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Between the Species

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Articulating Animals: Animals And Implicit Inferences In Brandom’S Work, Joel D. Musser Mar 2011

Articulating Animals: Animals And Implicit Inferences In Brandom’S Work, Joel D. Musser

Between the Species

Brandom denies animals implicit reasoning by emphasizing their inability to make inferences explicit, and in so doing, denigrates animals by likening their behavior to that of machines and artifacts. With disturbing regularity and ease, Brandom equates pigeons and parrots to machines and thermostats in their inability to express implicit/explicit inferences: neither the pigeon nor the machine can “provid[e] reasons for making other moves in the language game.”

I contest, however, that animals are paradigmatically more than any similarity or analogy to mechanical processing, just as humans are paradigmatically more than any reductive analogy to animals. The human/animal ...