Robert Brandom's Normative Inferentialism

Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company (2017)
Giacomo Turbanti
University of Trento
The philosophy of language of Robert Brandom is based on a theoretical structure composed of three main elements: the normative analysis of linguistic practices, the inferential characterization of conceptual contents and the expressive articulation of the relations between the former two. Normative pragmatics aims to explain how linguistic practices are sufficient to confer contentful states in those who engage in them. Inferential semantics provides a theory of such pragmatic significances in terms of the inferential relations that articulate conceptual contents. Rational expressivism is the thesis that concept application is essentially a process of turning something that can only be done into something that can also be said. Such a threefold structure is the core of normative inferentialism. This book is a concise, selfcontained and comprehensive presentation of this philosophical enterprise. It guides the reader through the analysis of Brandom’s imposing theoretical apparatus, the discovery of the roots of his approach in American pragmatism and German idealism, till the exploration of some of its most interesting and recent outcomes in pragmatics and semantics. It is a valuable resource for both those who approach Brandom’s work for the first time and those who are interested in the potential of normative inferentialism.
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