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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - Davidson on The Myth

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Patrice Philie

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Sept. 26, 2013 DAVIDSON – CONCEPTUAL SCHEMES THE PROBLEM The nature of a conceptual scheme A conceptual scheme can be characterized thus:  A way to organize experience -based on my perception from stimuli  A system of categories -we organize the world in terms of space and time -there are objects and colors (categories) -categories of human beings; language, human appearance, etc.  A ‘point of view’ Conceptual relativism:  The idea according to which these schemes may vary  Different ways to ‘organize experience’  Different basic ‘categories’ may exist  Different ‘world views’ -if someone has different categories, we will not understand their view. Conceptual relativism and skepticism If conceptual relativism is true, there is:  No absolute notion of objectivity  No absolute notion of reality  No absolute notion of truth -even if you believe in different conceptual schemes, you still believe in space and time Ex: Abortion – I believe x, you believe y -the very fact that we can debate over such topics proves that we share the same conceptual scheme. Quine Quine is a perfect example  The web of belief  Organizing and predicting experience  Experiences: nerve ending stimulations  On one side ‘content’, on the other concepts Experience is located between the subject and the world  Scheme / content distinction -scheme of beliefs (subject) vs content (world) This is Davidson’s third dogma of empiricism Davidson’s Thesis Davidson puts forward the idea according to which:  We can’t make sense of conceptual relativism In order to do that, he will defend the following thesis:  We have to abandon the scheme / content distinction CONCEPTUAL SCHEMES AND LANGUAGE Scientific revolutions and meaning  Newtonian physics to physics of relativity -time is a category – not relative (according to Philie)  Key words change meaning  Revolution in conceptual scheme: the world changes  The concept of meaning is fundamental here Meaning and
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