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Experience and the World's Own LanguageA Critique of John McDowell's Empiricism$
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Richard Gaskin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287253

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199287252.001.0001

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Experience and judgement

Experience and judgement

Chapter:
(p.65) III Experience and judgement
Source:
Experience and the World's Own Language
Author(s):

Richard Gaskin (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199287252.003.0003

There are several obstacles in McDowell’s thought to his embracing a conduit conception of experience. The main ones are: the idea that thinkers are free in making observational judgments, the suggestion that subjects are infallible about how things seem to them to be, and the individualistic and intellectualistic construction which McDowell puts upon the ‘order of justification’. The last of these means that McDowell insists that each individual must have self-conscious and articulable access to the propositional contents which justify his or her observational judgements. It is argued that this is a mistake: a subject can have an experience with a particular content even if he, she, or it lacks the mental resources to entertain self-conscious and verbalizable thought about that content, and so lacks the capacity to make the observational judgment which that experience would justify.

Keywords:   experience, freedom, infallibility, individualism, intellectualism, verbalization, order of justification, self-consciousness, judgement

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