David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Grazer Philosophische Studien 46:173-195 (1993)
There is a great deal of terminological confusion in discussions of holism. While some well-known authors, such as Davidson and Quine, have used “holism” in various of their writings,2 it is not clear that they have held views attributed to them under that label, views that are said to have wildly counterintuitive results.3 In Davidson’s case, it is not clear that he is describing the same doctrine in each of his uses of “holism” or “holistic.” Critics of holism show a similar license. My aim in this paper, therefore, cannot be to provide and to examine a characterization of content holism that matches every use that has been made of the term. I aim rather to give a precise form to a holistic doctrine at one end of a spectrum of views that ranges from localism or atomism about content to holism about content. This view has the wild consequences often attributed to holism. While it is dubious that anyone has ever seriously held the view I characterize,4 some view like it seems to be what critics often have in mind when arguing against content holism. It is therefore worthwhile to make it precise, to distinguish it from other, related views, and to examine its internal coherence. Thus, in this paper, I will, first, clarify the doctrine, or a doctrine, of content holism, and, second, argue that content holism (so characterized) is not just false (which may be readily granted) but self-contradictory. To begin, we must distinguish between meaning holism and content holism. Let us reserve the term “meaning holism” for doctrines which are about the conditions for the possibility of linguistic expressions having meanings. Meaning holism is therefore a doctrine in the domain of the philosophy of language. “Content holism,” in contrast, we will treat as a doctrine in the philosophy of mind, about the conditions for the possibility of a thought5 having a content. By “a content” we mean, intuitively, what..
|Keywords||Content Holism Language|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Nathaniel Goldberg (2009). Triangulation, Untranslatability, and Reconciliation. Philosophia 37 (2):261-280.
Similar books and articles
Henry Jackman (1999). Moderate Holism and the Instability Thesis. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):361-69.
Cesare Cozzo (2002). Does Epistemological Holism Lead to Meaning Holism? Topoi 21 (1-2):25-45.
Arnold Silverberg (1994). Meaning Holism and Intentional Content. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 75 (1):29-53.
Ron Mallon, Differences Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Belief Ascription: A Problem with Block's Argument for Holism.
Andrew Pessin (1995). In Defense of Conceptual Holism: Reply to Fodor and Lepore. Journal of Philosophical Research 20:269-280.
Ned Block (1995). An Argument for Holism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95:151-70.
Jonathan Berg (ed.) (1993). Holism: A Consumer Update. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Fabrice Pataut (1997). Holism of Content Ascription and Holism of Belief Content. In Analyomen 2, Volume III: Philosophy of Mind, Practical Philosophy, Miscellanea. Hawthorne: De Gruyter
M. McDermott (2001). Quine's Holism and Functionalist Holism. Mind 110 (440):977-1025.
Ned Block (1995). Ruritania Revisited. Philosophical Issues 6:171-187.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads48 ( #70,234 of 1,725,822 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #56,105 of 1,725,822 )
How can I increase my downloads?