On the conceivability of an omniscient interpreter

Dialogue 46 (4):627-636 (2007)
Abstract
l examine the “omniscient interpreter” (OI) argument against scepticism that Donald Davidson published in 1977 only to retract it twenty-two years later. I argue that the argument’s persuasiveness has been underestimated. I defend it against the charges that Davidson assumes the actual existence of an OI and that Davidson’s other philosophical commitments are incompatible with the very conceivability of an OI. The argument’s surface implausibility derivesfrom Davidson’s suggestion that an OI would attribute beliefs using the same methods as afallible human interpreter. But this problem can be remedied via the adoption of an ambiguity theory of belief.J’examine l’argument de “l’interprète omniscient” (IO) contre les objections sceptiques formulées par Donald Davidson en 1977, qu’il a rétractées vingt-deux ans plus tard. Je soutiens que la force de cet argument a été sous-estimée. Je m’inscris en faux contre les critiques voulant que Davidson ait supposé l’existence effective de l’IO, et que les autres croyances philosophiques de Davidson soientincompatibles avec la possibilité de concevoir l’idée d’un IO. Si l’argument semble peu plausible à prime abord, c’est que Davidson a suggéré qu’un IO attribuait les croyances en utilisant les mêmes méthodes qu’un interprète humain faillible. On peut remédier à ce problème en adoptant une théorie de l’ambiguïté des croyances
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