Dummett and the problem of the vanishing past

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Abstract

Dummett has recently presented his most mature and sophisticated version of justificationism, i.e. the view
that meaning and truth are to be analysed in terms of justifiability. In this paper, I argue that this conception does not
resolve a difficulty that also affected Dummett’s earlier version of justificationism: the problem that large tracts of the
past continuously vanish as their traces in the present dissipate. Since Dummett’s justificationism is essentially based on
the assumption that the speaker has limited (i.e. non-idealized) cognitive powers, no further refinement of this position is
likely to settle the problem of the vanishing past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalLinguistic & Philosophical Investigations
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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