Dummett and the problem of the vanishing past

Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 7:37-47 (2008)
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Dummett has recently presented his most mature and sophisticated version of justificationism, i.e. the view that meaning and truth are to be analysed in terms of justifiability. In this paper, I argue that this conception does not resolve a difficulty that also affected Dummett’s earlier version of justificationism: the problem that large tracts of the past continuously vanish as their traces in the present dissipate. Since Dummett’s justificationism is essentially based on the assumption that the speaker has limited (i.e. non-idealized) cognitive powers, no further refinement of this position is likely to settle the problem of the vanishing past

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Luca Moretti
University of Aberdeen


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