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Colin McGinn

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251584.001.0001

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Radical Interpretation and Epistemology

Radical Interpretation and Epistemology

(p.181) 9 Radical Interpretation and Epistemology
Knowledge and Reality

Colin McGinn (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this companion to ‘Charity, Interpretation, and Belief’, McGinn broadens his attack on Davidson's principle of charity, arguing that charity is no more required for the ascription of notional beliefs (i.e. shared concepts) than it is for the ascription of relational beliefs. His argument takes the form of a reductio: if Davidson were right that about the inherently charitable nature of interpretation, then, McGinn argues, traditional sceptical worries (e.g. concerning the external world, other minds) would not even arise. But that is absurd. In the concluding section, McGinn presents his preferred (Quinean) method of interpretation, according to which the ascription of beliefs and meanings proceeds only after the attribution of perceptual experiences.

Keywords:   belief, charity, concepts, content, Davidson, epistemology, experience, externalism, notional belief, Quine, radical interpretation, scepticism

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