claim: "Language is not just one of man’s possessions in the world, but on it depends the fact that man has a world at all. . . Not only is the world 'world' only insofar as it comes into language, but language, too, has its real being only in the fact that the world is re-presented in it." (Gadamer, 1985, p. 401) reflects a claim that has Davidson has regularly repeated amid changes in his other positions: "In sharing a language, in whatever sense this is required for communication, we share a picture of the world that must, in its large features be true" (Davidson, 1985, p. 199).
Reality as represented and our representation of reality are mutually reinforcing. This is not a theory of reality, though faut de mieux it may ground theories. It is the basis of meaning and truth. Few philosophers have been as concerned with the conceptual core of our ordinary language as Strawson. In 1992 Strawson returned to the basic issues treated in his classic work, Individuals, but with the more modest goal of describing, rather than prescribing, the core concepts of ordinary language.
A concept or concept-type is basic in the relevant sense if it is one of a set of general, pervasive, and ultimately irreducible concepts, or concept-types which together form a structure--a structure which constitutes the framework of our ordinary thought and talk and which is presupposed by the various specialist or advanced disciplines that contribute, in their diverse ways, to our total picture of the world. (Strawson, 1992, p. 24)
After criticizing the empiricist tradition for slighting the irreducible role of the subject/object distinction, he concludes that the concepts necessary for describing our experience of the world are precisely the concepts of the world described.
The shared doctrine may be briefly summarized. The world is the public world shaped by and transmitted through the language we share. We learn the language only through the assimilation of a vast number of sentences simply accepted as true: cats have fur, the sky is blue, snow is white, water is transparent, and similar banalities. A large but indefinite number of such beliefs constitute the material extension of truth. They presuppose a conceptual core stemming from a subject/object distinction and conceiving of the world as spatio-temporal objects with properties interrelated through the events they participate in and through various causal connections.28 In saying they are true of the world we are not presupposing an objectively given world of objects to which language is compared. The world is what is given through language. Davidson categorizes as the third dogma of empiricism the distinction between schema and content, a distinction manifested in attempts to speak of some content which is independent of and prior to the linguistic ordering we impose on it.
2.2 From Ordinary Language to the Language of physics
LCP functions as a language of discourse. To be interpretable it must share the indispensable core of ordinary language. It has extended and transformed it through the historical developments previously considered. The scientific revolution is generally, and I believe rightly, regarded as the pivot in the transformation from Aristotelian natural philosophy to modern physics. We will skip the details and simply consider its long range effect on the underlying issues of the conceptual core and ontology. The quantitative properties of bodies that admitted of mathematical representation were accepted as the
28 In addition to the philosophers cited an independent doevelopment of the conceptual core of ordinary language may be found in Jackendoff, 1983.