Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Maria Cristina Amoretti, Mario De Caro, Francesca Ervas in Issue 5

One Hundred Years of Donald Davidson. Introduction [Special Issue]

Introduction

Donald Davidson (1917-2003) is one of the few contemporary philosophers of the analytic tradition who offered significant contentious contributions to many different areas of philosophy while preserving a semi-systematic character in his writings. His output was huge, ranging from decision theory to philosophy of  language, from metaphysics to philosophy of action, from philosophy of mind to epistemology.

Kirk Ludwig in Issue 5

Truth-theoretic Semantics and Its Limits [Special Issue]

History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

This paper takes up some limitations of truth-theoretic semantics connected with the requirement that knowledge of a compositional meaning theory for a language put one in a position to understand any potential utterance in the language. I argue that associating entities, such as properties, relations, and propositions, with natural language expressions is neither necessary nor sufficient to meet this requirement. I develop an account of how a meaning theory may…

Pol-Vincent Harnay, Pétronille Rème in Issue 5

Davidson: Decision and Interpretation [Special Issue]

History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Decision theory plays a central role in Davidson’s work. Based on the experimentations led in Stanford during the 1950s, it is possible to track down the origins and the foundations of the unified theory of thought, meaning and action. The‘wording effect’ and the omission of meanings undermine decision theory as a whole, hence the need to enlarge the basis of decision theory by integrating an interpretation theory that reflects mental…

Pascal Engel in Issue 5

Davidson on the Objectivity of Values and Reasons [Special Issue]

Ethics, History of Analytic Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

Although he did not write on ethics, Davidson wrote a few papers on the objectivity of values. His argument rests on his holistic conception of interpretation of desires. I examine whether this argument can be sufficient for his objectivism about values. And supposing that the argument were correct, would it entail a form of realism about normativity and reasons? I argue that it falls short of giving us a genuine…

Akeel Bilgrami in Issue 5

Norm and Failure in Mind and Meaning [Special Issue]

History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

The paper first gives an argument for the Davidsonian thesis that norms constitute the human mind. Then it shows that that thesis is better formulated by Wittgenstein rather than by Davidson himself. And finally, it uses the Wittgensteinian formulation of the thesis to establish why Davidson was right to further claim that linguistic meaning was not normative despite the human mind being normatively constituted. Through this entire dialectic of the…

Peter Pagin in Issue 5

Radical Interpretation and Pragmatic Enrichment [Special Issue]

Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

I consider a problem from pragmatics for the radical interpretation project, relying on the principle of charity. If a speaker X in a context c manifests the attitude of holding a sentence s true, this might be because of believing, not the content of s in c, but what results from a pragmatic enrichment of that content. In this case,  the connection between the holding-true attitude and the meaning of…

Andreas Heise in Issue 5

Language’s Dreamwork Reconsidered [Special Issue]

History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind

This paper offers both exegetical and systematic reconsiderations of Donald Davidson’s view on metaphor. In his essay What Metaphors Mean, Davidson argued against the idea that metaphors have any kind of propositional content beyond the literal meaning of the relevant sentence. Apart from this negative claim, Davidson also made a constructive proposal by suggesting that metaphor’s distinctive effect is to prompt a mental state of seeing-as. These two points seem…

Daniel D. Hutto, Glenda Satne in Issue 5

Demystifying Davidson: Radical Interpretation meets Radical Enactivism [Special Issue]

Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Davidson’s signature ideas on the holism and autonomy of propositional thought have led some exegetes to hold that he advances a kind of transcendentalism that is discordant with a satisfactory naturalism. On the other hand, Davidson’s work has strong connections with naturalism, as some Quinean strands of his thinking make apparent. Two strands can thus be identified in Davidson’s thought. One emphasizes features of thought that set it apart from…

Claudine Verheggen in Issue 5

Davidson’s Semantic Externalism: From Radical Interpretation to Triangulation [Special Issue]

History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

The received interpretation of Donald Davidson’s philosophy has it that his thoughts underwent a significant change between his early work and his later work, in particular, between his work on radical interpretation and his work on triangulation. It is maintained that the kind of semantic externalism Davidson advocated in his later work is importantly different from that advocated in the early work. Indeed, it is sometimes even maintained that his…

Odai Al Zoubi in Issue 5

On Searle on Austin on Truth

Philosophy of language

John Searle gives two different interpretations to Austin’s view on truth: ‘the propositional interpretation’ and ‘the stating interpretation’. The former identifies what is true or false with the locutionary meaning, and the latter with the illocutionary act of stating. In this article, I argue that both interpretations are inaccurate, and I introduce a fresh interpretation that identifies what is true or false with the whole speech act.