Between primitivism and naturalism: Brandom’s theory of meaning

Acta Analytica 21 (3):3-22 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Many philosophers accept that a naturalistic reduction of meaning is in principle impossible, since behavioural regularities or dispositions are consistent with any number of semantic descriptions. One response is to view meaning as primitive. In this paper, I explore Brandom’s alternative, which is to specify behaviour in non-semantic but normative terms. Against Brandom, I argue that a norm specified in non-semantic terms might correspond to any number of semantic norms. Thus, his theory of meaning suffers from the very same kind of problem as its naturalistic competitors. It is not sufficient, I contend, merely that some norms be introduced into one’s account but that they be specified using intensional, semantic notions on a par with that of meaning. In closing, I counter Brandom’s reasons for resisting such a position, the most significant of which is that it leaves philosophers with nothing constructive to say about meaning.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,168

External links

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

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Communication and content: Circumstances and consequences of the Habermas-Brandom debate.Kevin Scharp - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (1):43 – 61.
Theories of Rationality.Nenad Smokrović - 2002 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):247-247.
Theories of Meaning and Truth Conditions.Kathrin Glüer - 2012 - In Manuel García-Carpintero & Max Kölbel (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Continuum International.
Robert Brandom on Communication, Reference, and Objectivity.Bernd Prien - 2010 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):433-458.
Internalized meaning factualism.Jakob Hohwy - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (3):325-336..
Brandom on the normativity of meaning.Lionel Shapiro - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):141-60.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
110 (#161,331)

6 months
15 (#169,460)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Daniel Whiting
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

Rule-Following and Intentionality.Alexander Miller & Olivia Sultanescu - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Meaning Holism and De Re Ascription.Daniel Whiting - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):575-599.
On epistemic conceptions of meaning: Use, meaning and normativity.Daniel Whiting - 2008 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):416-434.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars (ed.) - 1963 - New York,: Humanities Press.
Articulating reasons: an introduction to inferentialism.Robert Brandom - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

View all 47 references / Add more references