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Fr. 614

April 16, 2015

Given Stout’s own methodological procedure, it would be wrongheaded to posit an essence of justification such that this essence could then be linked inferentially or deductively to an essence of self or individuality in our narrow sense. Insofar as Stout avoids transcendentalizing, universalistic a priori accounts, taking his writings seriously and extending them involves applying at least the most important methodological standards that he set outs. In accordance with the epistemic nominalism of Part III of Ethics After Babel, this means avoiding purely philosophical accounts which distance themselves from what we can know by 1.) empirical insights into the subject matter in question and 2.) Wittgensteinian accounts of the usage of certain expressions. Beyond this, there is nothing to be said or done to ground a thick account of justification. Yet we would need just such a thick account in order to establish sufficient and necessary relations between justification and individuality. For this reason, there can be no underlying account of self. By contrast, we should speak of a natural extension of Stout’s concept (loosely understood) of justification rather the absence of a fundamental presupposition without which Stout’s work cannot get off the ground. If we attribute a certain incompleteness to Stout’s work, it owes to a direction in which Stout, quite understandably, has not yet explored.



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