Schroeder's book is fantastic in several ways--a summary will emerge in my praise for this book.
Schroeder presents several reasons for pessimism regarSchroeder's book is fantastic in several ways--a summary will emerge in my praise for this book.
Schroeder presents several reasons for pessimism regarding the contemporary expressivist program (a la Blackburn and Gibbard). Yet, he does not just present intuitions that expressivism fails to satisfy, nor does he take some principle or idea from another view and insist that expressivism accommodate it or explain it away. Instead, Schroeder takes up the expressivist mantle and tries to defend them from criticisms stemming from the Frege-Geach problem. This move, to take one's "opponents" and try to be as thorough as possible in defending their position, in order to see which questions remain and what kinds of commitments their view makes, is a refreshing means for polemic. It neither takes an antagonistic "us v. them" tone which ignores the nuances and complexity of the opposing view, nor does it intuition monger or wave hands and suggest that it's just an aesthetic choice. Instead, Schroeder tries to be as faithful to the expressivist claims as possible, and he even tries to strengthen the motivations for expressivism by providing deep semantic structure which can account for some of the most important features of expressivism which are supposed to fare better than cognitive stances.
Schroeder also combines great creativity with technical rigor. I don't normally tout books that require wading through a good deal of formalism and technical apparati--these kinds of books are perfectly justified for specialists, and I may even enjoy them, but I don't usually think they are well-written. Schroeder's text, on the other hand, combines extremely helpful exposition along with the technical formalizations, and the formalizations help prevent Schroeder's arguments from seeming ad hoc or question-begging. In fact, by trying to formalize the kind of structure that expressivism needs to make the claims that it makes with regards to the difference between normative and descriptive utterances, Schroeder ends up discussing some important and interesting facets of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind more generally: how do utterances connect to truth conditions, or to mental states; what is necessary to combine atomic propositions into more complex forms; how do operator complement-taking verbs/operators alter the structure of negation, and how can we maintain one function of negation without destroying this distinction or falling into incoherence, etc.
Because Schroeder's tone is conciliatory, his project operates on the principle of benefit of the doubt, and his technical apparati actually advance expressivism further than any other articulation that I have seen (which, to be fair, is not that many), his cautions about the costs of expressivism are much more palatable and discouraging. I hope that if I feel the need to take on an opposing school of thought that I think is utterly wrong but which has enough popular appeal and theoretical motivation to be plausible, that I will adopt Schroeder's practice of trying to make friendly amendments, showing alternatives along the way and stating clearly when (and which) assumptions have to be made to make my moves. That way, defenders of that view can work out their own system if they find mine dissatisfying, and we can identify which choices and issues are at stake. Schroeder's book is not for casual consumption, but if you have any interest in philosophy of language, metaethics, philosophy of mind, or contemporary examples of well-written and well-conceived philosophy, BEING FOR is a must-read....more
Grace's arguments are not always tight and tend to focus on discounting a particularly strong version of his opponents' view. He does, however, providGrace's arguments are not always tight and tend to focus on discounting a particularly strong version of his opponents' view. He does, however, provide a decent discussion on why we should expand our conception of the role of metaphor in language use and the call into question the line between percepts and concepts....more
Some essays were more accessible (to the new reader of Husserl) than others, but the structure of the book makes it a good companion for someone who iSome essays were more accessible (to the new reader of Husserl) than others, but the structure of the book makes it a good companion for someone who is reading the LOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS....more