The Davidson – Meredith Williams discussion on the sociality of language and normativity

Ricardo Joaquín Navia


We focus on the recent Davidson – Meredith Williams discussion about the sociality of language and the paradox of interpretation, as we believe that in it some decisive assumptions concerning basic normativity are at stake. The argument of triangulation is introduced by Davidson for the purpose of showing the minimum conditions necessary for the emergence of basic standards required for thought and language, highlighting the essentially social nature of both. In this context, an issue on which the discussion has focused is how to understand the sociality of language without relapse into the paradox of interpretation, which seems to occur in the classical conception of Kripke. In this article we propose: (i) a reconstruction of the argument of triangulation; (ii) some considerations on two aspects of the philosophical meaning of that argument: (a) the origin and function of the concept of objectivity (b) the feasibility of relying on it for a naturalistic but not reductionist account of propositional attitudes. Finally, (iii) a first examination of some Williams’ objections to the conception of Davidson about the sociality of language. My final aim is to outline the minimum conditions for a conception of sociality that allows us to avoid relapse into Wittgenstein’s paradox.

Keywords: objectivity, paradox of interpretation, triangulation.

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ISSN: 1984-8234 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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