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The Limits of Realism$
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Tim Button

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672172.001.0001

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Davidson’s Cogito

Davidson’s Cogito

(p.141) 14 Davidson’s Cogito
The Limits of Realism

Tim Button

Oxford University Press

This chapter constitutes a slight digression from the debate between internal and external realism. Chapters 12 and 13 treated the brain-in-vat scenario as an attempt to generate nightmarish Cartesian angst. As Davidson points out, however, it is very doubtful that a brain-in-vat’s beliefs are largely false. This forms the basis of Davidson’s Cogito—I think, therefore I am mostly right—which rebuts any attempt to formulate nightmarish Cartesian angst. Davidson’s Cogito is sometimes connected with a coherence theory of truth, and this can give rise to Kantian sceptical worries. Fortunately, the coherence theory of truth can be avoided. Moreover, any ineffable anxieties that might seem to arise from reflections on Davidson’s Cogito are simply the result of a failure of nerve, rather than of any intelligible deep insight.

Keywords:   putnam’s brain-in-vat argument, davidson’s cogito argument, davidson’s anti-sceptical argument, interpretationism, cartesian scepticism, kantian scepticism, coherence theory of truth, bubble scepticism, metaphysical scepticism

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