Triangulation, Objectivity and the Ambiguity Problem

Critica 35 (105):25-48 (2003)
Davidson claims that a creature that has spent its entire life in isolation cannot have thoughts. His two reasons for this claim are that interaction with another creature is required to locate the cause of the creature's responses, and that linguistic communication is necessary to acquire the concept of objective truth, which is itself required in order to have thoughts. I argue that, at best, these two reasons imply that in order to have thoughts a creature must be capable of participating in triangulation, not that it must have already participated in triangulation. I then argue that triangulation doesn't solve the ambiguity problem; that is, it doesn't entail that a being's thoughts and utterances are about distal objects rather than proximal patterns of stimulation. Fortunately, ambiguity, like other forms of indeterminacy, doesn't entail that we cannot have thoughts. /// Davidson afirma que una criatura que ha pasado su vida entera aislada no puede tener pensamientos. Aduce dos razones para esto: que se requiere la interacción con otra criatura para localizar la causa de las respuestas de la criatura, y que la comunicación lingüística es necesaria para adquirir el concepto de verdad objetiva, que a su vez es necesario para tener pensamientos. Argumento que, en el mejor de los casos, estas dos razones implican que para tener pensamientos una criatura debe ser capaz de participar en una triangulacion, no que ya debe haber participado en ella. Arguyo, además, que la triangulación no resuelve el problema de la ambigüedad, esto es, no implica que lo que un ser piensa y dice sea acerca de objetos distantes, más que de patrones de estimulacion próximos. Por fortuna, la ambigiiedad, como otras formas de indeterminación, no implica que no podamos tener pensamientos
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Claudine Verheggen (2007). Triangulating with Davidson. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):96-103.

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