Akeel Bilgrami

Philosophical Perspectives, 1998


This paper will focus entirely on Fodor,ii and even in this limited focus it will have a modest agenda. It will not try and show why holism is harmless and unthreatening, nor will it defend the many different holists, whose arguments and conclusions Fodor has attacked. They are, by all appearances, busy defending themselves. It will not even try and give a head-on and explicit argument in favour of holism, but instead proceed with more indirection. It will pose to Fodor the challenge: Let’s see how well you get along without holism”. If it turns out that Fodor does not get along very well, then we may assume that something like an argument for holism is lodged in the reasons for thinking so. This strategy will require one to look at his own positive alternative to holism, and see whether it is a viable doctrine about meaning and intentionality.

View the paper hereReference and Naturalism