There is no such thing as predication

Abstract
In a memorable paper, Donald Davidson (1986, p. 446) insists that "there is no such thing as a language, not if a language is anything like what many philosophers and linguists have supposed". I have always taken this as an exaggeration, albeit an apt exaggeration that might be philosophically helpful. Now when it comes to predication, what I would have expected to hear from the same author would be along the lines of "there is no such thing as predication ... ". But instead of this I hear something very different (Davidson, 2005, p. 77): [I]f we do not understand predication, we do not understand how any sentence works, nor can we account for the structure of the simplest thought that is expressible in language. At one time there was much discussion of what was called the "unity of proposition"; it is just this unity that a theory of predication must explain. The philosophy of language lacks its most important chapter without such a theory, the philosophy of mind is missing its crucial first step if it cannot describe the nature of judgment; and it is woeful if metaphysics cannot say how a substance is related to its attributes. I find myself at odds with just about everything written in this paragraph; and what is worse, my disagreement stems from a notion of language which I believe I have acquired also by reading Davidson. Reading this passage, I desperately sought for an indication that it was leading up to some catch, and not meant to be taken at face value. But, alas, I am afraid there is none. To avoid misunderstanding: I see nothing wrong in understanding predication as a clearly delimited linguistic phenomenon. We put together one kind of expression, which we have come to call the subject, with a different kind of expression, called the predicate, possibly..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,371
External links
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
Similar books and articles
Bo Mou (2008). A Subject-Comment Account of Predication. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:167-191.
Phil Corkum (2013). Aristotle on Predication. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (2).
Martha I. Gibson (1998). The Unity of the Sentence and the Connection of Causes. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (4):827-845.
Joseph Margolis (2007). Historicity and the Politics of Predication. Journal of the Philosophy of History 1 (1):79-100.
Danny Frederick (2011). P. F. Strawson on Predication. Polish Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):39-57.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-03-24

Total downloads

54 ( #30,048 of 1,102,818 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #182,775 of 1,102,818 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.