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The cranky, it’s been broughten.

November 11, 2009, 12:58 pm

I enjoyed this outburst.

I just don’t get it. I give up. I’m, like, off the bus.

However, a confession: It struck me as I was writing this that Tye simply couldn’t be saying what I was taking him to say… It struck me that nobody could believe that. So I went and tried it out on a couple of philosophy friends … and they agreed that nobody could believe what I was writing that Tye believes. Fair enough, but then, what is one to make of such a passage as this: “An object’s looking F . . . [isn’t] a matter of an object’s causing an experience which represents simply that something is F [sic]. The experience one has of the seen object is one into whose content the seen object itself enters” (my emphasis)….

Now, I’m kind of a Tarskian about meaning. I don’t do “radical interpretation”. So, when someone writes “the experience one has of the seen object is one into whose content the seen object itself enters” I suppose that he is probably saying that the experience one has of the seen object is one into whose content the seen object itself enters. Perhaps someone of a more hermeneutical temperament than mine will correct this reading in next week’s Letters page in the TLS, and I will then feel a perfect goose. For now, however, I shall proceed on the assumption that I have got Tye more or less right.

I’m sure it’s wrong of me to like this passage, not least because I know I would hate anything like it to appear in a review of a book I’d written. And I know full well that could happen—which means I keenly feel how unfair it is. Yet we read reviews with the morals we have, not the morals we might want or wish to have.1


1And yes, I also feel bad about quoting Donald Rumsfeld, but I enjoy that too. I’m really quite morally indefensible.

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