Explication as a strategy for revisionary philosophy
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I will defend explication, in a Carnapian sense, as a strategy for revisionary ontologists and radical sceptics. The idea is that these revisionary philosophers should explicitly commit to using expressions like “S knows that p” and “Fs exist” (or “There are Fs”) differently from how these expressions are used in everyday contexts. I will first motivate this commitment for these revisionary philosophers. Then, I will address the main worries that arise for this strategy: the unintelligibility worry (that we no longer understand the issue that the philosophers are addressing) and the topic shift worry (that the philosophers are addressing the wrong issue). I will focus on the latter worry and provide a solution that makes use of a distinction between practically and theoretically oriented beliefs (beliefs-1 and beliefs-2). On my view, the revisionary philosophers who admit to departing from the everyday language can still criticize everyday knowledge and existence claims, by arguing that while the language embedded in these claims is suitable for beliefs-1, it is not suitable for beliefs-2.
KeywordsExplication Revisionary philosophy Metaontology Scepticism Belief
I wish to thank the audiences of the workshop on Philosophical Methods at the University of Duisburg-Essen and of a summer work-in-progress seminar at the University of Tartu, where I presented previous versions of this article. I also thank Daniel Cohnitz and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. This research has been supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and by the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (European Union, European Regional Development Fund), and is related to research project IUT20-5 (Estonian Ministry of Education and Research).
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