Inferentialism and communicative action: Robust conceptions of intersubjectivity

Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):121 - 131 (2002)
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Abstract

Brandom's inferentialism provides a semantics that complements Habermas's theory of communicative action without sacrificing its intersubjectivist insights. Pace Habermas, Brandom's conception of communication is robustly intersubjective. At the pragmatic level, interlocutors inherit each other's commitments and entitlements and must justify their claims when challenged; at the semantic level, anaphora show how the web of meaning is knit together, connecting expressions of the language as well as interlocutors. Finally, Habermas's thesis that there are three irreducible types of validity claim is preserved by linking claims to truth and rightness with mutually irreducible patterns of inference.

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Barbara Fultner
Denison University

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