McDowell's Conceptualist Therapy for Skepticism

European Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):357-386 (2011)
Abstract: In Mind and World, McDowell conceives of the content of perceptual experiences as conceptual. This picture is supposed to provide a therapy for skepticism, by showing that empirical thinking is objectively and normatively constrained. The paper offers a reconstruction of McDowell's view and shows that the therapy fails. This claim is based on three arguments: 1) the identity conception of truth he exploits is unable to sustain the idea that perception-judgment transitions are normally truth conducing; 2) it could be plausible only from an externalist point of view that is in tension with the view of normativity that motivates conceptualism; 3) the identity conception of truth is incompatible with McDowell's recent version of conceptualism in terms of ‘non-propositional intuitive contents’
Keywords Conceptualism  Identity conception of truth  External world skepticism  Non-conceptual content
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2009.00383.x
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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