Attempts to offer a response to Quine's arguments for the indeterminacy of reference and translation by developing an original theory of radical interpretation, i.e. the project of characterising from scratch the language and attitudes of an unknown agent or population.
A Companion to Donald Davidson presents newlycommissioned essays by leading figures within contemporaryphilosophy. Taken together, they provide a comprehensive overviewof Davidson’s work across its full range, and an assessmentof his many contributions to philosophy. Highlights the breadth of Davidson's work acrossphilosophy Demonstrates the continuing influence his work has on thephilosophical community Includes newly commissioned contributions from leading figuresin contemporary philosophy Provides an in-depth exposition and analysis of Davidson's workacross the range of areas to which he contributed, includingphilosophy of action, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy oflanguage, and philosophy of mind
This book discusses the ideas of Donald Davidson, on the nature of understanding and meaning, and the nature of truth and knowledge, providing an account of Davidson's holistic and hermeneutical conception of linguistic interpretation, and, more generally, of the mind.
Contemporary developments in philosophy have declared truth as such troublesome, and not merely gaining access to it. In a systematic survey this study investigates what is at stake when truth is given up. A historical overview shows how the current problem of truth came about, and suggests ways to overcome rather than to repair the problem. A key issue resulting from the loss of truth is the lack of normativity. Truth provided an alternative understanding of normativity. Elaborating on the `dialectical shift' in logic, a dialogico-rhetorical understanding of normativity is presented. Rather than requiring truth, agreement, or rationality, dialogico-rhetorical normativity is the result of a balance of particular standards. This type of normativity is shaped within discussions - by advancing and accepting arguments - and is not located in sets of predetermined rules. The result is a `small' but strong form of normativity. If this understanding of normativity is viable, one of the central problems of contemporary philosophy, the problem of incommensurability, can be seen in a different light. As a result, truth reappears again. Surviving the postmodern criticisms, it is a matter of accountability rather than of description.
With mind-brain identity theories no longer dominant in philosophy of mind in the late 1950s, scientific materialists turned to functionalism, the view that the identity of any mental state depends on its function in the cognitive system of which it is a part. The philosopher Hilary Putnam was one of the primary architects of functionalism and was the first to propose computational functionalism, which views the human mind as a computer or an information processor. But, in the early 1970s, Putnam began to have doubts about functionalism, and in his masterwork Representation and Reality (MIT Press, 1988), he advanced four powerful arguments against his own doctrine of computational functionalism. In Gödel, Putnam, and Functionalism, Jeff Buechner systematically examines Putnam's arguments against functionalism and contends that they are unsuccessful. Putnam's first argument uses Gödel's incompleteness theorem to refute the view that there is a computational description of human reasoning and rationality; his second, the "triviality argument," demonstrates that any computational description can be attributed to any physical system; his third, the multirealization argument, shows that there are infinitely many computational realizations of an arbitrary intentional state; his fourth argument buttresses this assertion by showing that there cannot be local computational reductions because there is no computable partitioning of the infinity of computational realizations of an arbitrary intentional state into a single package or small set of packages (equivalence classes). Buechner analyzes these arguments and the important inferential connections among them -- for example, the use of both the Gödel and triviality arguments in the argument against local computational reductions -- and argues that none of Putnam's four arguments succeeds in refuting functionalism. Gödel, Putnam, and Functionalism will inspire renewed discussion of Putnam's influential book and will confirm Representation and Reality as a major work by a major philosopher.
The analysis of the connection of truth, meaning, and the mental poses a major philosophical challenge--one that Donald Davidson addressed by establishing a unified theory of thought, meaning, action, and evaluation. This volume offers a reappraisal of Davidson's philosophy. Twelve specially written essays by leading philosophers in the field illuminate a range of problems in the philosophy of truth, meaning, and the mental, and engage in particular with ErnieLepore and Kirk Ludwig's interpretation of Davidson's philosophy. The collection affirms Davidson's continuing influence on the study of mind and action, and offers a variety of new perspectives on his work.
This volume breaks new grounds by bringing together a great variety of innovative contributions on triangulation, epistemology, and mind. The notion of “triangulation”, developed by Donald Davidson (1917-2003) during the last two decades of his life, has changed our understanding of the relationship between subjective, intersubjective, and objective, and shed new light on concepts such as externalism, internalism, communication, interpretation, and language. At the same time, however, it has been strongly criticized for several aspects. The papers collected in this volume—written by established contributors—aim to provide new insights into the contemporary debate on triangulation. The upshot is not only a deeper understanding of Davidson’s ideas but also a new appreciation of some central problems of epistemology and the philosophy of mind with regard to adjoining disciplines such as, for instance, cognitive sciences and the philosophy of language.
The Revolutionary Kant offers a new appreciation of Kant’s classic, arguing that Kant's reform of philosophy was far more radical than has been previously understood. The book examines his proposed revolutionary reform — to abandon traditional metaphysics and point philosophy in a new direction — and contends that critics have misrepresented conflicts between Kant and his predecessors. Kant, Bird argues, was not a flawed innovator but an advocate of a new philosophical project, one that began to be appreciated only in the twentieth century.
By North-American standards, philosophy is not new in Quebec: the first men tion of philosophy lectures given by a Jesuit in the College de Quebec (founded 1635) dates from 1665, and the oldest logic manuscript dates from 1679. In English-speaking universities such as McGill (founded 1829), philosophy began to be taught later, during the second half of the 19th century. The major influence on English-speaking philosophers was, at least initially, that of Scottish Empiricism. On the other hand, the strong influence of the Catholic Church on French-Canadian society meant that the staff of the facultes of the French-speaking universities consisted, until recently, almost entirely of Thomist philosophers. There was accordingly little or no work in modern Formal Logic and Philosophy of Science and precious few contacts between the philosophical communities. In the late forties, Hugues Leblanc was a young student wanting to learn Formal Logic. He could not find anyone in Quebec to teach him and he went to study at Harvard University under the supervision of W. V. Quine. His best friend Maurice L' Abbe had left, a year earlier, for Princeton to study with Alonzo Church. After receiving his Ph. D from Harvard in 1948, Leblanc started his profes sional career at Bryn Mawr College, where he stayed until 1967. He then went to Temple University, where he taught until his retirement in 1992, serving as Chair of the Department of Philosophy from 1973 until 1979.
This book surveys several theoretical controversies in anthropology that revolve around reconciling the objective description of culture with the influence of inquirer interests and conceptions. It relates them to discussions by followers of W.V. Quine who see the problems of anthropological inquiry as indicative of conceptual problems in the basic assumptions operative in the discipline, and in the study of language in general. Feleppa offers a revised view of the nature and function of translation in anthropology that gives a plausible account of the problems that traditional semantics introduces into anthropology, while avoiding the severe methodological import Quine envisions.
Willard Van Orman Quine was certainly the greatest analytic philosopher of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in 1908, he held the Edgar Pierce Chair of Philosophy at Harvard University from 1956 to 2000. He made highly important contributions to such areas as mathematical logic, set theory, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of logic. His best known works include From a Logical Point of View, Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, and his most influential Word and Object. One of Quine's central doctrines is the 'indeterminacy of translation' - the assertion that there is no objective answer to the question of what someone means by any given sentence. This view was first put forward in Word and Object and was shocking enough to draw criticisms from other leading philosophers like Noam Chomsky and Richard Rorty. Eve Gaudet argues that these controversies stem partly from Quine's ambiguities and changes of mind, and partly from his readers' misunderstandings. Gaudet dissipates the confusion by examining afresh Quine's whole concept of 'a fact of the matter', and evaluating the contributions to the debate by Chomsky, Rorty, Friedman, Gibson and Follesdal in the light of her new interpretation. This is the first book devoted to a defence of Quine's indeterminacy of translation doctrine. Unlike many who conclude in Quine's favour, Gaudet adopts a critical and nuanced approach to Quine's texts, showing that Quine sometimes changed his positions and was not always as clear and consistent as many assume.
In Symbolism and Interpretation, Tzvetan Todorov examines two aspects of discourse: its production, which has traditionally been the domain of rhetoric, and its reception, which has always been the object of hermeneutics. He analyzes the diverse theories of symbolism and interpretation that have been elaborated over the centuries and considers their contribution to a general theory of verbal symbolism, discussing a wide range of thinkers, from the Sanskrit philosophers and Aristotle to the German Romantics and contemporary semioticians. Todorov begins by examining general ideas of linguistic symbolism and the interpretive process. He then turns to a detailed consideration of two of the most influential and pervasive interpretative strategies in Western thought: the patristic exegesis of Augustine and Aquinas, and the philological exegesis foreshadowed in the work of Spinoza, developed by Wolf, Ast, Boeckh, and Lanson, and criticized by Schleiermacher. Todorov clarifies in masterly fashion the intricacies of the many schools of thought and refines the concepts crucial to critical theory today, including the distinctions between language and discourse, direct and indirect meaning, sign and symbol. Ably translated by Catherine Porter, Symbolism and Interpretation provides a coherent and innovative framework that is indispensable to the study of semiotics, its history, and its future.
This book, first published in 2003, is a comprehensive introduction to the full range of Donald Davidson's work.
The goal of the present volume is to discuss the notion of a 'conceptual framework' or 'conceptual scheme', which has been dominating much work in the analysis and justification of knowledge in recent years. More specifi cally, this volume is designed to clarify the contrast between two competing approaches in the area of problems indicated by this notion: On the one hand, we have the conviction, underlying much present-day work in the philosophy of science, that the best we can hope for in the justifi cation of empirical knowledge is to reconstruct the conceptual means actually employed by science, and to develop suitable models for analyzing conceptual change involved in the progress of science. This view involves the assumption that we should stop taking foundational questions of epistemology seriously and discard once and for all the quest for uncontrovertible truth. The result ing program of justifying epistemic claims by subsequently describing patterns of inferentially connected concepts as they are at work in actual science is closely connected with the idea of naturalizing epistemology, with concep tual relativism, and with a pragmatic interpretation of knowledge. On the other hand, recent epistemology tends to claim that no subsequent reconstruction of actually employed conceptual frameworks is sufficient for providing epistemic justification for our beliefs about the world. This second claim tries to resist the naturalistic and pragmatic approach to epistemology and insists on taking the epistemological sceptic seriously.
First published in 1976, the Dictionary of Philosophy has established itself as the best available text of its kind, explaining often unfamiliar, complicated and diverse terminology. Thoroughly revised and expanded, this fourth edition provides authoritative and rigorous definitions of a broad range of philosophical concepts. Concentrating on the Western philosophical tradition, The Routledge Dictionary of Philosophy offers an illuminating and informed introduction to the central issues, ideas and perspectives in core fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, and logic. It includes concise biographical entries for more than one hundred major philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle through to contemporary figures such as Dummett, McDowell, Parfit and Singer. All major entries are followed by helpful suggestions for further reading, including web links, and contain extensive cross-referencing to aid access and comprehension. This edition also features a brand new guide to the most useful philosophy sites on the internet. The Routledge Dictionary of Philosophy is an invaluable and up-to-date resource for all students of philosophy.
The Shorter REP presents the very best of the acclaimed ten volume Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy in a single volume. It makes a selection of the most important entries available for the first time and covers all you need to know about philosophy, from Aristotle to Wittgenstein and animals and ethics to scientific method. Comprising over 900 entries and covering the major philosophers and philosophical topics, The Shorter REP includes the following special features: Unrivalled coverage of major philosophers, themes, movements and periods making the volume indispensable for any student or general reader Fully cross-referenced Revised versions of many of the most important entries, including fresh suggestions for further reading Over twenty brand new entries on important new topics such as Cloning and Sustainability entries by many leading philosophers such as Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty, Onora O'Neill, T.M. Scanlon and Anthony Appiah Striking new text design to help locate key entries quickly and easily An outstanding guide to all things philosophical, The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides an unrivalled introduction to the subject for students and general readers alike.