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Why ‘Swampman’ Would Not Even Get as Far as Thinking it Was Davidson: On the Spatio‐temporal Basis of Davidson's Conjuring Trick

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Abstract

In this article, we analyse one of the most famous recent thought experiments in philosophy, namely Donald Davidson’s Swampman. Engaging recent commentators on Davidson’s Swampman as well as analysing the spatio-temporal conditions of the thought-experiment, we will show how the ‘experiment’ inevitably fails. For it doesn’t take seriously some of its own defining characteristics: crucially, Swampman’s creation of a sudden in a place distinct from Davidson’s. Instead of denigrating philosophical thought-experiments per se, our analysis points towards considering thought-experiments in a different sense: imaginary scenarios helpfully self-deconstructing rather than constituting substantive philosophical resources.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-366
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical Investigations
Volume42
Issue number2
Early online date12 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Peer-reviewedYes

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