In his 2009 paper Conceptual Schemes Revisited, Timothy Nulty argues that Davidson’s philosophy affords an argument for metaphysical pluralism, the theory that there are many actual worlds. In my (2010) reply, I charge that the argument depends on an unacceptable conflation of worlds and world-views: at most, we may infer from some of Davidson’s views that inhabitants of a shared world may conceive of it in radically different ways. In his most recent (2015) discussion of these issues, Nulty offers a fuller version of his argument for the conclusion that (if Davidson is right) their worlds might differ, and not merely their world-views, resting on the formerly suppressed premise that “to be is to be a possible intentional object”. He reckons that, if thinkers triangulate in very different ways, the intentional objects possible for one thinker or group may not be possible for some others; it may then follow that their worlds are different too. Against this fuller version of the argument, I here present two objections: first, Nulty’s ontological principle is incompatible with all kinds of causal truths about different kinds of actual thinkers; second, if it were true, we could not coherently explain the kind of situation that Nulty and I both take to generate interesting differences in world-view.
Davidson, Donald. 1984. “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme.” In Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation 183–98. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/0199246297.003.0013Search in Google Scholar
©2016 by De Gruyter