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Metaphysical Anti-Realism? Author(s): Ruth Garrett Millikan Reviewed work(s): Source: Mind, New Series, Vol. 95, No. 380 (Oct., 1986), pp. 417-431 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2254151 . Accessed: 25/10/2012 04:05
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I978. not fit the traditionalcorrespondence truth dominatethe conTwo kinds of argumentagainstcorrespondence The firstclaimsthat it is incumbenton the corresponliterature. Theory independenceis not the same thing as mind independence.and that thereforecorrespondence Devitt's strongkind could notpossibly the natureof truth. p. or a coherencetheory.2Due partly to the influence of Dummett and Putnam. It used this way. tion-transcendent. incoherent.with holdingthat truthis rational assertability. I I I -29. Thus.New Jersey. 2 . at least. 4 The originalstatementof this position is in Stephen Leeds. or.this sort of theoryof truth. 'Theories of Referenceand Truth'. I will occasionallylapse so as to avoid talkingwith too full a mouth. Erkenntnis.Princeton. or a Peircean'end of inquiry' theoryof the natureof truth. does that 'metaphysical'. temporary dence theorist to demonstratethat we 'need' a correspondencetheory in orderto explainat least some phenomena. PrincetonUniversityPress. It seems to connote non-empirical. and I will argue. thoughtsmight have objectiveor theory-independent 3 Devitt's most recent discussionof this issue is in Realism and Truth.3 the title of this paper should really be 'MetaphysicalAnti-Correspondencebut Truth'.with holdinga redundancytheory.verificaempty. perhaps. 4.and is surely right in So sayingthat it tends to confoundissues that should be kept separate.MetaphysicalAnti-Realism? RUTH GARRETT MILLIKAN theory of truth. theory. i984.or at least 'metaphysical to entail.one must drawa distinctionbetweentwo kinds of correspondence 1 Realismand Truth. pp. My title hints. sense data and status without being mind-independent. affirmsa correspondence affairsand any such theorycan correlatesentencesonly with theory-relative hence will not be a correspondencetheory of the strong kind Devitt of described.(3) the objective nature of that reality.For example. (2) the objective referential relations between their parts and reality. snuglyfits Putnam'santi-realism.Putnamhasclaimedthatwe be theories.For example. for Michael Devitt describesthe classicalcorrespondence sentencesof a certaintype x.4 between true sentences and affairsin the world. theories as Putnamuses 'metaphysical' an epithetto labelcorrespondence of the sort Devitt described.for example.and that no such need has been The second claims that even if we do need a theory that demonstrated. as follows.bad. For the most part I will defer to Devitt's remonstrance.Devitt demurs at this use of 'realism'. being a 'realist'(aboutthis class of sentencesor that) has come to be contrasted.chap.'1By 'objective'Devitt means. theory independent. 'realism' or (Putnam) realism'has in some circlesrecentlycome to mean. 'Sentencesof type x aretrue or false in virtue of: (i) their objective structure. 28.
OtherBiologicalCategories and Mass. Cambridge. andtheMoralSciences. Putnam. BradfordBooks/MIT Press. sound argumentthat a correspondence needed to explain certain phenomena is all that is required in order to challengeanti-realismon the only groundon which it can possibly stand. partsII and IV.but defendsonly the claim therefore.Cambridge. (hereafterLTOBC). Routledge& Kegan Paul.The argumentof the body of this paper-that the distinction between internal realism and metaphysical realism is to chimerical-then completesthe argumentfor correspondence a theoryindependentworld.Language. things as otherpeople. truth. First.Truthand History. then. the first task of the correspondencetheorist is to show that correspondencetruth can explain some importantphenomena not yet explainedwithout it. It may neverthelesshelp orientatethe readerif I begin by saying something about the phenomena I believe (and have argued) that a correspondencetheory can explain. though I will say a few words about it. I978. The correspondencetheorist's second job is to inspect the internal theory/ theory distinction. The distinctionis reiteratedin Reason. The first job of the correspondencetheorist-that of showing that his theory can explain some important phenomena-is one that I have undertaken elsewhere and cannot rehearse here.'RealismandReason'..a full defenceof correspondence that correspondencetruth requires to be defended on empiricalgrounds alone. I think that the correspondencetheory of truth may be able to explain how it is possible for us to learn those routines and methods whereby we respond to the world. Cambridge I983. internalrealism. 6 R. first with exploratorybehaviourand then with sentences.4I8 Ruth GarrettMillikan of which-'internal realism'-is an empiricaltheoryand may well be true. to makeobservations yet in such a manner that these independent judgementsdo not contradict? A van Fraassen-stylereply is that only those methods of judgementmakingthat produce few contradictionssurvive. I98I andin Realism Reason. If I am right that a correspondence theorycan explainthese phenomena. Thought. andBoston. forcing out less effective I H. Millikan. and UniversityPress. Any theoryof correspondence that is offeredto explaincertainphenomenain the worldis only an 'internal realism'.that constitutesan argumentfor. at a minimum. Henley.6 This paper is not. I will not take up this part of the correspondence theorist'sburdenhere. realism'. Cambridge UniversityPress. I984.Cambridge. . in such a way as to come to consistent agreement with ourselves and with others. does it happen that we can learn to make fresh judgements about the same independentlyof otherpeople.not a 'metaphysical Given this situation.The purposeof this paperis to arguethat metaphysical this distinctionis illusory-that there can be only one kind of realismand A theoryis one kind of anti-realism. How.in Meaning London. the other of which-'metaphysical realism'-is the strong kind and betweenlanguageandthe world 5 incoherent. It is not as though we usually copy either ourselves or others when we think or speak.
Metaphysicalrealism.Oxford. I980. one that has helped to account for his proliferation. 38-40. 9 LTOBC. it should happenthat the sentencesthus generatedoften havepractical use.The reader may then put the various shoes I fashion on any other anti-realistfeet they fit. What needs to be understoodis whythese practicesare of valueto man.7 But one does not explain how food digestion is possible by pointing out that any animalthat has survivedmust have been capableof digestingfood. is not an empiricaltheory.ClarendonPress. and by exhibiting with which such sentencescan guide behaviourso principlesin accordance as to makethis behaviourappropriate the corresponding to structuresin the world.I am going to discuss the internaltheory/metaphysical it theorydistinctionas Putnamarticulates so that it will be clearthat I am not merelyfightingwindmills. pp.its purpose is to spell out the second half of a defenceof realism. the mechanismsand principlesin accordancewith which these practiceslink up with activities more transparently value. eitherinneror outer. 10 LTOBC. .I have arguedthat the how of agreementin judgementshas no and is trivialexplanation thatthis agreement a verystrikingphenomenonby no means to be taken for granted.I thinka correspondence theoryof truthmay be ableto explain why. granted certain (crucial) assumptions aboutontology. one does not explain how agreementin judgementscomes about merely by pointing to the survival value that sentence or belief productionmethods have when they effect agreement. withoutapplyingconsistencytests to their beliefsand methods of belief production. This can be understood. 8 LTOBC.TheScientificImage. But this paper is primarilyconcerned with roundtwo.But that the use of subject-predicate and representations the use of consistencytesting has a survival value for man.Metaphysical Anti-Realism? 419 methods. seems highly likely.and/or belief-producingmethods until these are producingagreementin judgementstendsto effectproductionof sentencesthatcorrespond the worldin to 10 accordance with determinatestablerules of projection.we apparently copy the world. PartIV. He 7 Bas van Fraassen.8but that it can be explained on a correspondence-truth hypothesis.mice detect and escapefrom cats by pointing out that the survivalof mice dependson detecting and escaping from cats. havinglearnedhow to agreewith ourselvesand others by employing certainconcepts. Most animals. Putnam claims.havemanaged to to survive without learninghow to respond to the world with sentences. probably without employing beliefs. nor does one explainhow. Similarly. I8-I9. That. in briefestcompass. granted a suitable ontology. adjusting sentence. i8. I have argued. chap.9Ratherthan copyingourselvesor otherswhen we thinkor speak. Secondly.it is reasonable suppose. by whatmechanisms. which lies between. the internaltheory/metaphysical theorydistinction. chap. by of showing how.is the strategyI haveurgedfor roundone of the realism/anti-realism debate. and indeed.
420 RuthGarrettMillikan means. there are no universal laws that determine the disposition of any particularsin the world merely as a function of human experience.is playingwith notions that are verificationtranscendentin some damaging way. .on the metaphysical realistpicture.p.are 'normal'. etc.that is. I30).. is less an empiricaltheorythan a model' (Meaning the Moral Sciences.simplicity. 12 Ibid. An implicationseems to be that 'the idealtheory'would be necessarilytrue ratherthan possiblyfalse. Later he says. Putnamdescribesan ideal theoryas one that 'can be imaginedcomplete.. . upon 11 WhatPutnamactuallysays is 'Metaphysical realism. For no law can be evidenced without assuming knowledgeof the dispositionof relevantparticulars fallingunder the law yet. Beforefocusingon the mainissue here. 12 Call claim (2) we the 't-i-o-correspondence thesis' (correspondenceto theory-independent objects).' and so on. the thesis that Devitt called merely 'the correspondence theory of truth'.its success depending on the circumstance that surrounding conditions. "conservation". mightbefalse. inner beauty and elegance. indeed. Every method of making particular judgements (perceptual judgements. that no empiricalevidencecould countfor or againstit. It is. p.)' and (2) that the correspondence involvedis correspondence 'THE WORLD'. . .e. "plausibility". Now. we woulddo well to clearsome of the mud out of our eyes by examining whether there is substance to Putnam'ssuggestionthat the t-i-o-correspondence theorist. Putnamthus implies that the t-i-o-correspondence thesisis a verification-transcendent thesis. 13 Ibid. it is verification-transcendent. having denied it.' and (ibid. includingconditionsin the body of the observer.andhe alone.1l Metaphysical realism differs from internal realism in claiming (i) that the correspondence theory of truth applies to 'all correcttheories at once (so that it can only be stated with "typical ambiguity" (..). 125. . concludes that being true is something like being rationally assertablein the ideal limit. It wouldhave to containor imply somethinglike a state descriptionof the world. I takeit that the implicitreferenceto Philosophical Investigations requiresus to read'only a here picture'as implyinglackof empiricalcontent. Putnamfurthercharacterizes realismas metaphysical entailingthat'thetheorythatis "ideal"fromthe pointof viewof operational utility. noticethatit is not onlythe lawsof naturethata completetheoryof the world wouldhaveto describebut alsothe dispositionin the worldof its particulars.for example)is in principlefallible.even in the ideal limit. if the shape of our current theories is roughly right. to meet whatever "operational constraints" there are . i. that metaphysicalrealismis not a theory that we could obtain evidence for or against.to predictcorrectlyall observation sentences(a faras we cantell). "Verified"(in any operationalsense) does not imply "true". . to the to worldas 'independentof any representation have of it'."13 Putnamthen proceeds vigorouslyagainst the t-i-o-correspondence thesis and. consistent. I take it. 'Metaphysicalrealismwas only a picture ..
14 On the other hand. I983. that no empiricalevidence at all can be gatheredeither for or against it.For how. completetheoryof the worldwould have to include an inventoryof the world. presumably. So Putnam is right this far: t-i-o-correspondencetruth implies fallibilism. and Cambridge. . It follows that Putnam's description of 'an ideal theory' is not coherent on a t-i-o-correspondenceview. of course) that would necessarilyyield true (partial)theories. that it is weak-verification-transcendent. . But note that on a correspondence view. then that an ideal theory might not be true is both evident and unproblematic. If the ideal theory is necessarily true.there must be natural-world relations between theories and what they are about. in accordancewith physicallaws (and in accordancewith principlesthat actuallygovern the human mind). fromthe standpointof an ideal theory. on any correspondence view that claims to be evidencedby its capacityto explainsome empiricalphenomena.) But if the ideal theory would not be self-warranting it thinkof itself that it might not be true.of course)based on evidencesets (partialevidencesets. for example.see Devitt. and it would be would. be evidenced to a human (and exercised by a human). 93-4. op. Yet. pp. which notion is itself at least strongverification transcendent. pp. and Ian Hacking. cit.Representing Intervening.. Next consider Putnam's claim that the t-i-o-correspondencetheory is not an empirical theory at all. Theories must thereforebe in the world.any theorythat was basedon as much evidence(and based on as much intelligence)as could.it is not laws for which experienceyields evidencebut complexes A of laws-plus-state-descriptions.it would beg the question to restrict the notion 'ideal theory' to theories (partialtheories. no theoryof the worldthat was actually in the world-actually held by a person or group of peoplecould ever containan inventoryof the world. right. 3 I-2 and p. Whetherthis claim is true or not is preciselythe centralquestion at issue.Cambridge University Press. I87. .Certainly. for no portion of the world could be mapped one-to-one on to the whole world including itself.Metaphysical Anti-Realism? 421 the disposition of surroundingparticularsnot currentlybeing observed.'. it is so only under the description 'the ideal theory'. if the notion 'idealtheory of the world' is pareddown to reasonableproportions to mean. Assumingthat he has managedto win round one of the correspondence/ 14 For a list of some of the ambiguitiesinherentin the notion of an ideal theory. Roughly. would one know that it was an ideal theory? What evidence. could certify the conclusion that all of the evidence was in and that all of the elegant hypotheses had been examined? (Notice Putnam's fudging inside the parentheses:'to predict correctly all observationsentences (so far as we can tell) .What would the alternativebe? The real possibility of a self-warranting theory of the world? also Putnam'sbrandof anti-realism impliesfallibilism. taken account of by the ideal theory.
then it would follow that his own anti-realism is a weak-verification transcendent thesis too. the coherence of our theories including our agreements on observation sentences. not two. no explanation could be given of why it had been possible to construct any consistenttheories of the world at all. If no empirical evidence can be gathered for or against a thesis. all this would have no effect upon Putnam's anti-realism. to learn to react to the world with sentences such that. Suppose further that if this portion of the ideal theory were dropped. . not. That is. the reason it is possible to construct coherent theories at all possible.. presumably no empirical evidence can be gathered for or against its negation. one neither contradicts oneself or others-is that it is possible to acquire an ability to map the world systematically with sentences in conformity with (though not of course by making reference to) definite and predetermined mapping functions. But no reason has been given to suppose that this ambiguity leads to any greater paradox than does the typical ambiguity of the sentence 'Every English sentence contains a verb'.. of course. the correspondence theorist's claim will be that an empirically-based theory of truth is the only kind of theory of truth that is possible and that correspondence truth is t-i-o-correspondence truth: empirical evidence for correspondence is empirical evidence for t-i-ocorrespondence. 'ideallimit' theory of the world. then so is its denial. Apparently. Anti-realism is then also an empirical theory. .as Field contends. Similarly: of Suppose there is a possible naturalisticor physicalisticdefinition reference. . I do not imply that Putnam would duck this conclusion. namely. for the most part. But notice a corollary: if a t-i-ocorrespondence theory is instead an empirical theory. but arrived at by inference to the best explanation of what is observed.) Soon I will argue that the correspondence theorist is right in his claims.Suppose (i) x referstoy if and only if x bearsR toy is true. that is. But at the moment I wish only to point out that if Putnam were right that a t-i-o-correspondence theory is necessarily a weak-verification transcendent thesis. (It is true that this means his theory can only be stated with 'typical ambiguity'. and the winner will have to be determined on empirical grounds alone. the ideal theory says that that truth is correspondence is a universally applicable explanatory theory. whereR is a relationdefinablein naturalscience vocabulary withoutusing notions. Hence the full thesis of this paper: the correspondence/anti-correspondence issue is one issue. anysemantical whichwould be part of our . Suppose that the notion that there might be a Putnamesque 'ideal theory' of the world is a coherent one. And suppose that according to the ideal theory. .422 RuthGarrettMillikan anti-correspondence debate. Even if the ideal theory said truth was correspondence it wouldn't really be-not t-i-o-correspondence. directly observed to be true. If(i) is trueandempirically verifiable (I) is a sentence . .
'How do you know?. and reason (or of languages and theories). is naturalism. too. Philosophy in the first person cannot be primary. The referenceis to H. So the rational assertability thesis must express the transcendentally real status of language and truth as opposed to their status merely within the phenomenal world (where truth may turn out to be correspondence). thought. and to its Cartesian and Lockean roots. We ask him. is known a priori. (Taking only the premiss that truth is not t-i-o-correspondence. and so knowingthat (i) is true will not help. that is. . which he has equated with transcendentally real correspondence. and with it the internal theory/metaphysical theory distinction. relying implicitly on concepts of self.then the referenceof 'x bearsR to y' is itselfindeterminate. The Journalof Philosophy. not theory-independently. And what of the thesis that truth is rational assertability in the ideal limit? Obviously it. 16 Is the rationalassertability thesis a thesis about the status of phenomenallanguageor about the statusof language-in-itself? About phenomenallanguage.however. Putnam has derived the rational assertability thesis from a denial of t-i-o-correspondence. and he explains what rational motivations he has for 15 Reason. correspondence truth could ultimately win out in the phenomenal world. since] reference is only determined by operational and theoretical constraints. and this is known a priori. To defend naturalism. First. According to naturalists. This is transcendentalism indeed. it certainly does not follow that it is rational assertability.pp.one would think. but more of this below. it wouldn't really be determinate. Now the direct counter to transcendentalism. 1972.) I suggest that the argument goes as follows. thinkers are squarely in the only world there is. Suppose that someone holds that truth is correspondence. But it may not correspond to any empirical reality.Metaphysical Anti-Realism? 423 If [i. Any attempt at a prior epistemology can only be question-begging. 16 Putnam's anti-realism is a metaphysical anti-realism. What is the argument for this thesis? Putnam does not spell it out. Consider the thesis that truth must be rational assertability in the ideal limit. with a thesis about the relation of language to the noumenal world. 347-75. and can be accessed at all only by understanding its relation to the rest of the world it is in.15 Even if the ideal theory said that reference was R and that reference was determinate. for the first person is as much in the empirical world as anything else. let me illustrate the naturalist's point that our empirically-based theories about the world insistently intrude upon attempts at a prior epistemology. concepts that have been lifted illicitly from a prior understanding of the empiricallyknown world as a whole. Reference and correspondence truth may be empirically real but they are transcendentally ideal. That is what I now propose to do. 'Tarski'sTheory of Truth'. then.Truth andHistory.e. is to attack transcendentalism. Field. Naturalism denies the possibility of constructing an epistemology prior to the rest of one's theory of the world. 45-6. pp.
Rather. It follows that truth. if our theories of theories are not empirical theories. Now. and it would make no sense to say that you were really trying all along to do something that you did not know about. Putnam owes us an explantion of how this is possible without adopting the Cartesian position that our theories are transparent to themselves. that our concepts of our theories and of our aims in theory construction are prior to our concepts of natural world items. about our motivations and our knowledge of our motivations. Rather you aimed at consistency. invulnerable to attack from empirical evidence. You have been engaging in a purposeful activity. for example. Now put that in your hopper. that we ask Putnam how he knowsthat theories evolve by the application of standards of consistency. rigid standards of consistency. that is all you could have known you were doing before you arrived at your theory of truth. elegance. consider what you have just been doing. trying to meet certain standards for elegance. The vision is the Cartesian vision of mind as that which is transparent to itself. and so on. is that there can be no such thing as a mind that is doing something purposeful but that does not immediately know. apply your standards of consistency. elegance. one sneaked in from a certain prior vision of one's mind and one's knowledge of one's mind. at no point did you compare your thoughts with anything. and so on. simplicity. For example. about our theory constructions and our knowledge of our theory constructions and so . The result is that you affirm the truth of your theory of truth. and see if you do not end up somewhere different. for then his ideas about what theories are and what they are up to when they evolve seeking truth would be merely part of his empirical theory of the world and could be directly countered by someone else's empirical theory on this matter. and keep to your standards of rationality.424 Ruth Garrett Millikan holding this view. does this mean that our theories as items that we think of are not phenomenal items-that we can have knowledge of the doings of our theories-in-themselves? But in fact our theories about our minds and our knowledge of our minds. simply is where you end if you stay consistent. or attempting to apply. for example. Putnam must claim that his theory of theories is prior to his theory of the rest of the world. what this something is. You cannot deny that what you have been aiming for all along is the truth about truth. The assumption behind this argument. rationality. and that abiding by these standards is the aim of theory construction. He cannot answer that he knows this by having gathered empirical evidence for a theory of theories (theories seem to take the place of minds in contemporary anti-realist philosophy). and rationality. we say. But you did not do this by aiming at making your thoughts correspond to anything. applying. After all. But then. what you were aiming at. elegance. at least on reflection. Suppose. You have been drawing certain inferences which you intend should meet certain standards of rationality. seek elegance. and at keeping your inferences rational.
op.minds and theories. pp.then we shouldbe ableto sayhowevidence 17 A brief discussionof the literatureon cognitivedissonancemay be found in S. 65 No.95 No. i. a differentview thatis still faithfulto Sellars'claimsee my 'ThoughtsWithoutLaws. M. Vol. 'the desirethatq'. 47-79. 4. and so on. in ElsewhereI havearguedthat our engagement the activityof belief and theory constructionis indeed motivatedby purposesof which we are not awareby Cartesianreflection. S. are suspected of being either empty or. Freud introduced the theoryof unconsciousmotivationon evidence. There is no inner keep in which theoriesof language. 23I if.Mass.ScientificRealismand the Plasticity of Mind.PacificPhilosophical Quarterly. do intrude into what was trying to be a separate and prior epistemology.aretheoreticalconcepts.. realismor anti-realism somemore and betweenplainempirically-supported perspectiveon thesematters. S.privileged. can be constructedsafe from interactionwith the rest of our theoriesof the world. 'ThoughtsWithoutLaws. I956.New and Universityof MinnesotaPress. at least. CognitiveScience With Content' (ibid. I984.). Also in Sellars.The HumanitiesPress. for example. Stich. Churchland.andprior'metaphysical' On the otherhand. pp. and if the t-i-o-correspondence theoryis not actuallyincoherentor empty. 'A Perspective on Mind-Brain Research'.20 But my purposeat the momentis not to arguethat pointbut to illustratethattheoriesof the empiricalworld. I986. FromFolk Psychology Cognitive to Science.the 'end' of thought is not simply wherever carefulthought ends. I85-207. P. York. NOUS 20 No. Cambridge. P. Stich. ThePhilosophical 20 LTOBC. for example. havebeen quite sensitiverecentlyto empiricalinput. After Wilfrid Sellars' 'Empiricismand the Philosophy of Mind'18there emergeda generation willingto takeseriouslythe proposalthatourconcepts of belief. BradfordBooks/MIT Press.part of a 'folk theory' of the mind.'the beliefthatp'. I am not advocating Journalof Philosophy.and so on. this position. if that is so. 18 In K. 4.Perception Reality.There hasrecentlybeena rash of experimentalwork attempting to gather evidence that we are 17 sometimesquite wrongaboutthe contentsof our own inferenceprocesses. enormously vague. 3I5-34. Ourordinary notions. desire. MinnesotaStudies in the Philosophyof Science. I986. 'The Priceof Correspondence Truth'. ed. Churchland. CambridgeUniversity Press. I979.19Indeed.Cambridge. pp. 19 See. .CognitiveScience Review.Science.then. I963. 253-329.For quite I980. pp.amongothers.The lesson to be learnedis clear.reference..no privilegedaccessto this areathat differsin any way fromaccess to other areasof theory construction.No distinctioncan be drawn. Minneapolis. Now there is even a movement afoot that suspectsthis folk theoryof being false-because of the difficultyof fittingit in with other empirically-based theoriesabout the natureof the world and the humanmind.truth. I. 'NaturalistReflectionson Knowledge'.of the activityand ends of theory constructionand of the relationof consciousnessto it.We haveno specialevidenceor specialgraspof self-evidenttruthsin this area. pp.and inference.Metaphysical Anti-Realism? 425 on. cit. there is no clearer case of the 'revisability'of a once apparently analyticsentencethanthe revisionsof 'I am directlyawareof the natureof all my own purposesandmentalactivities'that havebeen goingon in this century. Gunderson. I983. recondite. With Content'.
. let us consider the view that (I).Truthand 22 History. pp. the argument is that any 'theory of the world' (which Putnam takes to be composed of something like a set of sentences.. can be mapped on to the world in an indefinite number of ways. learnto express Putting this last puzzle aside. whatmakes true?Given that there are many correspondences . Reason. does question not only the sensitivity of the t-i-o-correspondence theory to evidence but also the very meaningfulness or coherence of the t-i-o-correspondence theory. what our intentionssignify). I will bring this question to the floor. . we cannot pick out unique mapping rules for the sentences in a theory by appealing to the fact that one and only one set of mapping rules is the one 'intended' by the theory user. But this is not necessarily expressedby just saying(i). It seems as if the fact that R is reference determining fact must be a metaphysically unexplainable . 21 22 The argumentmay be found in Meaningand the MoralSciences. Journal of Symbolic Logic. between the sign "'reference"' and the word 'reference'. the reply is that the assignment of R is determined by at least these considerations. and it is a puzzle how we could what Field wants to say.426 RuthGarrettMillikan might be gathered for it-how evidence might be gathered for correspondence to theory-independent objects. Putnam's argument is well known. what singles out one particular R? correspondence Not the empiricalcorrectnessof (I). (I) R is a relation that obtains between 'refers' and R itself. understoodas it it. So we must deal with that first. 464-82. defined by a schema (i) x refers to y if and only if x bears R to y Putnam writes. .and (b) this relationis the one to be used as the referencerelationin assigninga truth value to (i) itself. for that is a matterof our Not .Truthand History.21 Put roughly.. In a moment.. is true. his 'model-theoretic argument'. outer and/ or inner). What Field is claimingis that (a) there is a determinateunique relationbetween wordsand things or sets of things. Concerning Field's proposal that there might be a natural-world relation that corresponds to reference.. Happily. I980. . But Putnam's best-known argument for anti-realism. If(I) is true . . ff. Hence simply mapping on to the world cannot be what the 'truth' of a theory consists in. 46. between the sign ""reference"" and the sign "'reference"'..pp. Moreover. I25 ff. Fieldwantsus to understand . in Reason. no matter how large and complex thistheory is. for example) and the question how that representation could map on to the world in an unique way is the same question all over again. For any intention that the theory user has about what his terms shall represent is merely another representation (a sentence in his head. and most of its details are irrelevant to what needs to be said. pp. as we have just seen..22 To Putnam's last question.p. and in 'Models and Reality'. our intentions(ratherR entersinto and operational theoreticalconstraints..
merely to vary the Cartesian theme that mind is transparentto itself: language is transparentto itself. To take this tack is. . If.Does a metalanguage usereferonly to a in theory-relative objectlanguageand not to the object-language-in-itself? If so. of course. it refersequallyto the object-language-in-itself to cats and matsand and applesandtrees.it is possibleto say whatmatcheswhat'(Reason. in general.scheme of descriptionso as to write about it without losing it among the mats and trees?Only by drawingonly onedistinction:external/internal.as well.as between'cat' and cats. is a relationwhich has to be cited in R giving a causal-order explanation whateverempiricalphenomenthey are of that the t-i-o-correspondence theoryexplains.thereis no problemabout using a scheme of descriptionto referto itself or to other partsof itself. For from the standpointof the metalanguage part. for example.that is. Naturallanguagesare.theremust be a causalof orderexplanation the systematicrecurrenceof R between each of these pairs that is rooted on the one hand in the dynamicsof our psychologyas speakersof English. of course.and so on.Metaphysical Anti-Realism? 427 and so on. (This account.24 The puzzleabouthow we could 'learnto expresswhatField wantsto say'. to p. theories are transparentto themselves. as the vehicle of one theory.) 24 Considerthe followingfrom Putnamon internalrealism:'Since the objectsandthe signs are alike internal the schemeof description. 52).23 Though it is the less important of the two constraints. and on the other in the causal order of the world in which we live. the metalanguagein use refers unambiguously to its objectlanguage-in-itself. the theory-relativeobjects to which the metalanguagerefers do not exist. Moreover.TruthandHistory.'a third-orderlanguage'. this relationmust be the same R that binds a metalanguageso that it refers to its object language. while from the standpoint of the object language. But is the sign that gets usedthe samesign thatis internalto the schemeof description? did that Or sign get lost amongthe catsandthe applesas soon as we triedto thinkof it?How can Putnamthinkabout the. (2) More importantly.of why we can learnhow not to contradictourselvesand othersand of why truesentencesareusefulto us. instead.higher-order languages. We refer to higher-order languages in the singular: 'a second-order language'. put more generally. The naturalistrealist will not put up with this. then the metalanguage in use must constitute an unexplained exception to the rule that reference is never to thingsin-themselves. languagesthat containa metalanguage a hierarchyof or that metalanguages takelower-orderpartsof the whole languageas objects. Once you areinside all is safe.is not 'causal'. and so forth. the wholeis a mix of phenomenaland noumenal parts.and the wholehigher-order languagein usecertainlycannot be treated as one language. An anti-realistis obliged to give an accountof this practice. and betweenthe sign "'cat"' and the word 'cat'. (i) is worth dwelling on for a moment.is the question how we could learn to use any term 23 I have offeredan accountof R and of what it explainsin LTOBC. WhatevernaturalrelationR there is between parts of a first-orderlanguageand their referentsin the world.incidentally.
Solutions to these problemsare offeredin LTOBC.thereis no 'given'. of can and i6-i8.It is not knowingwhatis experienced.or an 'experience') realityof whichand the character of which is infalliblyand immediatelyrevealedin a bare act of awareness. as Putnamsupposes. and in 'TruthRules.invariably true to his thesis. and occasionallytrails some of his equipment behind him. Consciousnessis radicallynon25 The explanation whyaimingat non-contradiction servethat purposespansLTOBC chaps. It is broughtto a focus in i8. (I have arguedthat it is a biological purpose.428 RuthGarrettMillikan whose referentwas connectedto that term only by a mind-independent or external-to-mind relation. i8 and I9). we purposefullyreact to the presenceof in contradiction ourthoughtby attemptingto makeadjustments ourways in of applying concepts. And (as I have arguedelsewhere)the purpose towardwhich that purpose is a is means to learnto map the world with thoughtsin a systematicway. pp. for example. is an incoherenttheory. or a piece of a phenomenal the world.mightthe empiricalworldbe the only worldthereis.That is. are necessarilyabout THE WORLD? The questionturnson the natureof experienceand of evidence. But could it be evidenced in experience?Turning this around. Ibid. Daniel Dennett's Wherethe Yellow Went'. We do not consciouslyaim at not contradicting ourselves either-certainly not usually. but in a way that reflectsmy own belief that perceptionmay well be cognitiveprior to the applicationof conceptsand sententialinference. and that conscious purposes also are a species of biological purpose). so thatour theories. The thesis is negative:having evidence from experiencedoes not equal thereappearing beforethe mind or consciousness somerealobject(anobject from some realm of real being.Put it a secondway:thereis no kindK of thing of which it is true that 'It is as though I were awareof a K' entails 'Thereis a K of which I am aware'.if they manageto be about anythingat all. the purpose being to develop perceptual and conceptualskills or strategiesthat will not lead us into contradiction. that usually we non-consciouslyaim at consistency is certainlya good theory. For a full discussionof the problemsthat must be faced by a t-i-o-correspondence theoristwho wishes to knowwhatunderstanding languageconsistsin and how one learnsto use a language.on what it is forsomethingto be evidencedin experience. 9 and 15 (as well as in chaps.25 This last purposeis not.he has takena huge leap.). 'Wondering 14 26 . Hoverfliesand the Kripke-Wittgenstein Paradox'(in preparation). 102-8. That is (of course). I98I. 27 Sellarsis not. Like all greatphilosophers. of course. especiallychaps.Let me beginby reminding the readerof a thesis that I taketo be centralto the WilfridSellarscorpus. I think. However. say. a sense datum. Monist. and so on.26 So I have arguedthat t-i-o-correspondence not. such thatthesethoughtscan be usefulguidesto action. See. is not it knowing the nature of one's experience.Or put it a thirdway:experiencing not is as such any kindof knowing.27 I will not put it quite in Sellars'way (that would takea long time).a consciouspurposeeither.see 'The Priceof a Correspondence Truth' (ibid. The answer is that we do not of course consciously aim at mapping cats with 'cat'.
Here 'It is as if I sawgreen spots fading'is renderedsimply 'I see green spots fading'. the possibility remainingthat the man's awarenessmakes the existence at least of the sentencessecure. andthe describingof it is not infallible.pp. .(If they are going to changethe nameof that alleyeveryfew yearsthey reallyshouldput up a permanent sign saying 'blind'. but of an experience. Hume). therecertainlyis not some otherobjectthat I am staringat thathas got itself lodged between.) But if one rejects the given unforgivingly(and I am sure that Putnam really wants to do this). there are also secondaryuses of 'see' as when.Whetheror not I see a cat. Moore.even an experience or a thought-this can not be my mind's or my consciousness'or my brain's rubbing up against that object.nor (of course)a theory-dependent object. or containingthat object.For me to be awareof somethingor to knowsomethingtheremust be somethingtherefor me to be awareof or to know. Ofness. as does every objectthat is intendedor known. intentionality. So perhaps I can see CATS-not just 28 Of course. nor an intentionalobject. Consciousness does not contain either intentionality or knowledge. duringan eye examination.The descriptionis. then either I am staring at mistakenfor a cat.or thathe has a sureknowledgeat leastof the natureof his experience.Mind. nor a phenomenalobject (Kant). nor an intentional nor object(Brentano). Now.it does not follow that there is anythingat all that I am thinking of or intending-neither an idea (Locke. or else somethingelse out therethat I have(perceptually) I am staringat nothing at all.TruthandHistorywhen he tells of a man who has sentencesrunningthroughhis mind that he does not understand But but that he thinkshe doesunderstand.28 Similarly. When I do manage to see or to think of or to know about an object-any object whatsoever. I899. 4-5. nor a bit of objective reality (Descartes).the reply to 'Whatdo you see now?'is 'Greenspots thatkeepfadingand returningagain'. if that thesis should be true.29 a noema(Husserl). 29 G.Truth and History.the experienceis not a knowingaboutitself. then it does not follow from the fact that it is as though I see a cat that thereis anythingat all that I see-neither an idea.But that thereis somethingtherefor me to be awareof or to know and what this thing is is not something that is simply in consciousness. but must be a much less immediate relation. nor a sense datum.fromthe factthatit is as though I werethinkingof or intending something. 'The Nature of Judgment'.30 Putnam'ssketchshows a man mentally staring at or listening to these mental sentences. 30 Reason.nor a concept(Moore).Metaphysical Anti-Realism? 429 epistemic. anywhere.always lies partly outside of consciousness. nor a phenomenal object.nor(of course)a theory-dependent object. (Putnam explicitly grantsthis at the startof Realism. however.) My thought may in fact be entirely empty. If there is no cat there. E. Theory-independent objectsare the only objectsthere are.not of an object seen.In addition. it also follows that there is no problem about evidence for theory-independent objects.
but that would be worth pressing. It follows that that onehas evidence no more a given than is anything else.Grantedthat the only theorieswe can have of language. 31 To see this one must. if you will grantthat acts of awarenessroutinelyoffer evidencewithout being infallibleon any level or about any kind of thing. if a Sellarsiandenial of givenness is so much as coherent. 32 A questionthat I have not pressed. So you canthinkof.incoherentor empty and that it is not verificationtranscendentin any damaging sense.and optic nerve firings. conceptsthat are somehow prior to and independentof our concepts and theories of the rest of the world.perhapsyou can even think of Putnam'syesterday'sthoughts. (Can Putnam?)32 I have argued that the t-i-o-correspondencetheory is not. I have argued that Putnam's distinction between metaphysical realism and internal realism rests upon the untenable that we have conceptsand/ordataavailableto us with which to assumption and talk about the nature and status of (noumenal?phenomenal?) think theories. Now if you insist (andagain. I must with my mind or certainlydo some sort of constructingor reconstructing that I thinkof when I in my head. but that when one has evidence it is always evidence.with apodicticcertainty. concerning theory-independentobjects.3' In order to do so. of course.And.inferences. of course.retinal images.it also followsthat you mayhaveto go all yourlife without ever encounteringany evidence for anything.truth. it just may not be intrinsicallyepistemic. andhaveevidencefor. as Putnam claims. precisely. that is. is then you have grantedmy thesis. of course.of thought. The constructionis not somethingthat has insinuateditself for between mind and cats.and so on. whatis not in yourmind. I phenomenal cats (thereare no such things) but theory-independent see them not only withoutrubbingmy mind or brainup againstthem. thattherecanbe no empiricalevidencefor the t-i-o-correspondence Then.Beingno longertrappedbehindthe veil of yourpresent ideas. you can think of what was aroundbefore your thoughtsand theoriescamealong. of my CATS.likelight-waves. I am sure that Putnamdoes not reallywish to) that empiricalevidencemust be the kind of thing that arrivesas the real objectof a bare. I can think of cats without rubbing my mind or brain against them.then it follows theory. conby. it is a mechanism thinkingof cats. proofthat thereis no given that is given.For consciousnessjust may not be constituted that way.language.But it is not the resultsof this constructing think of cats. but withoutseeinganyof the variousthingsin between.43o Ruth Garrett Millikan cats.is whetherPutnam'santirealismleads inevitablyto (meaning-)solipsism of the moment.also be carefulnot to fall into Berkeley's'I can not thinkof an unthought-ofthing' fallacy. that is (Indeed.unmediatedand infallibleact of awareness. Can Putnam refer to his yesterday's or thoughts-in-themselves only to phenomenalyesterday'sthoughts? .) On the other hand. cerningobjectsnot simply constituted or as a correlateof. anyway. one's thought of orawareness them.
Anti-Realism? 431 Metaphysical and of our theoryconstructions so on. precisely.and Evan Fales for helpful commentson earlierdraftsof this essay. it is. to the worldas 'independent any we representation have of it'. CrawfordElder.S. Michael Devitt. of to correspondence 'THE WORLD'. Storrs. are empiricaltheories. i. Thomas Kuhn. o6268.and granteda Sellarsianview of whatempiricalevidenceis.A. Philosophy of University Connecticut. RUTH GARRETT MILLIKAN 33 I am grateful to John Troyer. then if truth is correspondence at all (round one of the realism/anti-realismdebate).e. Connecticut U. Christopher Peacocke.ChristopherHookway.33 Department. .