Interpreting autism: A critique of Davidson on thought and language

Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):317-332 (2002)
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Abstract

Donald Davidson's account of interpretation purports to be a priori , though I argue that the empirical facts about interpretation, theory of mind, and autism must be considered when examining the merits of Davidson's view. Developmental psychologists have made plausible claims about the existence of some people with autism who use language but who are unable to interpret the minds of others. This empirical claim undermines Davidson's theoretical claims that all speakers must be interpreters of other speakers and that one need not be a speaker in order to be a thinker. The falsity of these theses has consequences for other parts of Davidson's world-view; for example, it undermines his argument against animal thought.

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Kristin Andrews
York University

Citations of this work

Belief.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Do Animals Engage in Conceptual Thought?Jacob Beck - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (3):218-229.
Minding Theory of Mind.Melanie Yergeau & Bryce Huebner - 2017 - Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (3):273-296.

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