The unavailability of what we mean: A reply to Quine, Fodor and Lepore

In Grazer Philosophische Studien. Amsterdam: Rodopi 61-101 (1993)
Fodor and LePore's attack on conceptual role semantics relies on Quine's attack on the traditional analytic/synthetic and a priori/a posteriori distinctions, which in turn consists of four arguments: an attack on truth by convention; an appeal to revisability; a claim of confirmation holism; and a charge of explanatory vacuity. Once the different merits of these arguments are sorted out, their proper target can be seen to be not the Traditional Distinctions, but an implicit assumption about their superficial availability that we have abundant reason to reject. Once we reject it, we can see how issues of the absorbtion of conventions, the revisability of belief, and confirmation holism are compatible with the Traditional Distinctions, and that Quine's discussion only serves to camouflage the question of whether some confirmation relations are constitutive of meaning and knowable a priori
Keywords Holism  Mental States  Fodor, J  Lepore, E  Quine
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DOI 10.5840/gps1993464
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