Davidson and Wittgenstein on knowledge, communication and social justice

In C. G. Prado (ed.), A House Divided: Comparing Analytic and Continental Philosophy. Humanity Books (2003)
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Abstract

The works of the later Wittgenstein resonate with aspects of the pragmatist tradition in American philosophy. Davidson’s work is similarly informed. We argue that because of their association with the pragmatist tradition, their work can be put to use by philosophers interested in social justice issues, including, for example, feminism, and critical race theory. Philosophers concerned with social justice continue to struggle between the extremes of an untenable foundationalism and a radical relativism. Given their holistic understanding of knowledge, meaning and communication, the work of Wittgenstein and Davidson is particularly suited to dissolving the foundationalist/relativist dichotomy. We explore how this and other features of their work facilitates philosophy for social change.

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Sharyn Clough
Oregon State University

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