Although Brandom is critical of some features of narrowly conceived classical pragmatism, at the same time he explicitly embraces a version of pragmatism, both in his overall philosophical outlook, and in his philosophy of language. Brandom’s distinctive theoretical approach is based on what he calls rationalist pragmatism, which is a version of fundamental pragmatism. Within the philosophy of language it takes the form of semantic pragmatism. The paper briefly discusses Brandomian version of fundamental pragmatism and its semantic underpinning, and subsequently (...) formulates a basic dilemma it encounters there. (shrink)
The British philosopher Michael Dummett (1925–2011) not only had a massive influence on the development of analytical philosophy within the philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics, but also contributed significantly to historical and metaphilosophical debates about the nature of this philosophical movement and its proper account. He proposed to define analytical philosophy as philosophy whose aim is the analysis of the structure of thought by way of the analysis of language. Hence, it is philosophy the gist of which (...) is the linguistic turn. A number of critics of this proposal (including Barry Smith, Peter Hylton, and Hans-Johann Glock) emphasised that Dummett’s proposal captures merely some features of this diversified and multifaceted philosophical tradition, and is far from being historically adequate. (shrink)
Most current theories of meaning and mental content accept externalism. One of its forceful exponents is Ruth Garrett Millikan. She argues that externalism leads to the abandonment of "the last myth of the given", that is, of the idea that identity of meaning and mental content is somehow unproblematically given to us, and that we can easily recognize the sameness of meaning and mental content. If one refuses such a "mythical" giveness or meaning rationalism, one has to admit that there (...) is no logical possibility known a priori . The paper tries to show that even if one abandons meaning rationalism one can still hold that there are logical possibilities known a priori . The claim is defended by arguing that a priori knowledge is not completely independent from experience and does not demand the absolute transparency of meaning from the first-person point of view. A priori knowledge requires only a priori justification, that is, such a justification that is based merely on relations between meanings or contents. (shrink)
It is quite widely assumed that at the beginning of his career Richard Rorty was an orthodox analytic philosopher, working in its then current mainstream, and especially fascinated by the linguistic turn taken by this tradition. Subsequently he supposedly radically and dramatically changed his views, turning himself from a staunch analytic philosophers into a vigorous critic of the analytic tradition and ultimately paradigmatically postmodern and continental thinker. It is argued in the paper that this common picture exaggerates changes in Rorty’s (...) philosophical views. He certainly has never become fully postmodern and continental philosopher, whatever it means. And what seems more important, he always had a lot of reservations about analytic philosophy and had less hopes of it than one or two passages from his early writings suggest. (shrink)
It is often assumed that any attempt to undermine the so-called correspondence theory of truth is motivated by the conviction that truth is an idea which should be more or less forgotten in our postmodernist period. However, this is not always the case. One can believe that truth is one of our indispensable concepts but at the same time argue that the correspondence theory of truth is not a proper and illuminating theory of that concept. This position is reasonable, since (...) - as it has been shown (e.g. by Huw Price and Michael Dummett) - without the notion of truth one would not be able to provide a coherent and satisfactory account of our discursive practice and linguistic meaning. Moreover, as it has been recently argued by David Lewis, the correspondence theory is not a stable account of that concept, and it faces the following dilemma: either (putting aside some minor and irrelevant differences) it turns into a minimalist or redundancy theory of some sort, or it becomes a (mostly) metaphysical theory about various kinds of things which make our statements true. Defenders of the correspondence theory have made some efforts to meet the challenge posed by Lewis, but those efforts do not seem successful. Hence we should perhaps not longer consider the correspondence theory as a major and clearly specifiable contender in the debate about truth, and thus significantly reshape it. (shrink)
Epistemic conceptions of truth, for which truth is defined in terms of justifiability or assertibility in properly idealized conditions, are very often considered as unavoidably linked with relativism. The paper argues that such a link is not unavoidable. The reason is that there are accounts of justification that do not have relativistic consequences, and therefore one may propose an epistemic conception of truth that does not have those consequences either.
This concise book derives from a series of the John Locke Lectures given at the University of Oxford in 1998. Sklar argues in it, in an original and interesting way, for the familiar idea of essential inextricability or continuity of science and philosophy. In particular, he is concerned to show that a number of key problems about science, discussed in a very abstract way by philosophers, are the very problems that face scientists doing research in the foundations of physics. When (...) one realizes that and focuses one’s attention upon those scientific problems, one will be able to shed new light upon abstractly pursued philosophy of science. By the same token, a convincing case will be made against “quietist” or “naturalistic” views that regard scientific practice and scientific theories as complete and self-explanatory, as well as hold that they do not require any external philosophical interpretation. (shrink)