Analytic Pragmatism and Universal LX Vocabulary

Philosophia 45 (4):1-25 (2017)


In his recent John Locke Lectures – published as Between Saying and Doing – Brandom extends and refines his views on the nature of language and philosophy by developing a position that he calls Analytic Pragmatism. Although Brandom’s project bears on an extraordinarily rich array of different philosophical issues, we focus here on the contention that certain vocabularies have a privileged status within our linguistic practices, and that when adequately understood, the practices in which these vocabularies figure can help furnish us with an account of semantic intentionality. Brandom’s claim is that such vocabularies are privileged because they are a species of what he calls universal LX vocabulary –roughly, vocabulary whose mastery is implicit in any linguistic practice whatsoever. We show that, contrary to Brandom’s claim, logical vocabulary per se fails to satisfy the conditions that must be met for something to count as universal LX vocabulary. Further, we show that exactly analogous considerations undermine his claim that modal vocabulary is universal LX. If our arguments are sound, then, contrary to what Brandom maintains, intentionality cannot be explicated as a “pragmatically mediated semantic phenomenon”, at any rate not of the sort that he proposes.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,855

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

19 (#588,168)

6 months
1 (#386,031)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Richard Samuels
Ohio State University
Kevin Scharp
University of St. Andrews

References found in this work

Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1922 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
Knowledge and the Flow of Information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.
Making It Explicit.Isaac Levi & Robert B. Brandom - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):145.
General Semantics.David K. Lewis - 1970 - Synthese 22 (1-2):18--67.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Modal Bond of Analytic Pragmatism.Daniele Santoro - 2009 - Etica E Politica 11 (1):385-411.
Varieties of Analytic Pragmatism.Danielle Macbeth - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (1):27-39.
Brandom’s Demarcation of Logic.John Macfarlane - 2008 - Philosophical Topics 36 (2):55-62.
Just What is the Relation Between the Manifest and the Scientific Images?Willem A. deVries - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (1):112-128.
Making It Implicit: Brandom on Rule Following.Anandi Hattiangadi - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):419-431.
Brandom on Practical Reason.Heath White - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):566–572.
Attitudinal Expressivism and Logical Pragmatism.Matthew Chrisman - 2014 - In Graham Hubbs & Douglas Lind (eds.), Pragmatism, Law, and Language. pp. 117-135.