Commonsense realism and triangulation

Philosophia 37 (1):67-86 (2009)
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Realism about the external world enjoys little philosophical support these days. I rectify this predicament by taking a relatively pragmatist line of thought to defend commonsense realism; I support commonsense realism through an interpretation and application of Donald Davidson’s notion of triangulation, the triangle composed of two communicators coordinating and correcting their responses with a shared causal stimulus. This argument is important because it has a crucial advantage over the often used abductive argument for realism. My argument avoids unwarranted conclusions, whereas the abductive argument is “inflationary” because it reaches beyond the limits of evidence for its realist conclusion. To illustrate the problems of the abductive argument and motivate my Davidsonian approach, I take a brief look at the abductive argument for realism in Frederick Will’s work.



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Chris Calvert-Minor
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

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Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.

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