Skepticism and interpretation

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Donald Davidson has argued that attention to the necessarily public character of language shows that we cannot be massively mistaken about the world around us, and that consequently skeptical doubts about empirical knowledge are misplaced. The arguments Davidson advances rely on taking as the fundamental methodological standpoint for investigating meaning and related concepts the standpoint of the interpreter of another speaker, on the grounds that it is from the interpreter’s standpoint that we discover what constraints are placed on meaning by the public character of language. In this paper, I argue that although Davidson’s arguments reveal important conceptual connections between meaning and belief on the one hand, and truth and interpretation on the other, they do not show that it is impossible that we are massively mistaken about the external world.
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Donald Davidson.Ernest Lepore & Kirk Ludwig - 2004 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 28 (1):309–333.
Duplicating Thoughts.Ludwig, Kirk A.

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