Davidson's Triangulation: Content‐Endowing Causes and Circularity

Maria Lasonen-Aarnio
University of Helsinki
In this article we aim to reconstruct some aspects of Davidson's idea of triangulation, and against this reconstruction, ask whether the idea is viciously circular. We begin by looking at the claim that without a triangularn setting, there is no saying what the cause of a being's responses is. In the first section we discuss the notion of relevant similarity, and what difference the presence of a second non‐linguistic being could make for the individuation of a common focus of attention. In the second section we look at the role of a second person in language‐acquisition. It is important that being corrected to ‘go on as others do’ does not yet presuppose thought, and similarity standards can be applied to a learner's reactions even before she is aware of these standards. We also show why Davidson is not committed to any consensus view of correctness. In the last section we discern three charges of circularity that can be levelled against the idea of triangulation. We argue that Davidson can respond to the first two charges, and point to a way of answering the third. But the response we propound raises a new question, namely, why does the second being have to be a speaker or thinker even before the learner is aware of the three points of the triangle?
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DOI 10.1080/09672550410001678784
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References found in this work BETA

Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.Paul Horwich - 1982 - Philosophy of Science 51 (1):163-171.
Kripke on Wittgenstein on Rules.Warren Goldfarb - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (9):471.
Davidson's Second Person.Claudine Verheggen - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):361-369.
Davidson's Social Externalism.Steven Yalowitz - 1999 - Philosophia 27 (1-2):99-136.

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Radical Interpretation and the Problem of Asymmetry.Greg Lynch - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (4):473-488.
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