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Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation$
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Donald Davidson

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246298

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246297.001.0001

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(p.281) Appendix to Essay 10: Belief and the Basis of Meaning (1974)

(p.281) Appendix to Essay 10: Belief and the Basis of Meaning (1974)

Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation

Donald Davidson

Oxford University Press

Davidson responds to David Lewis’ and W.V. Quine's replies to Essay 10.

He discusses the various interpretative principles Lewis improved on (Charity, Rationalization, Truthfulness) and then raises the issue whether, as Lewis seemed to suggest, we can interpret utterances and beliefs independently of employing intentional idiom (that is, whether we can employ a reductive, physical framework to get the same interpretative results). Agreeing with Lewis on the supervenience of the mental on the physical (but disqualifying his ontic monism in a new footnote as not even ‘materialist’), Davidson stresses the analytical irreducibility of the former to the latter (he refers us to Essay 11 of his Essays on Actions and Events). In relation to both Lewis and Quine, he discusses the degree of determinacy ineliminable from his truth‐theoretic approach to interpretation.

Keywords:   anti‐reductionism, indeterminacy of translation, Lewis, physicalism, Principle of Charity, Quine, supervenience

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