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Henry Jackman Presented at the May 2000 Meeting of the Canadian Philosophical Association.



Most philosophers, whether they consider themselves naturalists or not, typically think that we can talk and think about objects in the world which are themselves independent of our conception of them. Unfortunately, providing a naturalistic explanation of how we can do this has proved notoriously difficult. In particular, naturalistic accounts of intentionality have had problems explaining how we can (collectively) misidentify objects in the world. Without the possibility of such misidentification, our intuitive sense of objectivity (and hence of objects) seems compromised. In his recent book, Having Thought, 1 John Haugeland provides a two pronged account of our interactions with the world that he takes to secure a degree of objectivity that many current naturalistic accounts lack. Haugeland’s analysis of intentionality and objectivity in terms of the interplay of two types of ‘recognitional ’ skill represents an advance over many standard naturalistic accounts. Nevertheless, it will be argued here that his inegalitarian conception of the two sorts of skill leaves him with a quasi-conventionalist account of our relation to the world. Consequently, his account still lacks the more robust sort of objectivity that a more holistic development of his theory could provide. Haugeland thinks that there is a sense in which objectivity is tied to “constitution, ” 2 an

Year: 2011
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