The Problem of Objectivity

Donald Davidson

in Problems of Rationality

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780198237549
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601378 | DOI:
The Problem of Objectivity

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‘The Problem of Objectivity’ challenges the Cartesian picture according to which there is a metaphysical distinction between the inner and the outer, knowledge of one's own mind is more fundamental and secure than knowledge of other minds, knowledge is based on data given to the individual mind, and acquisition of knowledge is based on a progression from the subjective to the objective. Proposes a complete revision of this picture, substituting the inner/outer framework with an epistemologically extensional framework with practical abilities and the concept of error, of one making a mistake by one's own lights, at its centre. The concepts of an objective reality and truth, and thereby of the ability to raise Cartesian‐style sceptical doubts, are presumptions of thought itself. All propositional thought, according to the author, requires the possession of the concept of objective truth, and this concept is accessible only to those creatures that are in communication with others. Concludes that general sceptical claims are plainly unintelligible and that knowledge, being interpersonal, emerges holistically.

Keywords: Cartesian; error; holism; inner and outer; knowledge of other minds; objectivity; scepticism; subjectivity; truth

Chapter.  7236 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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