Dissertation, Georgetown University (2003)

Nathaniel Goldberg
Washington and Lee University
In this dissertation, I explore the work of Donald Davidson, reveal an inconsistency in it, and resolve that inconsistency in a way that complements a debate in philosophy of science. In Part One, I explicate Davidson's extensional account of meaning; though not defending Davidson from all objections, I nonetheless present his seemingly disparate views as a coherent whole. In Part Two, I explicate Davidson's views on the dualism between conceptual schemes and empirical content, isolating four seemingly different arguments that Davidson makes against the dualism; I demonstrate that, though the arguments fail, each is ultimately meant to rely on his account of meaning. ;In Part Three, I show that Davidson's extensional account of meaning gives rise to the analytic-synthetic distinction, while simultaneously needing to reject it. I then propose a resolution to Davidson's dilemma. Rather than treating interpretation of meaning as continuous with the holistic enterprise of science, as Quine treats translation, one should treat it as conceptually prior to science, as Kant treats epistemology. Nonetheless I recognize four reasons why Davidson himself would reject doing so. I therefore propose a view called 'transcendental semantics', based on Davidson's, that accepts my resolution. Further, transcendental semantics, like Kant's own transcendental idealism, posits a single conceptual scheme; nonetheless Kant's is concerned with Newtonian physics, transcendental semantics' with interpretation. ;Finally, in Part Four, I show how positing such a scheme allows transcendental semantics to complement a promising neo-Carnapian account of theory confirmation in science proposed by Michael Friedman. Scientists are first and foremost interpreters, a fact that allows transcendental semantics to help Friedman establish the possibility of rational continuity through scientific revolutions. In fact, transcendental semantics, by complementing Friedman's project, reunites two of Carnap's own concerns, philosophy of language and philosophy of science. I conclude that philosophy of language without philosophy of science is empty , while philosophy of science without philosophy of language is blind
Keywords Donald Davidson  radical interpretation  conceptual schemes  scheme/content dualism  Michael Friedman  Rudolf Carnap  analyticity  W. V. Quine
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Davidson, Dualism, and Truth.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2012 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 1 (7).
Why Metaphors Have No Meaning: Considering Metaphoric Meaning in Davidson.Ben Kotzé - 2001 - South African Journal of Philosophy 20 (3-4):291-308.
Tension Within Triangulation.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):363-383.
Meaning and Truth.Greg Ray - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):79-100.
Davidson’s Transcendental Externalism.Jason Bridges - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):290-315.
What Davidson Should Have Said.Ernest Lepore & Barry Loewer - 1989 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 36 (1):65-78.


Added to PP index

Total views
101 ( #109,744 of 2,461,468 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #70,216 of 2,461,468 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes