Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Use theory, philosophy of language: the term was formed following a thesis of L. Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations, § 43. (Original in German) You can explain the use of the word "meaning" for a large class of cases - though not in all cases of its use - as the meaning of a word is its use in the language." - This thesis applies to words and cannot be extended to whole sentences. See also use, word meaning, sentence meaning, language acquisition, meaning theory, reference.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Robert Brandom on Use Theory - Dictionary of Arguments

I ~ 169
Rule/Sellars/Brandom: Sellars: I'll interpret our judgments that A causes B as an expression of a rule for the use of "A" and "B". >Causation, >Use.
I 490
DummettVsUse Theory: if there is no key idea regarding the meaning, then it is unclear what the meaning of a word is in contrast to that of a sentence.
Dummett: Key idea: understanding a word needs to consist only in understanding its contribution to the sentence.
Force: pragmatic significance, sentantial content - meaning: semantic content, sub-sentential (!) content. >Content, >Subsententials.
Brandom: according to this analogy, the sentences are divided in equivalence classes by performative significance in a way that the force is maintained in case of substitution. >Equivalence class, >Substitution.
II 43f
Use theory/realism/Brandom: our use of concepts such as "electron" depends not only on our dispositions to inferential approvals, but also on "what is going on with the world" - use is not limited to approval of inferences - whether inferences are correct depends on what "really follows" - contents are what they are because we use concepts as we do, not because we believe that they are. - This does not argue that concepts have a representational dimension. >Concepts, >Representation.
II 246
Accounting/Brandom: completes use theory - does not imply that all players have the disposition that they should have. >Attribution, >Dispositions.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Bra I
R. Brandom
Making it exlicit. Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment, Cambridge/MA 1994
German Edition:
Expressive Vernunft Frankfurt 2000

Bra II
R. Brandom
Articulating reasons. An Introduction to Inferentialism, Cambridge/MA 2001
German Edition:
Begründen und Begreifen Frankfurt 2001

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