Logical expressivism, logical theory and the critique of inferences

Brun, Georg (2019). Logical expressivism, logical theory and the critique of inferences. Synthese, 196(11), pp. 4493-4509. Springer 10.1007/s11229-017-1662-y

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The basic idea of logical expressivism in the Brandomian tradition is that logic makes inferential relations explicit and thereby accessible to critical discussion. But expressivists have not given a convincing explanation of what the point of logical theories is. Peregrin provides a starting point by observing a distinction between making explicit and explication in Carnap’s sense of replacing something unclear and vague by something clear and exact. Whereas logical locutions make inferential relations explicit within a language, logical theories use formal languages to explicate inferential roles and meanings of ordinary-language expressions. But Peregrin also holds that the whole point of logical theories is to provide perspicuous models of inferential structures in ordinary language practice. This turns explication into a mere continuation of making explicit by other means, and it leads to a one-sided conception of logic which has no room for evaluating inferential practice in light of logical theories. As a more convincing alternative, I suggest that expressivists rely on the method of reflective equilibrium. This approach is closely related to Carnapian explication, but it has the potential of correcting informal inferential practice without dubious ambitions to replace ordinary languages by logical formalisms.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Brun, Georg


100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 160 Logic






[42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds




Georg Brun

Date Deposited:

06 Apr 2018 14:37

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 06:43

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Explication Expressivism Inferentialism Reflective equilibrium





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