Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism

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9780674006928: Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism
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Robert B. Brandom is one of the most original philosophers of our day, whose book Making It Explicit covered and extended a vast range of topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language--the very core of analytic philosophy. This new work provides an approachable introduction to the complex system that Making It Explicit mapped out. A tour of the earlier book's large ideas and relevant details, Articulating Reasons offers an easy entry into two of the main themes of Brandom's work: the idea that the semantic content of a sentence is determined by the norms governing inferences to and from it, and the idea that the distinctive function of logical vocabulary is to let us make our tacit inferential commitments explicit.

Brandom's work, making the move from representationalism to inferentialism, constitutes a near-Copernican shift in the philosophy of language--and the most important single development in the field in recent decades. Articulating Reasons puts this accomplishment within reach of nonphilosophers who want to understand the state of the foundations of semantics.

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Robert B. Brandom is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Fellow of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

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"This is a book about the use and content of concepts. Its animating thought is that the meanings of linguistic expressions and the contents of intentional states, indeed, awareness itself, should be understood to begin with in terms of playing a distinctive kind of role in reasoning...The master idea that animates and orients this enterprise is that what distinguishes specifically discursive practices from the doings of non-concept-using creatures is their inferential articulation...My hope is that by slighting the similarities to animals which preoccupied Locke and Hume and highlighting the possibilities opened up by engaging in social practices of giving and asking for reasons we will get closer to an account of being human that does justice to the kinds of consciousness and self-consciousness distinctive of us as cultural, and not merely natural creatures."

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