Meaning, Evidence, and Objectivity

In Syraya Chin-Mu Yang & Robert H. Myers (eds.), Donald Davidson on Action, Mind and Value. pp. 171-184 (2021)

Abstract

This chapter addresses the question of what, according to the conception of meaning offered by Donald Davidson, makes expressions meaningful. It addresses this question by reflecting on Kathrin Glüer’s recent response to it. It argues that Glüer misconstrues both the evidence for meaning that the radical interpreter must rely on and the way in which the principle of charity must be deployed. The articulation of the correct construal of the evidence and the principle reveals the thoroughly non-reductionist aspect of Davidson’s conception of meaning. This aspect becomes even clearer in his later work, through the articulation of the triangulation argument. The chapter shows how this argument, which is reconstructed in accordance with Claudine Verheggen’s interpretation of it, helps answer the initial question. It ends with a brief discussion of the question whether the conception has the resources to account for the objectivity of meaning.

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Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.

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