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Giving a DamnEssays in Dialogue with John Haugeland$
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Zed Adams and Jacob Browning

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035248

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035248.001.0001

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“Two Dogmas of Rationalism”: A Second Encounter

“Two Dogmas of Rationalism”: A Second Encounter

(p.329) 12 “Two Dogmas of Rationalism”: A Second Encounter
Giving a Damn

Mark Lance

The MIT Press

I develop, at John’s request, some objections I raised to Haugeland’s “Two Dogmas” when Haugeland presented the paper at Georgetown University. First, I suggest that what he identifies as ‘positivism’ should be seen more as an epistemological rather than an ontological dogma; and second, I push to clarify what is important and unique about Haugeland’s account of alethic modality. The account seeks to explain modality by focusing on the pragmatics of modal discourse rather than its semantics. Haugeland concedes too much in giving this account, namely that it can only account for free-standing modal claims. I argue that this would be fatal to the account, were it true, but that it is not. I offer an outline of a way to provide a fuller account of modal discourse in Haugeland’s pragmatic terms, drawing analogy with similar “pragmatist semantics” accounts of negation and other idioms.

Keywords:   Positivism, Rationalism, Modality, Pragmatics

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