Predication as a Public Action
Sommario: 1. Introduction. 2. Two inadequate explanations for judgment: Kantian and biological nativism. 3. Where does judgment come from? Husserl’s reply. 4. A variation on Husserl’s analysis. 5. Confirmation: children and the meaning of words. 6. The ethics of predication.
Abstract: Predicational judgment is often taken to be primarily an internal activity achieved in the mind, in which concepts are combined or separated. This article tries to show that judgment is primarily a public action carried on between speakers and listeners. Kant and Chomsky are taken as proposing an intellectual and biological nativism, then Husserl is taken as showing how judgments arise from perceptual experience. But even Husserl takes judgment as the activity of a single mind, and the article tries to show that judgment involves several steps of cognitive activity between speakers and listeners. Some work of Paul Bloom is used to confirm this conclusion, and the essay ends with thoughts on the ethics of predication and the virtues of truthfulness.