Why ‘Swampman’ would not even get as far as thinking it was Davidson: On the spatio-temporal basis of Davidson's conjuring trick

Rupert Read, Bo Allesøe

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

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