Where Rationality Is

In Barbara Merker (ed.), Verstehen: Nach Heidegger und Brandom. Meiner (2009)
The paper contrasts Robert Brandom’s account of rationality with that of Daniel Dennett. It argues that neither of them is tenable, and sketches an alternative outlook that avoids the problems. In spite of their fundamental differences, both Brandom and Dennett employ a robust, i.e. explanatory and predictive notion of rationality, and for different reasons they both fail to offer a plausible theory supporting it. The lesson offered here is that rationality should not be treated alongside other norms prescribing behaviour, as it cannot be accounted for in the same terms. Instead of ascribing rationality a robust role in a philosophical understanding of behaviour, it should be assigned a more modest one: its function should be located not in the context of explaining and predicting behaviour, but in the context of narratives folk psychological interpretation offers.
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