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These are all just statements in vocabularies. Without privileging a ”nature’s own vocabulary.”

In neither case do you need to worry about what makes such-and-such statement in the vocabulary true. What you should worry about is the reason relations within each vocabulary:

  • There will be sociological differences between physics and literary theory, in how reason relations come about.
  • But the representationalist mistake one can make is thinking that these sociological differences are metaphysical differences in the underlying content.

This is a very category-theoretic insight: that it is sufficient to look at the interactions to recover what before was taken as an ontological difference


Anti-bifurcationism was coined by Huw Price to reject the following view.

Richard Kraut writes:

The bifurcationist often undertakes the task of determining which of our well-formed declarative sentences have truth conditions and which ones, though meaningful, are simply the manifestations of attitudes or the expressions of ‘stances’. He wants to know which of our predicates get at real properties in the world, and which, in contrast, merely manifest aspects of our representational apparatus - ‘projections borrowed from our internal sentiments’. On different occasions he articulates his task in different ways; but they all point to some variant of the bifurcation thesis …, the thesis that some declarative sentences (call them the D sentences)

  • describe the world
  • ascribe real properties
  • are genuinely representational
  • are about ‘what’s really out there’
  • have determinate truth conditions
  • express matters of fact

whereas other declarative sentences (call them the E sentences)

  • express commitments or attitudes - manifest a ‘stance’ (praise, condemnation, endorsement, etc.) - are expressive rather than descriptive - do not ‘picture’ the world - lack truth conditions, but possess ‘acceptance conditions’ or ‘assertibility conditions’ - merely enable us to ‘cope’ with reality - are true (or false) by convention - do not express ‘facts of the matter’.