Tag: Donald Davidson


Davidsonian Pragmatism

Donald Davidson didn’t like being called a pragmatist. He associated pragmatism with William James’s definition of truth as that what works (or something similar), which he rejected for a number of reasons. Davidson’s understanding of pragmatism and how it contrasts with his own view is probably most clearly expressed in a passage from “Truth Rehabilitated”: Truth is not a value, so the ‘pursuit of truth’ is an empty enterprise unless it means only that it is often worthwhile to increase our confidence in our beliefs, by collecting further evidence or checking our calculations. From the fact that we will never...

A Buddha Land in This World (New Book)

My new book, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy, Utopia, and Radical Buddhism, has just been published. Here is the abstract/back cover blurb: In the early twentieth century, Uchiyama Gudō, Seno’o Girō, Lin Qiuwu, and others advocated a Buddhism that was radical in two respects. Firstly, they adopted a more or less naturalist stance with respect to Buddhist doctrine and related matters, rejecting karma or other supernatural beliefs. And secondly, they held political and economic views that were radically anti-hegemonic, anti-capitalist, and revolutionary. Taking the idea of such a “radical Buddhism” seriously, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy,...

Some Remarks on Truth and Justification

The notion of truth is probably one of the most central notions in science and philosophy, if not in humanity’s engagement with the world in general, but it is also a somewhat problematic notion that is prone to confusion. And consequently, not all talk about “truth” is really about truth. A couple of years ago, I wrote a paper titled “Recognizing ‘Truth’ in Chinese Philosophy” on the difficulty of recognizing concepts of “truth” and philosophical theories about truth in non-Western philosophy, focusing on ancient Chinese philosophy. I argued there and elsewhere that the ancient Chinese didn’t have theories of truth,...