SRLG Passages 09-9-9 d

SRLG Passages 09-9-9 d - Brandom SRLG Passages 1....

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Brandom SRLG Passages 1. [Regulism] It seems plausible to say that a language is a system of expressions the use of which is subject to certain rules . It would seem, thus, that learning to use a language is learning to obey the rules for the use of its expressions. However, taken as it stands, this thesis is subject to an obvious and devastating refutation. After formulating this refutation, I shall turn to the constructive task of attempting to restate the thesis in a way which avoids it. In doing so, I shall draw certain distinctions the theoretical elaboration of which will, I believe, yield new insight into the psychology of language and of what might be called “norm conforming behavior” generally. The present paper contains an initial attempt along these lines. 2. The refutation runs as follows: Thesis . Learning to use a language (L) is learning to obey the rules of L. But , a rule which enjoins the doing of an action (A) is a sentence in a language which contains an expression for A. Hence , a rule which enjoins the using of a linguistic expression (E) is a sentence in a language which contains an expression for E,—in other words a sentence in a meta language. Consequently , learning to obey the rules for L presupposes the ability to use the metalanguage (ML) in which the rules for L are formulated. So that learning to use a language (L) presupposes having learned to use a language (ML). And by the same token, having learned to use ML presupposes having learned to use a meta - metalanguage (MML) and so on. But this is impossible (a vicious regress). Therefore , the thesis is absurd and must be rejected. 1,2-28] 2. [Regularism] 3. Now, at first sight there is a simple and straightforward way of preserving the essential claim of the thesis while freeing it from, the refutation. It consists in substituting the phrase ‘learning to conform to the rules . . .’ for ‘learning to obey the rules . . .’ where ‘conforming to a rule enjoining the doing of A in circumstances C’ is to be equated simply with ‘doing A when the circumstances are C’—regardless of how one comes to do it. [It is granted that ‘conforming to’ is often used in the sense of ‘obeying’ so that this distinction involves an element of stipulation.] A person who has the habit of doing A in C would then be conforming to the above rule even though the idea that he was to do A in C had never occurred to him, and even though he had no language for referring to either A or C. 3. [A good thought that lies behind the inadequate suggeston that mere conformity to rules is enough.] What is denied is that playing a game logically involves obedience to the rules of the game, and hence the ability to use the language (play the language game) in which the rules are formulated. [5-29] 4. Sections 6-9 give “Metaphysicus”’ view: there is a prelinguistic awareness of the rules, or of the normative demands they make, couched in prelinguistic awareness of various universals. 5.
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SRLG Passages 09-9-9 d - Brandom SRLG Passages 1....

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