A S s E rt I O n, denial, commitment, entitlement, and incompatibility (and some consequence)

In this short paper, I compare and contrast the kind of symmetric treatment of negation favoured in different ways by Huw Price (in “Why ‘Not’?”) and by me (in “Multiple Conclusions”) with Robert Brandom’s analysis of scorekeeping in terms of commitment, entitlement and incompatibility. Both kinds of account are what Brandom calls a normative pragmatics. They are both semantic anti-realist accounts of meaning in the significance of vocabulary is explained in terms of our rule-governed (normative) practice (pragmatics). These accounts differ from intuitionist semantic anti-realism by providing a way to distinguish the inferential significance of “A” and “A is warranted.” Although proof plays a central role, in neither accont is verification the primary bearer of meaning. Our accounts make these distinctions in terms of a subtle analysis of our practices. On the one hand according to Price and me, we assert as well as deny; on the other, Brandom distingushes downstream commitments from upstream entitlements and the notion of incompatibility definable in terms of these. In this paper I will examine a number connections between these different approaches, and end with a discussion of the kind of account of proof that might emerge from these considerations.
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