Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

Norm and Failure in Mind and Meaning [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 5 • Author/s: Akeel Bilgrami
Topics: 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 paper, the concept of failure is made central to the argument.

Radical Interpretation and Pragmatic Enrichment [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 5 • Author/s: Peter Pagin
Topics: 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 s might be too loose for charity to confirm the correct interpretation hypothesis. To solve this problem, I apply the…

Language’s Dreamwork Reconsidered [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 5 • Author/s: Andreas Heise
Topics: 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 connected insofar as Davidson makes the following assumptions. First, metaphors cause their distinctive effects in an a-rational way. Second, seeing-as…

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

Issue: Issue 5 • Author/s: Daniel D. Hutto, Glenda Satne
Topics: 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 the rest of nature. The otherseeks to locate thought within nature. Taken to extremes these different strands in Davidson’s thinking…

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

Issue: Issue 5 • Author/s: Claudine Verheggen
Topics: 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 semantic externalism emerged only, roughly, in his later work. I argue that Davidson’s semantic externalism has always been not only…

Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule on Conspiracy Theories [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 6 • Author/s: David Coady
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

I criticise Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule’s influential critique of conspiracy theories in “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures”. I argue that their position depends on an equivocation over the meaning of the term ‘conspiracy theory’. This equivocation reflects a widespread assumption that conspiracy theories tend to be false, unjustified and harmful, and that, as a result, we can speak as if all conspiracy theories are objectionable in each of these three ways. I argue that this assumption is itself false, unjustified, and harmful. There are many true, justified, and/or beneficial…

Dummett on McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time

Issue: Issue 6 • Author/s: Brian Garrett
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

Michael Dummett’s paper “A Defence of McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time” put forward an ingenious interpretation of McTaggart’s famous proof. My aim in this discussion is not to assess the cogency of McTaggart’s reasoning, but to criticise Dummett’s interpretation of McTaggart.

Searle On Normativity and Institutional Metaphysics [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 7 • Author/s: William Butchard, Robert D'Amico
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language

In Speech Acts Searle argued for a version of philosophical naturalism by, in part, replying to G.E. Moore’s famous claim that naturalism, if it included any evaluative claims, would be clearly fallacious. We make the case that Searle’s reply was not the disaster it is sometimes claimed to have been. In our discussion we pay special attention to Searle’s introduction of such key concepts as brute facts, institutional facts, and constitutive rules. We also make a broader case for the ‘constitutive’ connections as central to Searle’s often misunderstood metaphysical views.…

 Meta-Meta-institutional Concepts? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 7 • Author/s: Guglielmo Feis
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of law, Theoretical philosophy

The paper is a critical analysis of Hubert Schwyzer’s idea of meta-institutional concepts. First, I isolate a presupposition in Schwyzer’s example of chess as ritual. I then show how Schwyzer’s idea of meta-institutional concepts is far from being the endgame in the research on levels of institutionality. In fact, we can iterate on meta-institutional concepts. Schwyzer’s idea has to face an infinite regress. I try to avoid such a regress by introducing the concept of technical end of game. A game defines its own terminal status. People playing the game…

Constitutive Rules: The Manifest Image and the Deep Image. [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 7 • Author/s: Maurizio Ferraris
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Social objects originate from constitutive rules. But there are two ways of explaining the relationship between them. I call them “Manifest Image” and “Deep Image”. The former depends on Searle’s interpretation of social reality and it is based on collective intentionality; the latter is the one I support and it is based on documentality. Indeed, recordings and documents are sufficient to explain how and why social world exists. There is no need to use such a vague notion, as that of collective intentionality, in order to give a useful account…
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