Davidson’s Transcendental Externalism


Authors
Jason Bridges
University of Chicago
Abstract
One of the chief aims of Donald Davidson's later work was to show that participation in a certain causal nexus involving two creatures and a shared environment–Davidson calls this nexus “triangulation”–is a metaphysically necessary condition for the acquisition of thought. This doctrine, I suggest, is aptly regarded as a form of what I call transcendental externalism. I extract two arguments for the transcendental-externalist doctrine from Davidson's writings, and argue that neither succeeds. A central interpretive claim is that the arguments are primarily funded by a particular conception of the nature of non-human animal life. This conception turns out to be insupportable. The failure of Davidson's arguments presses the question of whether we could ever hope to arrive at far-reaching claims about the conditions for thought if we deny, as does Davidson, the legitimacy of the naturalistic project in the philosophy of mind.
Keywords externalism  animal minds  triangulation  Donald Davidson
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2006.tb00619.x
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References found in this work BETA

Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Theory of Mind in Nonhuman Primates.C. M. Heyes - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):101-114.
Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective.Donald Davidson - 1996 - In Philosophy. Bristol: Thoemmes. pp. 555-558.
The Emergence of Thought.Donald Davidson - 1999 - Erkenntnis 51 (1):511-521.

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Citations of this work BETA

Communication and Rational Responsiveness to the World.Robert Briscoe - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2):135-159.
Resisting the Disenchantment of Nature: McDowell and the Question of Animal Minds.Carl B. Sachs - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (2):131-147.
The Space of Motivations.Donnchadh O’Conaill - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (3):440-455.

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