“…the Yoruba do not have a distinction corresponding to our distinction between knowledge and (mere) true belief.” (Steven Stitch, 1988)
Apart from the fact that Stitch’s distinction belongs to esoteric philosophy, would one distinction necessarily mean we don’t share a conceptual scheme (CS) or conceptual schemes (CSs) with the Yoruba? (This is to assume, for argument’s sake, that this is the only substantive - if it is substantive - difference.) This leads to the question: How many differences make a different and incompatible CS? And if a distinction were made between two different CSs, the boundary between them may well be vague. How deep must conceptual variance go before something is christened a “new self-contained conceptual scheme”? Would it necessarily mean that a new CS would or could never look out at other - possibly competing - CSs?Clearly simple differences in beliefs can’t themselves constitute differences in CSs. If it did, we’d all belong to different CSs. (In fact we’d all have our own CS.) It's when concepts and/or beliefs begin to link up that they entail/imply each other or are inferred from one another that the question of CSs arises. In the Stitch example, it would be a question of whether or not having the notion knowledge (rather than true belief) itself entails, implies or generates other concepts which form a CS. Clearly a belief in true belief isn't itself a singular belief. It is a belief made up of other beliefs. Of course we can also ask if this is just a philosophical distinction that not even members of our own culture share.
“Each concept or the conceptual scheme must be divorceable intact from our practices, from whatever constituted the essential nature of the plain…observers who usually by means of our senses, ascertain, when possible, whether items fulfil the conditions legislated by concepts.” (1972)
This is quite a difficult passage to understand because of its over-laden with metaphors. Does Thompson Clarke step outside his own CS/s into another one? Or does he adopt a God’s-eye view of “the plain”? There's a hint in the above that he becomes free from concepts and CSs when he asks “whether items [sensory items] fulfil the conditions legislated by concepts”. Thus these sensory “items” (contrary to Donald Davidson’s (1973) position) seem to come first - at least on this occasion. He's certainly committed to the world’s “essential” nature when he talks of “the essential nature of the plain”.
A = A in all conceptual schemes
A = B = C ⊃ A = C in all conceptual schemes
Or modus ponens:
P ⊃ Q
“Snow is white” is true if and only if snow is white.
Nagel, Thomas. (1997) The Last Word.
Stitch, Steven. (1988) 'The Problem of Cognitive Diversity'.