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date: 19 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A number of philosophers, including Kant, Kripke, Boghossian, Gibbard and Brandom, can be read as endorsing the view that concepts are normative. I distinguish two versions of that view: a strong, non-naturalistic version which identifies concepts with norms or rules (Kant, Kripke), and a weaker version, compatible with naturalism, on which the normativity of concepts amounts only to their application’s being governed by norms or rules (Boghossian, Gibbard, Brandom). I consider a problem for the strong version: grasp of a rule seems to require grasp of the concepts which constitute the content of that rule, so how can we explain concept acquisition without falling into regress? I offer a Kantian response, on which grasp of a rule does not require antecedent grasp of concepts, but still involves the recognition of normativity in one’s rule-governed behavior. I distinguish the normativity of concepts, so understood, from the normativity associated with truth or warrant.

Keywords: concepts, normativity, rules, Kant, Kripke, Boghossian, Gibbard, Brandom

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