Experiencing the facts (critical notice of McDowell)

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):613-36 (1996)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The general topic of "Mind and World", the written version of John McDowell's 1991 John Locke Lectures, is how `concepts mediate the relation between minds and the world'. And one of the main aims is `to suggest that Kant should still have a central place in our discussion of the way thought bears on reality' (1).1 In particular, McDowell urges us to adopt a thesis that he finds in Kant, or perhaps in Strawson's Kant: the content of experience is conceptualized; _what_ we experience is always the kind of thing that we could also believe. When an agent has a veridical experience, she `takes in, for instance sees, _that things are thus and so_' (9). McDowell's argument for this thesis is indirect, but potentially powerful. He discusses a tension concerning the roles of experience and conceptual capacities in thought, and he claims that the only adequate resolution involves granting that experiences have conceptualized content. The tension, elaborated below, can be expressed roughly as follows: judgments must be somehow constrained by features of the external environment, else judgments would be utterly divorced from the world they purport to be about; yet our judgments must be somehow free of external control, else we could give no sense to the idea that we are responsible for our judgments



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,998

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

120 (#149,959)

6 months
4 (#792,283)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Paul Pietroski
Rutgers - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

Living in the “space of reasons”: The “rationality debate” revisited.David Davies - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):231 – 244.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references