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Knowledge and RealitySelected Essays$
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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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Truth and Use

Truth and Use

(p.225) 11 Truth and Use
Knowledge and Reality

Colin McGinn (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this response to the work of Michael Dummett, McGinn aims to vindicate the plausibility of a realist outlook. Realism claims that a sentence's truth is ‘epistemically unconstrained’ or ‘knowledge‐transcendent’, in the sense that the world is as it is independently of our knowing truths about it. Contra Dummett's arguments against the tenability of this realist conviction, McGinn's counter‐argument proceeds by showing, first, ‘that it is an empiricist dogma to suppose that we cannot acquire conceptions that transcend our experience (“recognitional capacities”),’ and second, ‘that we can connect experience‐transcendent conceptions with linguistic use by making the (deflationary) observation that such conceptions are fit subjects for communicative speech acts’.

Keywords:   anti‐realism, Dummett, empiricism, experience, Quine, realism, reality, recognitional capacity, truth, use

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