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Quietism and Cognitive Command

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Crispin Wright has sought to establish the possibility of ‘significant metaphysics’ in the shape of a common metric with which to measure the realism or robustness of various discourses. One means by which to place discourses in the metric is via the ‘cognitive command constraint’. Importantly, this constraint must be a priori. Richard Rorty has argued against this, that, given content is a function of standards of representationality, the a priori requirement cannot be satisfied. I show that this attack is inconsistent: to run his own argument Rorty must take recourse to a idealized view of identification of discourses which conflicts with his own basic premise about the determination of content. Hence Rorty’s argument should not lead us to conclude that significant metaphysics is impossible.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9213.00073

Affiliations: Australian National University

Publication date: October 1, 1997

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