`` For All We Know ``

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“For all we know,” (Davidson 111) is an interesting phrase used by Donald Davidson in his paper, “On the Very Idea of Conceptual Scheme.” Davidson was a philosopher who had many interests in the field of philosophy, with one of them being reality and the extent to which it can be understood. This phrase, “for all we know,” sticks out in particular because of how it relates to reality. Reality is a philosophical topic which can never be settled. It will always have an open end, as we will never have access to the underlying facts that would be able to close the case. Because of this, the question of how much of reality can be understood, will continue to be a topic of fiery debate. This is the case for Donald Davidson and his adversary Thomas Nagel who have very differing views. In the eyes of Davidson, we have full access to all of reality. This does not mean that we understand every aspect of it at this moment, but we do have the ability to do so. Nagel disagrees with this and stands by the belief that we have the ability to grasp some of reality, but certainly not all. In the words of Nagel, “The existence of unreachable aspects of reality is independent of their conceivability by any actual mind,” (130). What Nagel is trying to get at is that reality is not defined by its ability to be grasped. It is an external element which is not hinged upon human understanding. This shows a very clear divide between what Davidson and Nagel’s viewpoints. But it all comes down the
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