© 2011, Michael Kaminski


In his address “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme,” Donald Davidson puts forth the notion of varying conceptual schemes. The variation makes relative the notions of truth and concept. Davidson argues against varying conceptual schemes via the construction of a system of translation between different languages. I argue that Davidson’s system, adapted from Tarski’s Convention T, is inconsistent with the requirements of the formal structure Convention T brings. In particular, it is shown that Davidson fails to uniformly apply his notion of what it means to understand a language. Furthermore, it is shown that Davidson’s adaptation of Convention T fails to grasp the heart of Convention T: the removal of the Liar’s Paradox. While these problems disappear upon the repeal of one of Davidson’s assumptions, the cost of the repeal appears to be the loss of a working system.

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