Communication and content: Circumstances and consequences of the Habermas-Brandom debate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent exchange between Robert Brandom and Jurgen Habermas provides an opportunity to compare and contrast some aspects of their systems. Both present broadly inferential accounts of meaning, according to which the content of an expression is determined by its role in an inferential network. Several problems confront such theories of meaning - one of which threatens the possibility of communication because content is relative to an individual's set of beliefs. Brandom acknowledges this problem and provides a solution to it. The point of this paper is to argue that it arises for Habermas's theory as well. I then present several solutions Habermas could adopt and evaluate their feasibility. The result is that Habermas must alter his theory of communicative action by contextualizing the standards for successful communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-61
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Brandom
  • Communication
  • Habermas
  • Holism
  • Inference
  • Meaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Communication and content: Circumstances and consequences of the Habermas-Brandom debate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this