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Sellars week 2 notes 09-9-9 c

Sellars week 2 notes 09-9-9 c - Brandom Sellars Week 2...

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Brandom 2/15/12 Sellars Week 2 Notes 1. Introductory comment for IM: WS loved the mystery story form of organizing our peculiar genre of creative nonfiction writing. It contrasts with the journalistic form of organization. In the former, you don’t know what the main thesis that will be defended is until the very end. In the latter, you tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them. 2. Roughly, IM introduces crucial elements of an inferentialist semantics , and SRLG introduces crucial elements of a normative pragmatics . 3. Themes for IM: a) Material Inference b) Inference vs. mere association. The difference is in part the normative character of inference, about which more in SRLG (plus account there of language-language transitions). c) Material: Logic, substitution, and form (logical, theological, and geological forms). Bolzano-Frege method for moving from material goodness of inference to logical goodness of inference (need a way to identify logical vocabulary: cf. two classical issues of philosophy of logic). Materially good inferences essentially depend on the occurrence of nonlogical vocabulary. Premises from which to reason vs. Principles in accordance with which to reason. Lewis Carroll, Achilles and the Tortoise point on the side of logic. Its analog for material case. d) Subjunctive conditionals, and what they express. WS’s claim seems to be: need to acknowledge material proprieties of inference in order to underwrite reasoning from counterfactual or subjunctive premises. Q: But why are these different from inferences underwritten simply by contingent regularities? The former can be understood as enthymematic, by supplying so-called (confusingly, in this context) “material” conditionals (that is, two-valued, classical, truth-functional conditionals). Then modus ponens is the only rule of inference. That is formally elegant, but implausible for brutes and children—cf. the attribution of mastery of disjunctive syllogism to dog who sniffs one fork of a road, not finding what he seeks, and immediately, without checking, dashes down the other fork. But the latter can also be understood enthymematically, by supplying a suitable counterfactual conditional. What is the difference that makes a difference between these cases? e) Q: What kind of inferentialism is Sellars endorsing? Candidates include at least weak , strong , and hyper- inferentialism. (The last is ruled out by SRLG’s discussion of language entry and exit transitions.) 47e1b438fe87cb71547e9526f7252bea3a7db707 1 2/15/12
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