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Fallibility, Skepticism, and Distance in John McDowell's "Mind and World"

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dc.contributor.advisor Macbeth, Danielle
dc.contributor.advisor Dostal, Robert J. Weiss, Zachary 2010-07-10T02:59:24Z 2010-07-10T02:59:24Z 2009
dc.description.abstract For my thesis, I looked at skepticism in terms of John McDowell's philosophy in Mind and World. In this work, McDowell explains how concepts mediate the relation between our minds and the world. He does so by making use of Kant's distinction in The Critique of Pure Reason between sensibility, our receptive capacity, and understanding, our spontaneous capacity. McDowell argues, similarly to Kant, that sensibility and understanding must be mutually implicated in any cognitive activity; theories of mind that try to explain thought by separating the contributions of sensibility and understanding are, he contends, incoherent. On these grounds, he refutes Davidson's Coherentism and what McDowell calls the Myth of the Given. As such, we will begin by rehearsing McDowell's claims refuting the Myth of the Given and Coherentism, and see how that brings him to assert that "we need a conception of experiences as states or occurrences that are passive but reflect conceptual capacities, capacities that belong to spontaneity, in operation" (McDowell 23). This will lead into his address (or lack thereof) of skepticism, upon which we will look again at The Critique of Pure Reason, utilizing Kant's idea of an intellectual intuition as a foil to McDowell's philosophy. In doing so, we will come to a richer understanding of McDowell's standpoint with regards to skepticism as well as his philosophy as a whole. This richer understanding will be furthered by addressing Charles Larmore's objection to some of McDowell's language, after which we can come to a more thorough understanding of the process of knowing the world.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Philosophy
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh McDowell, John Henry -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.subject.lcsh McDowell, John Henry. Mind and World
dc.subject.lcsh Skepticism
dc.subject.lcsh Philosophy of mind
dc.title Fallibility, Skepticism, and Distance in John McDowell's "Mind and World"
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Haverford users only

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