Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Propositions in Making It Explicit

One of the central parts of Brandom's theory is the propositional contentfulness of assertions. Since he is attempting to give an account of meaning in terms of inference and use, he is not allowed to use semantic vocabulary to define propositions. He doesn't think they are Russellian, since he doesn't want his account to depend on the notion of reference. They aren't sets of possible worlds, since that would divorce them from use. They aren't abstract, structured entities, I don't think. That would also separate them from use. I'm not quite sure what they are, although I'm doubtful that the specific ontological status of propositions matters for the story he's telling.

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