Davidson's transcendental externalism

One of the chief aims of Donald Davidson's later work was to show that participation in a certain causal nexus involving two creatures and a shared environment–Davidson calls this nexus “triangulation”–is a metaphysically necessary condition for the acquisition of thought. This doctrine, I suggest, is aptly regarded as a form of what I call transcendental externalism. I extract two arguments for the transcendental-externalist doctrine from Davidson's writings, and argue that neither succeeds. A central interpretive claim is that the arguments are primarily funded by a particular conception of the nature of non-human animal life. This conception turns out to be insupportable. The failure of Davidson's arguments presses the question of whether we could ever hope to arrive at far-reaching claims about the conditions for thought if we deny, as does Davidson, the legitimacy of the naturalistic project in the philosophy of mind.
Keywords externalism  animal minds  triangulation  Donald Davidson
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2006.tb00619.x
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References found in this work BETA
John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
C. M. Heyes (1998). Theory of Mind in Nonhuman Primates. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):101-114.

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Citations of this work BETA
Donnchadh O.’Conaill (2014). The Space of Motivations. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (3):440-455.
Ben Kotzee (2014). Language Learning in Wittgenstein and Davidson. Studies in Philosophy and Education 33 (4):413-431.

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