Discourse as practice: from Bourdieu to Brandom

Questions, Discourse and Dialogue: 20 Years After Making It Explicit, Proceedings of AISB50 (2014)
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This paper investigates Robert Brandom’s programme of logical expressivism and in the process attempts to clarify his use of the term practice, by means of a detailed comparison with the works of sociologist and anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu. It turns out that the two scholars have a number of concerns in common, including the means by which core practices can be amalgamated into more sophisticated ones, and the possibility of explicating practices without distorting them or generating incoherent codifications. We find some congruences between the two approaches but also a number of divergences. In particular, Bourdieu deprecates the well-known distinctions between langue and parole (Saussure), and competence and performance (Chomsky), while (we argue) Brandom ends up instituting his own “competence” model. We conclude by questioning how far this is compatible with his avowed aim of developing an “analytic pragmatism”.
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Archival date: 2014-10-07
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