Failures of mind and meaning

Journal article


Bilgrami, Akeel. (2016). Failures of mind and meaning. Social Research. 83(3), pp. 549 - 571.
AuthorsBilgrami, Akeel
Abstract

Failure, the very idea, presupposes a norm by the lights of which it gets counted as such. And so failure, I argue, is essential to understanding the nature of norms. But I begin with a qualifying restriction. There is frequent talk of failure that presupposes something less (or other) than a norm, as when we speak of “heart failure” or “engine failure.” What is presupposed in these latter expressions cannot—strictly—be a norm because these are breakdowns or cessations of a mechanism, whether natural or artificial. In this brief essay, I look only at failure strictly so called, where the lights by which it is seen to be a failure are a “norm” in the full and irreducible sense of the term—not a norm that reduces, in the end, to a descriptive tendency of nature or artifice while presenting itself on the surface as a prescriptive and evaluative standard.

Year2016
JournalSocial Research
Journal citation83 (3), pp. 549 - 571
PublisherJohns Hopkins University Press
ISSN0037-783X
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85001105605
Web address (URL)https://muse.jhu.edu/article/639856/
Page range549 - 571
Research GroupInstitute for Social Justice
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited States
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