Throwing out the Tacit Rule Book

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Davidson’s remark is fairly conventional stuff in contemporary philosophy, but the argument that informs it is elusive. Is this a kind of unformulated transcendental argument, which amounts to the claim that the ‘sharing’ of ‘language,’ in some unspecified sense of these terms, is a condition of the possibility of ‘communication’ in some unspecified sense of this term? Or is it a kind of inference to the best explanation in which there are no real alternativesan inference, so to speak, to the only explanation (which is perhaps not a bad definition of transcendental argument)? There are good reasons to be suspicious of arguments of this form. Yet this general picture, of some sort of shared (and presumably tacit) stuff at the basis of language, is highly appealing, and so is its extension to practices generally. The claim that there is some class of things that could not happen, were it not for the existence of some sort of shared practices, is a commonplace, despite, and perhaps because of its vagueness.

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Throwing out the Tacit Rule Book, in K. K. Cetina, T. R. Schatzki & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, Routledge, p. 120-130