Pragmatists have traditionally been enemies of representationalism but friends of naturalism, when naturalism is understood to pertain to human subjects, in the sense of Hume and Nietzsche. In this volume Huw Price presents his distinctive version of this traditional combination, as delivered in his René Descartes Lectures at Tilburg University in 2008. Price contrasts his view with other contemporary forms of philosophical naturalism, comparing it with other pragmatist and neo-pragmatist views such as those of Robert Brandom and Simon Blackburn. Linking (...) their different 'expressivist' programmes, Price argues for a radical global expressivism that combines key elements from both. With Paul Horwich and Michael Williams, Brandom and Blackburn respond to Price in new essays. Price replies in the closing essay, emphasising links between his views and those of Wilfrid Sellars. The volume will be of great interest to advanced students of philosophy of language and metaphysics. (shrink)
Extending the project of analysis -- Elaborating abilities : the expressive role of logic -- Artificial intelligence and analytic pragmatism -- Modality and normativity : from Hume and Quine to Kant and Sellars -- Incompatibility, modal semantics, and intrinsic logic -- Intentionality as a pragmatically mediated semantic relation -- Afterword : philosophical analysis and analytic philosophy.
Robert Brandom's latest book, the product of his John Locke lectures in Oxford in 2006, is a return to the philosophy of language and is easily read as a continuation and development of the views defended in Making it Explicit. The text of the lectures is presented much as they were delivered, but it contains an ‘Afterword’ of more than 30 pages which responds to questions raised when he gave the lectures, and also when they were subsequently delivered in Prague (...) the following year. The published text also contains relatively technical appendices to two of the lectures.The individual lectures engage with some important and difficult issues, often ones that were explored in detail in the earlier book. However, these discussions are located within a broader meta-philosophical context, and it says something about the abstract and difficult character of these views that they provide the main subject matter of the Afterword. This framework affects how we should understand the relations between this book and Making It Explicit too. Although most of the detailed discussions happily belong within the general project of the earlier book, they are offered as illustrations of a framework that is independent of this project. Indeed, Brandom suggests that defenders of the semantic views of David Lewis, for example, could embrace his main message as well as those who favour Brandom's own form of pragmatism.Neo-pragmatist philosophers such as Brandom's teacher, Richard Rorty, often present themselves as rejecting the analytic tradition in philosophy. When Brandom describes the ‘pragmatist challenge’ to the ‘classical project of analysis’, he appeals to the criticisms found in the work of Wittgenstein and Sellars that are often appealed to by the critics of the analytic tradition. The message of the new book is that the views he has built on this …. (shrink)
Classical American pragmatism: the pragmatist -- Enlightenment-and its problematic semantics -- Analyzing pragmatism: pragmatics and pragmatisms -- A Kantian rationalist pragmatism: pragmatism -- Inferentialism, and modality in Sellars's arguments against -- Empiricism -- Linguistic pragmatism and pragmatism about norms: an arc of -- Thought from Rorty's eliminative materialism to his pragmatism -- Vocabularies of pragmatism: synthesizing naturalism and -- Historicism -- Towards an analytic pragmatism: meaning-use analysis -- Pragmatism, expressivism, and anti-representationalism: -- Local and global possibilities.
Essays, written by thirteen of the most distinguished living philosophers, together with Rorty's substantial replies to each, and other new material by him, offer by far the most thorough and thoughtful discussion of the work of the thinker who has been called "the most interesting philosopher alive.".
Some Pragmatist Themes in Hegel’s Idealism:Negotiation and Administration in Hegel’sAccount of the Structure and Content ofConceptual NormsRobert B. BrandomThis paper could equally well have been titled ‘Some Idealist Themes in Hegel’sPragmatism’. Both idealism and pragmatism are capacious concepts, encompassingmany distinguishable theses. I will focus on one pragmatist thesis and one ideal-ist thesis (though we will come within sight of some others). The pragmatistthesis (what I will call ‘the semantic pragmatist thesis’) is that the use of conceptsdetermines their content, that is, (...) that concepts can have no content apart from thatconferred on them by their use. The idealist thesis is that the structure and unityof the concept is the same as the structure and unity of the self. The semantic prag-matist thesis is a commonplace of our Wittgensteinean philosophical world. Theidealist thesis is, to say the least, not. I don’t believe there is any serious contem-porary semantic thinker who is pursuing the thought that concepts might best beunderstood by modelling them on selves. Indeed, from the point of view ofcontemporary semantics it is hard to know even what one could mean by such athought: what relatively unproblematic features of selves are supposed to illumi-nate what relatively problematic features of concepts? Why should we think thatunderstanding something about, say, personal identity would help us under-stand issues concerning the identity and individuation of concepts? From acontemporary point of view, the idealist semantic thesis is bound to appearinitially as something between unpromising and crazy.My interpretive claim here will be that the idealist thesis is Hegel’s way of makingthe pragmatist thesis workable, in the context of several other commitments andinsights. My philosophical claim here will be that we actually have a lot to learn fromthis strategy about contemporary semantic issues that we by no means see our wayto the bottom of otherwise. In the space of this essay, I cannot properly justify thefirst claim textually, nor the second argumentatively. I will confine myself of neces-sity to sketching the outlines and motivations for the complex, sophisticated, andinteresting view on the topic I find Hegel putting forward. (shrink)
It is argued that at the center of Hegel’s phenomenology of consciousness is the notion that experience is shaped by identification and sacrifice. Experience is the process of self - constitution and self -transformation of a self -conscious being that risks its own being. The transition from desire to recognition is explicated as a transition from the tripartite structure of want and fulfillment of biological desire to a socially structured recognition that is achieved only in reciprocal recognition, or reflexive recognition. (...) At the center of the Hegelian notion of selfhood is thus the realization that selves are the locus of accountatibility. To be a self, it is concluded, is to be the subject of normative statuses that refer to commitments; it means to be able to take a normative stand on things, to commit oneself and undertake responsibilities. Key Words: commitments • desire • experience • G.W.F.Hegel • identity • recognition • risk • sacrifice • self -consciousness • self - constitution. (shrink)
This paper analyzes important elements in the reception of Hegel’s philosophy in the present. In order to reach this goal we discuss how analytic philosophy receives Hegel’s philosophy. For that purpose, we reconstruct the reception of analytic philosophy in the face of Hegel, especially from those authors who were central in this movement of reception and distance of his philosophy, namely, Bertrand Russell, Frege and Wittgenstein. Another central point of this paper is to review the book of Paul Redding, Analytic (...) Philosophy and the Return of Hegelian Thought, in comparison with the reception of Hegel, developed here by analytic philosophy. Finally, we show how a dialogue can be productive of these apparently opposing currents. (shrink)
In Division One of Being and Time Heidegger presents a novel categorization of what there is, and an original account of the project of ontology and consequently of the nature and genesis of those ontological categories. He officially recognizes two categories of Being: Zuhandensein and Vorhandensein. Vorhandene things are roughly the objective, person-independent, causally interacting subjects of natural scientific inquiry. Zuhandene things are those which a neo-Kantian would describe as having been imbued with human values and significances. In addition to (...) these categories, there is human Being, or Dasein, in whose structure the origins of the two thing-ish categories are to be found. This essay concerns itself with three of Heidegger’s conceptual innovations: his conceiving of ontology in terms of self-adjudicating anthropological categories, as summed up in the slogan that “fundamental ontology is the regional ontology of Dasein,” his corresponding anti-traditional assertion of the ontological priority of the domain of the Zuhandensein to that of the Vorhandensein, which latter is seen as rooted in or precipitated out of that more basic world of human significances, and the non-Cartesian account of awareness and classificatory consciousness as social and practical. (shrink)
One of the most important developments in the theory of knowledge during the past two decades has been a shift in emphasis to concern with issues of the reliability of various processes of belief formation. One way of arriving at beliefs is more reliable than another in a specified set of circumstances just insofar as it is more likely, in those circumstances, to produce a true belief. Classical epistemology, taking its cue from Plato, understood knowledge as justified true belief. While (...) Gettier had raised questions about the joint sufficiency of those three conditions, it is only more recently that their individual necessity was seriously questioned. What I will call the "Founding Insight" of reliabilist epistemologies is the claim that true beliefs can, at least in some cases, amount to genuine knowledge even where the justification condition is not met (in the sense that the candidate knower is unable to produce suitable justifications), provided the beliefs resulted from the exercise of capacities that are reliable producers of true beliefs in the circumstances in which they were in fact exercised. (shrink)
In this paper I will examine one way of developing Kant's suggestion that one is free just insofar as he acts according to the dictates of norms or principles. and of his distinction between the Realm of Nature, governed by causes, and the Realm of Freedom, governed by norms and principles. Kant's transcendental machinery—the distinction between Understanding and Reason, the free noumenal self expressed somehow as a causally constrained phenomenal self, and so on—can no longer secure this distinction for us. (...) It is just too mysterious to serve as an explanation of freedom. Yet some distinction between the realm of facts and the realm of norms must be established if the notion of freedom as normative rather than causal constraint is to be redeemed. In this paper I will present a version of this distinction which was not envisioned by Kant, and show how a novel response to the dispute between naturalists and non-naturalists concerning the relation of fact to norm can be developed out of that rendering. I will then argue that the account of human freedom which results from this story needs to be supplemented in just the ways which Hegel claimed Kant's account needed to be supplemented, and will recommend an Hegelian self-expressive successor. (shrink)
A striking feature of the contemporary philosophical scene is the flourishing of a number of research programs aimed in one way or another at making intentional soup out of nonintentional bones—more carefully, specifying in a resolutely nonintentional, nonsemantic vocabulary, sufficient conditions for states of an organism or other system to qualify as contentful representations. This is a movement with a number of players, but for my purposes here, the work of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan can serve as paradigms. The enterprise (...) in which they are jointly engaged is not so much one of conceptual analysis as it has been traditionally understood as one of conceptual engineering. That is, instead of thinking about what ordinary people or even sophisticated philosophers already mean by terms such as ‘representation’, they appeal to the tools of the special sciences to describe abstractly, but in criticizable detail, how one might craft a situation in which some state arguably deserves to be characterized as ‘representationally contentful’ in various important senses. Insofar as the theories are good ones, they may shed light on how human knowers actually work. But their immediate aim is a broader one: to say what would count as doing the trick, rather than how we manage to do it. (shrink)
This is the best collection of essays on Rorty’s philosophy that has been published in the last decade. It will be of great interest not only to Rorty specialists but to anyone concerned with the difficulties contemporary analytic philosophy faces in its search for a viable self-understanding. The contributors are Barry Allen, Akeel Bilgrami, Jacques Bouveresse, Robert Brandom, James Conant, Donald Davidson, Daniel Dennett, Jürgen Habermas, John McDowell, Hilary Putnam, Bjørn Ramberg, and Michael Williams. Rorty himself has also written an (...) essay, plus individual and fairly extensive replies to each of his critics. (shrink)
In “Knowledge and the Internal” John McDowell presents a deep and interesting argument. I think everything he says is true and important. Still, there are a number of points that bear expanding on in order to be properly understood. So I want to say something about his point of departure: the idea of standings in the space of reasons. And I want to fill in further the picture at which he finally arrives, by saying how I think we ought to (...) understand knowledge as a standing in the space of reasons, once we have freed ourselves from a prevalent deformed conception of that space. McDowell’s strategy is to show that that conception of the space of reasons is inadequate—that it deserves to be called a ‘deformation’—by showing that it leaves no room for anything recognizable as knowledge. I’ll try to reconstruct that argument by showing what it looks like in the context of a crucial dimension of the space of reasons that McDowell never mentions: its essentially social articulation. The effect of this supplementation, I think, is not to turn a bad argument into a good one, but to turn what is already a good argument into one that further illuminates the phenomena with which it deals. (shrink)