second section gives a short summary of Brandom¿s analysis of attitude-ascription, focusing on his account of the grammar of de re ascriptions of belief. The third section discusses in detail those aspects of his account from which a deflationist conception of intentionality may be derived, or which at least permit such a conception. In the proposed interpretation of Brandom¿s analysis, the vocabulary expressing the representational directedness of thought and talk does not describe a genuine property of mental states, but has an alternative descriptive function and in addition contains a performative and a meta­descriptive element
Keywords Attitude  Belief  Deflationism  Intentionality  Language  Brandom, Robert B
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