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Authors: Roskies, Adina
Title: Davidson on believers : can non-linguistic creatures have propositional attitudes?
Online publication date: 31-Oct-2016
Language: english
Abstract: Donald Davidson has argued that only language-users can have propositional attitudes. His strongest argument in support of this claim is one that links having propositional attitudes to language via a concept of belief. Here I consider various possible interpretations of this argument, looking first at the canonical conception of a concept of belief from the Theory of Mind literature, then at a weaker notion of the concept of belief corresponding to a conception of objective reality, and finally at an intermediate notion involving the ability to attribute mental states. I argue that under each of these various interpretations, analysis and appeal to empirical evidence from developmental and comparative psychology shows the Davidsonian argument to be unsound. Only on a reading of the argument that slides between different interpretations of “concept of belief” are all the premises true, but in that case the argument is invalid. I conclude that Davidson doesn’t provide sufficient reason to deny that non-linguistic creatures can have propositional attitudes.
DDC: 100 Philosophie
100 Philosophy
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-publ-550543
Version: Published version
Publication type: Buchbeitrag
License: in Copyright
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Citation: Open MIND
Metzinger, Thomas
Pages or article number: Kap. 33(T)
Publisher: MIND Group
Publisher place: Frankfurt am Main
Issue date: 2015
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.15502/9783958570337
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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