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Truth, Language, and HistoryPhilosophical Essays Volume 5$
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Donald Davidson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/019823757X.001.0001

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Seeing Through Language

Seeing Through Language

Chapter:
(p.127) 9 Seeing Through Language
Source:
Truth, Language, and History
Author(s):

Donald Davidson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019823757X.003.0009

This essay argues that while there is an important sense in which we see the world through language, common ways of understanding this metaphor are false. It criticises mentalese, the thesis that there is an inborn ‘language of thought’, and discusses the conditions necessary for creatures to acquire concepts, thoughts and language. The birth of meaning occurs through interpersonal communication about a shared, public world, and depends on the fact that human creatures have shared needs and interests.

Keywords:   language, metaphor, meaning, mentalese, communication

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