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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, Issue 4, 2018

Garris S. Rogonyan
Pages 68-83

Davidson on Truth, Norms, and Dispositions

Normative dualism between descriptions of the mental and the physical is still a problem for many philosophers that provokes more and more attempts to justify it, or, on the contrary, to overcome it by means of reduction. The problem of a special normative status of mental states is usually considered in isolation from the concept of truth. Moreover, the definition of truth is often construed only as a part of the problem of normativity: in this case, truth is only a kind of norm, for example, a goal of scientific research. Donald Davidson, however, believed that truth is not the norm and that, on the contrary, norms are possible only through the use of the primitive and original concept of truth already available to us. In this paper, we propose that if one develops an idea of such a conceptual dependence between truth and norms in a certain way, then it will become possible to solve the problem of a normative gap between our descriptions of the mental and the physical. In other words, if the assimilation of the concept of truth precedes the learning of norms pertaining to the mental and the physical, then the solution for the problem of the gap between these norms can be directly related to conditions and differences in the use of the notion of truth.

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