European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):699-711 (2021)
AbstractThere is a pervasive view that inference—as opposed, notably, to a grasp of objects—is an intralinguistic process that does not draw on extralinguistic resources. The present paper aims to show that this dichotomy between inferring and grasping objects can be resisted. Specifically, I offer an alternative view: a phenomenological account according to which our most basic inferences draw on our grasp of objects. I motivate this account on the grounds that, although it is restricted to such basic inferences, it has significant implications for the general question of whether inference involves taking one's premises to support one's conclusion. The proposed account implies that basic inferences need not involve corresponding “takings,” (even though such inferences involve conceptual content), but it leaves open the possibility that non-basic inferences do involve corresponding “takings,” while relying on basic inferences. It will turn out that such a disjunctive view, according to which non-basic reasoning is somewhat parasitic on basic reasoning, manages to avoid many of the problems with which the literature on the “taking condition” deals.
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