The philosophical significance of triangulation: Locating Davidson's non-reductive naturalism

Metaphilosophy 36 (5):708-728 (2005)
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Donald Davidson has emphasized the importance of what he calls “triangulation” for clarifying the conditions that make thought possible. Various critics have questioned whether this triangular causal interaction between two individuals and a shared environment can provide necessary conditions for the emergence of thought. I argue that these critical responses all suffer from a lack of appreciation for the way triangulation is responsive to the philosophical commitments of Davidson's naturalism. This reply to Davidson's critics helps clarify several metaphilosophical issues concerning the overall significance of this use of triangulation. I illustrate how the network of commitments that make up Davidson's conception of non‐reductive naturalism inform the respective problems and issues that triangulation is introduced to address. This then serves as an example of the way metaphilosophical considerations are useful in clarifying the status of a respective philosophical position and for understanding the philosophical debates surrounding it.



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Robert Sinclair
Soka University

Citations of this work

Replies to my critics.Robert Sinclair - 2023 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):1-13.
Language Learning in Wittgenstein and Davidson.Ben Kotzee - 2013 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 33 (4):413-431.

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References found in this work

Knowing One’s Own Mind.Donald Davidson - 1987 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 60 (3):441-458.
Rational animals.Donald Davidson - 1982 - Dialectica 36 (4):317-28.
Problems of rationality.Donald Davidson - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Considered Judgment.Catherine Z. Elgin - 1996 - Princeton: New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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