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Problems of Rationality$
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Donald Davidson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0198237545.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

The Problem of Objectivity

The Problem of Objectivity

(p.3) 1 The Problem of Objectivity
Problems of Rationality

Donald Davidson

Oxford University Press

‘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

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