Mind, body, and world: Todes and McDowell on bodies and language

Inquiry 48 (1):38-61 (2005)
Abstract
Dreyfus presents Todes's (2001) republished Body and World as an anticipatory response to McDowell (1994) which shows how preconceptual perception can ground conceptual thought. I argue that Dreyfus is mistaken on this point: Todes's claim that perceptual experience is preconceptual presupposes an untenable account of conceptual thought. I then show that Todes nevertheless makes two important contributions to McDowell's project. First, he develops an account of perception as bodily second nature, and as a practical-perceptual openness to the world, which constructively develops McDowell's view. Second, and more important, this account highlights the practical and perceptual dimension of linguistic competence. The result is that perception is conceptual "all the way down" only because discursive conceptualization is perceptual and practical "all the way up". This conjunction of McDowell and Todes on the bodily dimensions of discursive practice also vindicates Davidson's and Brandom's criticisms of McDowell's version of empiricism
Keywords Body  Empiricism  Epistemology  Language  Mind  Perception  Mcdowell, J  Todes, S
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