While rereading Rorty's response to Ramberg in "Rorty and His Critics", I had a thought about why McDowell doesn't seem to like the notion of "triangulation". Davidson introduces the notion as something that doesn't require language. Monkeys can triangulate -- they react one way to snakes, another way to lions, and another way to eagles, and monkeys can notice these different reactions, and in this way avoid predators. Which makes it seem like the point of the notion is to explain animal behavior, primarily; human behavior is then a type of animal behavior that it explains. I've reread several of Davidson's later essays recently, and he pretty consistently uses it in ways that can be read like this: triangulation is something generic to rational and non-rational animals, and in interpretation of a rational animal some additional factor is brought into view. Triangulation + Language = Rational Animals.
Davidsonians seem to speak a bit differently (though I'd argue that they simply bring forth what's already present in Davidson's texts). Here's the bit from Davidson that Rorty, in his response to Ramberg, said he had previously found "utterly opaque":
We depend on our linguistic interpretations with others to yield agreement on the properties of numbers and the sort of structures in nature that allow us to represent those structures in numbers. We cannot in the same way agree on the structure of sentences or thoughts we use to chart the thoughts and meanings of others, for the attempt to reach such agreement simply sends us back to the very process of interpretation on which all agreement depends.And here's Rorty:
I did not understand the second sentence in this passage until I read it in Ramberg's way. Read that way, it can be paraphrased as saying "Whereas you can, in the course of triangulation, criticize any given claim about anything you talk about, you cannot ask for agreement that others shall take part in a process of triangulation." The inescapability of norms is the inescapability, for both describers and agents, of triangulating.This is a far cry from "running when the other monkey hoots, climbing a tree when he hollers". If McDowell reads "triangulation" in the more generic sense, this might explain why he misses some of the more Gadamerian elements of Davidson.
In addition, rereading Rorty's response has reminded me just how fantastic this volume is. This stuff is just captivating. Really terrific.