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The norms of thought: are they social?

Abstract : A commonplace in contemporary philosophy is that mental content has normative properties. A number of writers associate this view to the idea that the normativity of content is essentially connected to its social character. I agree with the first thesis, but disagree with the second. The paper examines three kinds of view according to which the norms of thought and content are social: Wittgenstein's rule following considerations, Davidson's triangulation argument, and Brandom's inferential pragmatics, and criticises each. It is argued that there are objective conceptual norms constitutive of mental content, but that these are not essentially social. A commonplace in contemporary philosophy is that mental content has normative properties. A number of writers associate this view to the idea that the normativity of content is essentially connected to its social character. I agree with the first thesis, but disagree with the second. The paper examines three kinds of view according to which the norms of thought and content are social: Wittgenstein's rule following considerations, Davidson's triangulation argument, and Brandom's inferential pragmatics, and criticises each. It is argued that there are objective conceptual norms constitutive of mental content, but that these are not essentially social.
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https://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00000250
Contributor : Pascal Engel <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 1, 2002 - 4:24:30 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 11:46:08 AM

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  • HAL Id : ijn_00000250, version 1

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Pascal Engel. The norms of thought: are they social?. Mind and Society, Springer Verlag, 2002, 2 (3), pp.129-148. ⟨ijn_00000250⟩

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