GE Topics 09-10-8 a

GE Topics 09-10-8 a - Brandom Topics from"Grammar and...

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Brandom Topics from “Grammar and Existence” and Plan for Seminar 1. In NS , WS addressed the suggestion that ‘Fa’ should be read as ‘a exemplifies F-ness’. GE addresses “categorizing contexts”: ‘F-ness is a quality’. It offers a metalinguistic expressivism about them (WS’s “syntactic strategy”, taken from Carnap). GE then further addresses the principal objections to Carnap’s flat-footed version of the strategy. Plan of the essay (from Section XIV): “I began by arguing that 'existential quantification over predicate or sentential variables' does not assert the existence of abstract entities. [This is (2) below, which takes us through Section X.] I then suggested that if the only contexts involving abstract singular terms of the forms 'f-ness', 'K- kind', and 'that-p' which could not be reformulated in terms of expressions of the forms 'x is f', 'x is a K', and 'p' were categorizing statements such as 'f-ness is a quality', 'K-kind is a class', 'that p is a proposition', then we might well hope to relieve Platonistic anxieties by the use of syntactical therapy. I then examined a context which has been thought to correlate words with extralinguistic abstract entities, namely the context ‘‘—’ (in L) means …’, and found that it does not do so. Encouraged by this, I proceeded to examine the distinction between the material and the formal modes of speech to see if the idea that such categorizing statements as 'Triangularity is a quality' have the force of syntactical statements such as '"triangular" is an adjective' can run the gauntlet of familiar objections, with what I believe to be hopeful results.” [This takes us through Sections XI to XIII (XIV and XV first summarize and then point forward).] [161] 2. The roadmap for the first part of the essay (up through Section X) is set out like this: “Now it is important to realize that Geach gives two accounts of the term 'property'; one of which, though cautious, is based on a simple grammatical mistake, while the other is derived from Frege's account, and is more difficult to expose. a) The cautious account is contained in the passage quoted above, in which he stipulates that 'property' is to be equivalent to 'something that an object is or is not'. b) The Fregean account is the one in which properties are introduced as what predicates stand for. [138] In effect, the thought of (b) is to introduce properties and concepts as what predicates mean . In each case WS’s objection is of the same general form: “And can we not therefore legitimately introduce the common noun 'concept' as having the force of 'something which a predicate stands for'? The answer is, as before, No; not, however, because it is incorrect to say that there is something which 'triangular' stands for (or bedeutet), but because the expression 'something which a predicate stands for' like the expression 'something which an object is or is not' does not play the sort of role which would make it proper to introduce a common noun as its stipulated equivalent .” [143] Specifically, however, he thinks this is easy to see for (a), and hard to see for (b).
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