Print this page Share

Holism: A Shopper's Guide

ISBN: 978-0-631-18193-4
292 pages
April 1992, Wiley-Blackwell
Holism: A Shopper


The main question addressed in this book is whether individuation of the contents of thoughts and linguistic expressions is inherently holistic. The authors consider arguments that are alleged to show that the meaning of a scientific hypothesis depends on the entire theory that entails it, or that the content of a concept depends on the entire belief system of which it is part. If these arguments are sound then it would follow that the meanings of words, sentences, hypotheses, predictions, discourses, dialogs, texts, thoughts and the like are merely derivative. The implications of holism about meaning for other philosophical issues (intentional explanation, translation, Realism, skepticism, etc.) will also be explored. Authors discussed include Quine, Davidson, Lewis, Bennett, Block, Field, Churchland, and others. The book is intended for all those interested in language, mind, metaphysics or epistemology.
See More

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: A Geography of The Issues.

2. Confirmation Holism and Meaning Holism: W. V. O. Quine.

3. Meaning Holism and Radical Interpretation: Donald Davidson.

4. Meaning Holism and The Inextricability Thesis: David Lewis.

5. Meaning Holism and The Normativity of Intentional Ascription (and A Little More about Davidson): D. C. Dennett.

6. Meaning Holism and Conceptual Role Semantics: Ned Block.

7. State Space Semantics (and A Brief Conclusion): Paul Churchland.

See More

Author Information

Jerry Fodor is the author of numerous, and influential, books, most recently A Theory of Content and Other Essays (1990).

Ernest Lepore is the co-editor of the recent John Searle and his Critics (Blackwell, 1991) and of two volumes of essays on Donald Davidson, as well as numerous articles on philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.

See More

The Wiley Advantage

* A witty, controversial and partisan book on a subject of central importance to philosophers, psychologists, linguists and cognitive scientists.
* It covers all the main positions held by key people in the field.
* Fodor is probably the most influential figure in current cognitive science.
See More


"The informality and freshness of style is like a conversation with the reader - the authors bring a new and much needed rigour to their critique of holism." Oliver Sacks

"Fodor and Lepore's discussion of holism is unrivalled in argumentative density and philosophical energy, and it will certainly lead to a storm of new activity." Mind

See More
Back to Top