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A deflationist theory of intentionality? Brandom's analysis of <i>de re </i>specifying attitude-ascriptions

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Abstract

The paper presents an interpretation of Brandom’s analysis of <i>de re </i>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 <i>de re </i>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 <i>property </i>of mental states, but has an <i>alternative descriptive </i>function and in addition contains a <i>performative </i>and a <i>metadescriptive </i>element.

References

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