Queries and Assertions in Minimally Discursive Practices

Questions, Discourse and Dialogue: 20 Years After Making It Explicit, Proceedings of Aisb50 (2014)
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Robert Brandom’s normative-pragmatic theory is intended to represent the minimal set of practical abilities whose exhibition qualifies creatures as speaking a language. His model of a minimally discursive practice (MDP) is one in which participants, devoid of logical vocabulary, are only capable of making assertions and drawing inferences. This paper argues that Brandom’s purely assertional practices are not MDPs and that speech acts of asking questions (queries) must be included in any practice that counts as an MDP. The upshot of the argument is support for the claim that the normative pragmatic analysis of assertions requires a corresponding analysis of queries and vice versa.

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Jared A. Millson
Rhodes College


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