David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In K. R. Westphal (ed.), Pragmatism, Reason, & Norms: A Realistic Assessment. Fordham UP. 17--58 (1998)
By deepening Austin’s reflections on the ‘open texture’ of empirical concepts, Frederick L. Will defends an ‘externalist’ account of mental content: as human beings we could not think, were we not in fact cognizant of a natural world structured by events and objects with identifiable and repeatable similarities and differences. I explicate and defend Will’s insight by developing a parallel critique of Kant’s and Carnap’s rejections of realism, both of whom cannot account properly for the content of experience. This critique shows that Will has identified a genuinely transcendental basis for defending common-sense realism, without appeal to any high-level theory of knowledge. I then show how Will’s realism undercuts Simon Blackburn’s quasi-realism, Michael Williams’ partial defense of skepticism, John Haldane’s attempt to rehabilitate Aquinas’ account of concepts, and how it augments Crispin Wright’s defense of realism.
|Keywords||pragmatic realism open texture mental content externalism quasi-realism cognitive command Carnap internal and external questions Crispin Wright Michael Williams|
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