Experience and the World's Own Language A Critique of John McDowell's Empiricism


John McDowell's 'minimal empiricism' is one of the most influential and widely discussed doctrines in contemporary philosophy. Richard Gaskin subjects it to careful examination and criticism, arguing that it has unacceptable consequences, and in particular that it mistakenly rules out something we all know to be the case: that infants and non-human animals experience a world. Gaskin traces the errors in McDowell's empiricism to their source, and presents his own, still more minimal, version of empiricism, suggesting that a correct philosophy of language requires us to recognize a sense in which the world we experience speaks its own language.

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