Scorekeeping in a defective language game

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One common criticism of deflationism is that it does not have the resources to explain defective discourse (e.g., vagueness, referential indeterminacy, confusion, etc.). This problem is especially pressing for someone like Robert Brandom, who not only endorses deflationist accounts of truth, reference, and predication, but also refuses to use representational relations to explain content and propositional attitudes. To address this problem, I suggest that Brandom should explain defective discourse in terms of what it is to treat some portion of discourse as defective. To illustrate this strategy, I present an extension of his theory of content and use it to provide an explanation of confusion. The result is a theory of confusion based on Joseph Camp's recent treatment. The extension of Brandom's theory of content involves additions to his account of scorekeeping that allow members of a discursive practice to accept different standards of inferential correctness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-226
Number of pages24
JournalPragmatics and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Borderline cases
  • Confusion
  • Default and challenge
  • Indeterminacy
  • Inferential standard
  • Scorekeeping commitments
  • Semantic position
  • Vagueness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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