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Davidson’s “Three Varieties of Knowledge”

Here is an on-line copy of Donald Davidson’s remarkable 1991 essay “Three Varieties of Knowledge”. As far as contemporary philosophical essays go, it is perhaps the finest, far-reaching essay in my memory. In terms of style it employs a jargon-free, clear language approach reminiscent of Wittgenstein’s straightforward  problem solving (without the hypnotic aphoristic gloss over of aporias). In terms of content, here is a Davidson’s powerful concept of Triangulation, and the application of the Principle of Charity in the context of Wittgenstein’s Private Language Argument. Here is the rational, yet still historically contingent process of growing knowledge, guided by communal relations. I find there to be much of Spinoza in this, and a nexus point between both Continnetal and Analytic Schools. I urge you to read this elegant, modest and yet resounding essay. I have the distinct impression that despite the 18 intervening years, philosophy has not caught up with the full consequences of Davidson’s subsuming argument.

page: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. [click on each photo there to enlarge]

At this point, this important essay is not easy to find, but is published in Subjective, Intersubjective and Objective, an excellent collection. This, and The Essential Davidson  would give you a great proportion of his bridge-building thought.

I apologize for the messy margin notes, and underlines as I didn’t imagine that others would be reading this copy, but I feel that this is an important essay, significant enough to post here for those just coming in touch with its arguments and view of the world. If you want some sense of the kinds of arguments that stem from this essay, look to my The Trick of Dogs: Etiologic, Affection and Triangulation.

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5 responses to “Davidson’s “Three Varieties of Knowledge”

  1. ktismatics October 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today, Kvond. I was going to try interacting on Davidson by matching up your margin notes with the portions I highlighted in my copy, but that’s awkward. Anyhow, I too am a fan: here’s my post on this essay from just about a year ago. I cite Tomasello in that post, who has demonstrated the self-other-world triangle as the basis for child language development. Some day I’ll actually have to read Wittgenstein I suppose. I’ll keep wandering around your posts to see what else I can learn…

  2. kvond October 16, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks of the link. I will certainly look at your thoughts closely, as this is a significant essay. The most that I make of it is found in my synthesis of Deleuze and Guattari, Davidson and Spinoza, here “Wasps, Orchids, Beetles and Crickets” [https://kvond.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/23/ ] and “The Trick of Dogs” [https://kvond.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/the-trick-of-dogs-etiologic-affection-and-triangulation-part-i-of-iv/ ].

    As for Wittgenstein, if his aphoristic style does not suit you, your commitments might find a door to Wittgenstein through Pierre Bourdieu, whose notion of the “habitus” and general approach shows Wittgensteinian influence, as well as Phenomenological groundwork. (Just a suggestion if you haven’t considered him.)

    Look foward to looking through your weblog.

    K.

  3. Pingback: The Trick of Dogs: Etiologic, Affect and Triangulation, Part II of IV « Frames /sing

  4. Navin Kumar April 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    do u have any books in hindi..???

  5. kvond April 25, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Sorry, only English.

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