On the conceptual foundations of anti-realism

Synthese 115 (1):33-70 (1998)
Abstract
The central premise of Michael Dummett's global argument for anti-realism is the thesis that a speaker's grasp of the meaning of a declarative, indexical-free sentence must be manifested in her uses of that sentence. This enigmatic thesis has been the subject of a great deal of discussion, and something of a consensus has emerged about its content and justification. The received view is that the manifestation thesis expresses a behaviorist and reductive theory of meaning, essentially in agreement with Quine's view of language, and motivated by worries about the epistemology of communication. In the present paper I begin by arguing that this standard interpretation of the manifestation thesis is neither particularly faithful to Dummett's writings nor philosophically compelling. I then continue by reconstructing, from Dummett's texts, an account of the manifestation thesis, and of its justification, that differ sharply from the received view. On my reading, the thesis is motivated not epistemologically, but conceptually. I argue that connections among our conceptions of meaning, assertion, and justification lead to a conclusion about the metaphysics of meaning: we cannot form a clearly coherent conception of how two speakers can attach different meanings to a sentence without at the same time differing in what they count as justifying assertions made with that sentence. I conclude with some suggestions about how Dummett's argument for global anti-realism should be understood, given my account of the manifestation thesis.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1005020809621
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,233
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Anti-Realist's Past.Sanford Shieh - 2008 - History and Theory 47 (2):270–278.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Meaning, Cognition, and the Philosophy of Thought.D. E. Bradshaw - 1998 - Journal of Philosophical Research 23:51-80.
Truth and the Enigma of Knowability.Bernhard Weiss - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (4):521–537.
Undecidability in Anti-Realism.Sanford Shieh - 1998 - Philosophia Mathematica 6 (3):324-333.
Ruling-Out Realism.Peter Carruthers - 1985 - Philosophia 15 (1-2):61-78.
The Manifestation Argument Reconsidered.José Tomás Alvarado - 2008 - International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):493-516.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

97 ( #52,952 of 2,172,871 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #324,901 of 2,172,871 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums