Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 35, number 105, diciembre 2003
Triangulation, Objectivity and the Ambiguity Problem
[Triangulación, objetividad y el problema de la ambigüedad]
Martin Montminy
Philosophy Department
University of Ottawa

montminy@uottawa.ca

Abstract: Davidson claims that a creature that has spent its entire life in isolation cannot have thoughts. His two reasons for this claim are that (i) interaction with another creature (what he calls "triangulation") is required to locate the cause of the creature's responses, and that (ii) linguistic communication is necessary to acquire the concept of objective truth, which is itself required in order to have thoughts. I argue that, at best, these two reasons imply that in order to have thoughts a creature must be capable of participating in triangulation, not that it must have already participated in triangulation. I then argue that triangulation doesn't solve the ambiguity problem; that is, it doesn't entail that a being's thoughts and utterances are about distal objects rather than proximal patterns of stimulation. Fortunately, ambiguity, like other forms of indeterminacy, doesn't entail that we cannot have thoughts.
Keywords: Davidson, interpretation, reference, norm

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