The second hopeful sign for Deweyan optimists, in my view, is the persistence, within the borders of representationalism, of a series of breakaway movements—each contending that the representationalist framework claims no proper dominion over some local region of its apparent territory, and offering an alternative, ‘expressivist’, account of the region in question. While most of these breakaway movements are (perhaps hopelessly) local in their ambitions, I think that the threat they pose collectively is substantial (and underrated). I’ll call it the threat of functional pluralism: a challenge to the homogeneity of the representationalist empire. Interpreted in this optimistic light, these breakaway views do locally what Wittgenstein did globally. They challenge the assumption that language has a single core function, viz., to ‘represent how things are’.

One Cheer for Representationalism, 2