SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Metaphilosophical Expressivism
(Metaphysics and Ontology, )

A Within contemporary analytic philosophy, Quinean methodological naturalism has thrived, which has caused many philosophers to think of philosophical inquiry as continuous with scientific inquiry. In this talk, I shall explore an opposing view, by arguing that, whereas scientific discourse represents reality, philosophical discourse does not. I label this view "metaphilosophical expressivism". I argue towards metaphilosophical expressivism by showing the ways in which contemporary "Quinean" naturalists differ from Quine's actual naturalism. Quine's constraints on his naturalism could be explained using a simple credo: no metaphysics without epistemology. We cannot speak of how the world is without there being a link between ourselves and what is represented, which Quine believes is provided through the empirical sciences. Yet, this link is not maintained by the talk on grounding or fundamentality that permeates contemporary "Quinean" metaphysics. I argue that instead of trying to restrict our philosophical discourse so as to make such talk illegitimate, we should reinterpret our philosophical discourse. It is true that we cannot represent the world without there being a link between ourselves and what is represented, but philosophical discourse does not represent at all. Instead, it conveys practical, value-laden, attitudes about how to go about our practices. I turn to philosophers such as Richard Rorty and Huw Price to get clear on this expressivist view on philosophical discourse. However, Rorty and Price are global expressivists, so they believe that no discourse represents. Therefore, they reject that there really is much of a distinction between philosophy and science just like the Quinean naturalists do. I shall conclude my talk not with arguing that there really is such a distinction, and that scientific discourse represents reality whereas philosophical discourse does not, but with arguing that such a view could at least coherently be held.

Chair: Andreea Popescu
Time: 14:40-15:10, 09 September 2021 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.003
Remark: (Online Talk)

Tom Kaspers  
(University of St Andrews, University of Stirling, )

Testability and Meaning deco