Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism

Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (2000)
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Abstract

Robert B. Brandom is one of the most original philosophers of our day, whose book Making It Explicit covered and extended a vast range of topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language--the very core of analytic philosophy. This new work provides an approachable introduction to the complex system that Making It Explicit mapped out. A tour of the earlier book's large ideas and relevant details, Articulating Reasons offers an easy entry into two of the main themes of Brandom's work: the idea that the semantic content of a sentence is determined by the norms governing inferences to and from it, and the idea that the distinctive function of logical vocabulary is to let us make our tacit inferential commitments explicit. Brandom's work, making the move from representationalism to inferentialism, constitutes a near-Copernican shift in the philosophy of language--and the most important single development in the field in recent decades. Articulating Reasons puts this accomplishment within reach of nonphilosophers who want to understand the state of the foundations of semantics. Table of Contents: Introduction 1. Semantic Inferentialism and Logical Expressivism 2. Action, Norms, and Practical Reasoning 3. Insights and Blindspots of Reliabilism 4. What Are Singular Terms, and Why Are There Any? 5. A Social Route from Reasoning to Representing 6. Objectivity and the Normative Fine Structure of Rationality Notes Index Displaying a sovereign command of the intricate discussion in the analytic philosophy of language, Brandom manages successfully to carry out a program within the philosophy of language that has already been sketched by others, without losing sight of the vision inspiring the enterprise in the important details of his investigation ' Using the tools of a complex theory of language, Brandom succeeds in describing convincingly the practices in which the reason and autonomy of subjects capable of speech and action are expressed. --J'rgen Habermas.

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Robert Brandom
University of Pittsburgh

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