Brandom and Davidsom: What Do We Need to Account for Thinking and Agency?

Philosophica 75 (2005)
There are various approaches to truth and knowledge (in fact, cataloguing them has become something of a philosophical industry of its own); and in many cases, their explanations are taken to underlie the explanation of other crucial concepts, like language, reason etc. Especially in recent years, some of the approaches have come to be based on reducing semantics to pragmatics. An outstanding example of such a pragmatist approach is that of Bob Brandom, who bases the explication of both truth and knowledge on his consideration of normative pragmatics. A less explicitly pragmatist approach to truth and knowledge was offered by Donald Davidson (who is surely not a pragmatist in the narrow sense of the word, but may be thought about as one in the wider sense proposed by Brandom, 2002, in which pragmatism means starting from the practical rather than the theoretical). In this paper I would like to point out that the discrepancy between these two approaches may be smaller than it would prima facie seem. To show this, I first turn my attention briefly to the general problem of theoretically accounting for human minds.
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John MacFarlane (2010). Pragmatism and Inferentialism. In Bernhard Weiss & Jeremy Wanderer (eds.), Reading Brandom: On Making It Explici. Routledge 81--95.
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