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By Mark Jary (auth.)

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Commits you to not asserting) that it was white (or green, or blue . ), but it entitles you to assert that the dress was scarlet, or vermillion. As we will see below, it is through these notions of commitments and entitlements that Brandom seeks to explain semantic relationships. 14 Assertions can be justified in three ways: by deferring to a previous asserter (who assumed the authority to pass on the commitment undertaken by the current asserter), by reporting reliable perceptual experience, or by giving reasons in the form of further assertions (1994: 172–4).

These are states that represent – or reflect – how the world is (or, in the case of intentional tracking states, how the holder wants the world to be). e. 22 They are not beliefs, because beliefs can be logically complex (one can believe that it is not raining, for example), but are a more basic species of thought. Logically complex beliefs are available only to linguistic animals, on Barker’s story. The basic ‘tracking states’ that we are thinking of as simple sentences of mentalese, by contrast, are common to humans and some non-linguistic animals (2004: 190).

This is because the level of tracking Assertion in Speech-act Theory 29 states that Barker posits as the medium in which basic intentions are formed contains both doxastic and intentional tracking states (2004: 193). These might be distinguished by saying that the former, as they are correct if they match the world, are truth-apt, while the latter are not. This move is not open to Barker, though, as, for him, to be truthapt is to be associated with an intention to defend being in the state represented: what make assertions truth-apt, on Barker’s account, is that they come with an intention to defend a commitment state.

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