E Pluribus Unum: Arguments against Conceptual Schemes and Empirical Content

Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (4):411-438 (2004)
Abstract
The idea that there are conceptual schemes, relative to which we conceptualize experience, and empirical content, the “raw” data of experience that get conceptualized through our conceptual schemes into beliefs or sentences, is not new. The idea that there are neither conceptual schemes nor empirical content, however, is. Moreover, it is so new, that only four arguments have so far been given against this dualism, with Donald Davidson himself presenting versions of all four. In this paper, I show that in both the general and Davidson’s specific form the first three arguments against scheme-content dualism rely on the fourth. From many there is just one. Then I show that the fate of the first three arguments against scheme-content dualism hangs on that of the fourth. Finally I present four reasons why the fourth argument fails. For the sake of the dualism’s detractors, therefore, one can only hope that forthcoming arguments against scheme-content dualism fare better than those given so far.
Keywords Davidson, Donald  Kant, Immanuel  conceptual scheme  empirical content  scheme/content dualism  incommensurability  Kuhn, Thomas
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Nathaniel Jason Goldberg (2009). Historicism, Entrenchment, and Conventionalism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 40 (2):259 - 276.

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