Sebastian Knell examines the theory of language and intentionality developed by Robert B. Brandom in his widely-discussed monograph Making it explicit . His study is centred on a critical examination of Brandom's thesis that intentional states (e.g. beliefs) are bound to linguistic ability.The monograph opens with a presentation of Brandom's general theory of conceptual content; the author reconstructs the basic explanatory principles and the multi-layered architecture of this theory, and in addition he discusses certain problems of Brandom's pragmatic explanatory strategy. This is the first time that such a detailed reconstruction has been published in German, and thus the book is also of use for those readers seeking general orientation about Brandom's theory.The second part discusses various arguments based on Brandom's analyses in favour of intentionality being bound to language. Knell's sceptical conclusion is that these analyses only lead to a foundation within the theory, which carries limited conviction.
Sebastian Knell is a Research Fellow in the Philosophy Department of the University of Basle, Switzerland.