David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 115 (1):33-70 (1998)
The central premise of Michael Dummett's global argument for anti-realism is the thesis that a speaker's grasp of the meaning of a declarative, indexical-free sentence must be manifested in her uses of that sentence. This enigmatic thesis has been the subject of a great deal of discussion, and something of a consensus has emerged about its content and justification. The received view is that the manifestation thesis expresses a behaviorist and reductive theory of meaning, essentially in agreement with Quine's view of language, and motivated by worries about the epistemology of communication. In the present paper I begin by arguing that this standard interpretation of the manifestation thesis is neither particularly faithful to Dummett's writings nor philosophically compelling. I then continue by reconstructing, from Dummett's texts, an account of the manifestation thesis, and of its justification, that differ sharply from the received view. On my reading, the thesis is motivated not epistemologically, but conceptually. I argue that connections among our conceptions of meaning, assertion, and justification lead to a conclusion about the metaphysics of meaning: we cannot form a clearly coherent conception of how two speakers can attach different meanings to a sentence without at the same time differing in what they count as justifying assertions made with that sentence. I conclude with some suggestions about how Dummett's argument for global anti-realism should be understood, given my account of the manifestation thesis.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Sanford Shieh (2008). The Anti-Realist's Past. History and Theory 47 (2):270–278.
Similar books and articles
D. E. Bradshaw (1998). Meaning, Cognition, and the Philosophy of Thought. Journal of Philosophical Research 23:51-80.
Bernhard Weiss (2007). Truth and the Enigma of Knowability. Dialectica 61 (4):521–537.
Sanford Shieh (1998). Undecidability in Anti-Realism. Philosophia Mathematica 6 (3):324-333.
Darragh Byrne (2005). Compositionality and the Manifestation Challenge. Synthese 144 (1):101--136.
Peter Carruthers (1985). Ruling-Out Realism. Philosophia 15 (1-2):61-78.
Peter Pagin (2009). Compositionality, Understanding, and Proofs. Mind 118 (471):713 - 737.
José Tomás Alvarado (2008). The Manifestation Argument Reconsidered. International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):493-516.
Rupert Read (2002). Is ‘What is Time?’ A Good Question to Ask? Philosophy 77 (2):193-210.
WR Stirton (1997). Anti-Realism, Truth-Conditions and Verificationism. Mind 106 (424):697-716.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads58 ( #29,244 of 1,101,939 )
Recent downloads (6 months)13 ( #17,620 of 1,101,939 )
How can I increase my downloads?