Objectivity, Explanation, and Cognitive Shortfall

Stewart Shapiro

in Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199278053
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745386 | DOI:
Objectivity, Explanation, and Cognitive Shortfall

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The chapter addresses some of Wright’s main theses in his widely influential Truth and Objectivity. According to Wright, objectivity is not a univocal concept. There are different notions or axes of objectivity, and a given chunk of discourse can exhibit some of these and not others. The purpose of this chapter is to explore aspects of two of these axes, cognitive command and the width of cosmological role. In both cases, we quickly run up against a sort of Kant/Waismann/Quine perspective. We have to explore the extent to which we can sort out the aspects of our best theories, explanations, and, indeed, statements, that are tied to human interests, perspectives, and judgements, and the parts that are tied to the way the world is, independent of said interests, perspectives, and judgements. We also encounter delicate issues in epistemology and the philosophy of science along the way.

Keywords: objectivity; Quine; Waismann; Kant; cognitive command; width of cosmological role; underdetermination of theory by data

Chapter.  14069 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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