Article published in:The Pragmatics of Making it Explicit
Edited by Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer
[Benjamins Current Topics 15] 2008
► pp. 65–81
A deflationist theory of intentionality? Brandom's analysis of de re specifying attitude-ascriptions
The paper presents an interpretation of Brandom’s analysis of de re specifying attitude-ascriptions. According to this interpretation, his analysis amounts to a deflationist reading of intentionality. In the first section I sketch the specific role deflationist theories of truth play within the philosophical debate on truth. Then I describe some analogies between the contemporary constellation of reading truth theories and the current confrontation of controversial theories of intentionality. The second section gives a short summary of Brandom’s analysis of attitude-ascription, focusing on his account of the grammar of de re ascriptions of belief. The third section discusses in detail those aspects of his account from which a deflationist conception of intentionality may be derived, or which at least permit such a reading. In the proposed interpretation of Brandom’s analysis, the vocabulary expressing the representational directedness of thought and talk does not describe a genuine property of mental states, but has an alternative descriptive function and in addition contains a performative and a metadescriptive element.
Keywords: Aboutness, de re attitude-ascription, deflationism, intentionality, mental representation, mental states, performative element of sense, substitutional commitment
Published online: 29 October 2008