Grazer Philosophische Studien 46 (1):173-195 (1993)
AbstractThere is a great deal of terminological confusion in discussions of holism. While some well-known authors, such as Davidson and Quine, have used “holism” in various of their writings,2 it is not clear that they have held views attributed to them under that label, views that are said to have wildly counterintuitive results.3 In Davidson’s case, it is not clear that he is describing the same doctrine in each of his uses of “holism” or “holistic.” Critics of holism show a similar license. My aim in this paper, therefore, cannot be to provide and to examine a characterization of content holism that matches every use that has been made of the term. I aim rather to give a precise form to a holistic doctrine at one end of a spectrum of views that ranges from localism or atomism about content to holism about content. This view has the wild consequences often attributed to holism. While it is dubious that anyone has ever seriously held the view I characterize,4 some view like it seems to be what critics often have in mind when arguing against content holism. It is therefore worthwhile to make it precise, to distinguish it from other, related views, and to examine its internal coherence. Thus, in this paper, I will, first, clarify the doctrine, or a doctrine, of content holism, and, second, argue that content holism (so characterized) is not just false (which may be readily granted) but self-contradictory. To begin, we must distinguish between meaning holism and content holism. Let us reserve the term “meaning holism” for doctrines which are about the conditions for the possibility of linguistic expressions having meanings. Meaning holism is therefore a doctrine in the domain of the philosophy of language. “Content holism,” in contrast, we will treat as a doctrine in the philosophy of mind, about the conditions for the possibility of a thought5 having a content. By “a content” we mean, intuitively, what..
Similar books and articles
Moderate Holism and the Instability Thesis.Henry Jackman - 1999 - American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):361-69.
Holism of Content Ascription and Holism of Belief Content.Fabrice Pataut - 1997 - In Analyomen 2, Volume III: Philosophy of Mind, Practical Philosophy, Miscellanea. Hawthorne: De Gruyter.
In Defense of Conceptual Holism: Reply to Fodor and Lepore.Andrew Pessin - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:269-280.
Differences Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Belief Ascription: A Problem with Block's Argument for Holism.Ron Mallon - unknown
Meaning Holism and Intentional Content.Arnold Silverberg - 1994 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 75 (1):29-53.
Does Epistemological Holism Lead to Meaning Holism?Cesare Cozzo - 2002 - Topoi 21 (1-2):25-45.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Triangulation, Untranslatability, and Reconciliation.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (2):261-280.