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  1. Jonas Åkerman & Patrick Greenough (2010). Hold the Context Fixed, Vagueness Still Remains. In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Oxford University Press. 275--88.
    Contextualism about vagueness (hereafter ‘Contextualism’) is the view that vagueness consists in a particular species of context-sensitivity and that properly accommodating this fact into our semantic theory will yield a plausible solution to the sorites paradox.[1],[2] But Contextualism, as many commentators have noted, faces the following immediate objection: if we hold the context fixed, vagueness still remains, therefore vagueness is not a species of context-sensitivity. Call this ‘the simple objection’.[3] Absent a convincing reply to the simple objection, Contextualism is in (...)
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  2. Jonas Åkerman & Patrick Greenough (2009). Vagueness and Non-Indexical Contextualism. In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Language. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Contextualism concerning vagueness (hereafter ‘CV’) is a popular response to the puzzle of vagueness.[1] The goal in this paper is to uncover in what ways vagueness may be a particular species of context-sensitivity. The most promising form of CV turns out to be a version of socalled ‘Non-Indexical Contextualism’.[2] In §2, we sketch a generic form of CV (hereafter ‘GCV’). In §3, we distinguish between Truth CV and Content CV. A non-indexical form of CV is a form of Truth CV, (...)
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  3. Scott AnderBois (2012). Focus and Uninformativity in Yucatec Maya Questions. Natural Language Semantics 20 (4):349-390.
    Crosslinguistically, questions frequently make crucial use of morphosyntactic elements which also occur outside of questions. Chief among these are focus, disjunctions, and wh-words with indefinite semantics. This paper provides a compositional account of the semantics of wh-, alternative, and polar questions in Yucatec Maya (YM), which are composed primarily of these elements. Key to the account is a theory of disjunctions and indefinites (extending work by others) which recognizes the inherently inquisitive nature of these elements. While disjunctions and indefinites are (...)
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  4. Françoise Armengaud (1982). Eléments Pour Une Approche Pragmatique de la Pertinence. Philosophica 29.
  5. Jay David Atlas (1989). Philosophy Without Ambiguity: A Logico-Linguistic Essay. Oxford University Press.
    This book expounds and defends a new conception of the relation between truth and meaning. Atlas argues that the sense of a sense-general sentence radically underdetermines (independently of indexicality) its truth-conditional content. He applies this linguistic analysis to illuminate old and new philosophical problems of meaning, truth, falsity, negation, existence, presupposition, and implicature. In particular, he demonstrates how the concept of ambiguity has been misused and confused with other concepts of meaning, and how the interface between semantics and pragmatics has (...)
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  6. Kent Bach, What is (Semantic) Contextualism?
    Sentences whose semantic contents seem to differ in different contexts, in virtue of containing expressions of such sorts as the following (there may be others).
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  7. Kent Bach (2000). Quantification, Qualification and Context a Reply to Stanley and Szabó. Mind and Language 15 (2&3):262–283.
    We hardly ever mean exactly what we say. I don’t mean that we generally speak figuratively or that we’re generally insincere. Rather, I mean that we generally speak loosely, omitting words that could have made what we meant more explicit and letting our audience fill in the gaps. Language works far more efficiently when we do that. Literalism can have its virtues, as when we’re drawing up a contract, programming a computer, or writing a philosophy paper, but we generally opt (...)
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  8. Yehoshua Bar-Hillel (1954). Indexical Expressions. Mind 63 (251):359-379.
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  9. Anne Bezuidenhout (2006). The Coherence of Contextualism. Mind and Language 21 (1):1–10.
    Cappelen and Lepore (2005) begin their critique of contextualism with an anecdote about an exercise they do with their undergraduate students (who I take it are meant to be naïve subjects whose linguistic intuitions have not been contaminated by mistaken philosophical theories). The test is to ask students to categorize types of expressions. Students quickly get the hang of the idea that referring expressions (like indexicals and pronouns) belong to a single category. They’re then asked whether they think that common (...)
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  10. Claudia Bianchi (2013). How to Do Things with (Recorded) Words. Philosophical Studies 167 (2):485-495.
    The aim of this paper is to evaluate which context determines the illocutionary force of written or recorded utterances—those involved in written texts, films and images, conceived as recordings that can be seen or heard in different occasions. More precisely, my paper deals with the “metaphysical” or constitutive role of context—as opposed to its epistemic or evidential role: my goal is to determine which context is semantically relevant in order to fix the illocutionary force of a speech act, as distinct (...)
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  11. Claudia Bianchi (2006). 'Nobody Loves Me': Quantification and Context. Philosophical Studies 130 (2):377 - 397.
    In my paper, I present two competing perspectives on the foundational problem (as opposed to the descriptive problem) of quantifier domain restriction: the objective perspective on context (OPC) and the intentional perspective on context (IPC). According to OPC, the relevant domain for a quantified sentence is determined by objective facts of the context of utterance. In contrast, according to IPC, we must consider certain features of the speaker’s intention in order to determine the proposition expressed. My goal is to offer (...)
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  12. Lars Binderup (2008). Brogaard's Moral Contextualism. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):410–415.
    Brogaard's non-indexical version of moral contextualism has two related problems. It is unable to account for the function of truth-governed assertoric moral discourse, since it leaves two (semantically clearheaded) disputants without any incentive to resolve seemingly contradictory moral claims. The moral contextualist could explain why people do feel such an incentive by ascribing false beliefs about the semantic workings of their own language. But, secondly, this leaves Brogaard's moral contextualism looking weaker than a Mackie-style invariantist error theory about morals. The (...)
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  13. Gunnar Björnsson (2011). Towards a Radically Pragmatic Theory of If-Conditionals. In K. P. Turner (ed.), Making Semantics Pragmatic (CRiSPI, Vol. 24). Emerald.
    It is generally agreed that constructions of the form “if P, Q” are capable of conveying a number of different relations between antecedent and consequent, with pragmatics playing a central role in determining these relations. Controversy concerns what the conventional contribution of the if-clause is, how it constrains the pragmatic processes, and what those processes are. In this essay, I begin to argue that the conventional contribution of if-clauses to semantics is exhausted by the fact that these clauses introduce a (...)
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  14. Gunnar Björnsson & Alexander Almér (2009). Contextualism, Assessor Relativism, and Insensitive Assessments. Logique Et Analyse 52 (208):363-372.
    Recently, contextualism about epistemic modals and predicates of taste have come under fire from advocates of assessment relativistic analyses. Contextualism, they have argued, fails to account for what we call "felicitous insensitive assessments". In this paper, we provide one hitherto overlooked way in which contextualists can embrace the phenomenon by slightly modifying an assumption that has remained in the background in most of the debate over contextualism and relativism. Finally, we briefly argue that the resulting contextualist account is at least (...)
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  15. Gunnar Björnsson & Stephen Finlay (2010). Metaethical Contextualism Defended. Ethics 121 (1):7-36.
    We defend a contextualist account of deontic judgments as relativized both to (i) information and to (ii) standards or ends, against recent objections that turn on practices of moral disagreement. Kolodny & MacFarlane argue that information-relative contextualism cannot accommodate the connection between deliberation and advice; we suggest in response that they misidentify the basic concerns of deliberating agents. For pragmatic reasons, semantic assessments of normative claims sometimes are evaluations of propositions other than those asserted. Weatherson, Schroeder and others have raised (...)
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  16. Martijn Blaauw (ed.) (2013). Contrastivism in Philosophy. Routledge.
    This volume brings together state-of-the-art research on the contrastive treatment of philosophical concepts and questions, including knowledge, belief, free will, moral luck, Bayesian confirmation theory, causation, and explanation.
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  17. Jason Bridges, Wittgenstein Vs. Semantic Contextualism.
    Semantic contextualism is a view about the meanings of utterances. The relevant notion of meaning is that of what is said by an utterance, as it is sometimes put, of the content of the utterance. Semantic contextualism (which I will henceforth simply label “contextualism”) holds that the content of an utterance is shaped in far-reaching and unobvious ways by the circumstances, the context, in which it is uttered. Two utterances of the same sentence might vary in content as a result (...)
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  18. Jason Bridges (2010). Wittgenstein Vs Contextualism. In Arif Ahmed (ed.), Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press.
    A critique of attempts by Charles Travis and others to read contextualism back into Philosophical Investigations. The central interpretive claim is that this reading is not only unsupported; it gets Wittgenstein's intent, in the parts of the text at issue, precisely backwards. The focus of the chapter is on Wittgenstein's treatment of explanation, understanding, proper names, and family-resemblance concepts.
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  19. Alan Brinton (1977). Definite Descriptions and Context-Dependence. Noûs 11 (4):397-407.
  20. Berit Brogaard (2008). Moral Contextualism and Moral Relativism. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):385 - 409.
    Moral relativism provides a compelling explanation of linguistic data involving ordinary moral expressions like 'right' and 'wrong'. But it is a very radical view. Because relativism relativizes sentence truth to contexts of assessment it forces us to revise standard linguistic theory. If, however, no competing theory explains all of the evidence, perhaps it is time for a paradigm shift. However, I argue that a version of moral contextualism can account for the same data as relativism without relativizing sentence truth to (...)
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  21. Elisabeth Camp (2006). Contextualism, Metaphor, and What is Said. Mind and Language 21 (3):280–309.
    On a familiar and prima facie plausible view of metaphor, speakers who speak metaphorically say one thing in order to mean another. A variety of theorists have recently challenged this view; they offer criteria for distinguishing what is said from what is merely meant, and argue that these support classifying metaphor within 'what is said'. I consider four such criteria, and argue that when properly understood, they support the traditional classification instead. I conclude by sketching how we might extract a (...)
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  22. Elisabeth Camp (2005). Review: Josef Stern, Metaphor in Context. [REVIEW] Noûs 39 (4):715-731.
    Metaphor is a crucially context-dependent linguistic phenomenon. This fact was not clearly recognized until some time in the 1970’s. Until then, most theorists assumed that a sentence must have a fixed set of metaphorical meanings, if it had any at all. Often, they also assumed that metaphoricity was the product of grammatical deviance, in the form of a category mistake. To compensate for this deviance, they thought, at least one of the sentence’s constituent terms underwent a meaning-changing ‘metaphorical twist’, which (...)
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  23. Herman Cappelen (2008). Content Relativism and Semantic Blindness. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Max Koelbel (eds.), Relative Truth. Oxford University Press. 265-86.
    For some relativists some of the time the evidence for their view is a puzzling data pattern: On the one hand, there's evidence that the terms in question exhibit some kind of content stability across contexts. On the other hand, there's evidence that their contents vary from one context of use to another. The challenge is to reconcile these two sets of data. Truth relativists claim that their theory can do so better than contextualism and invariantism. Truth relativists, in effect, (...)
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  24. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore, Reply to Ken Taylor.
    In Insensitive Semantics (INS) and several earlier articles (see C&L 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004) we appeal to a range of procedures for testing whether an expression is semantically context sensitive. We argue that claims to the effect that an expression, e, is semantically context sensitivity should be made only after checking whether e passes these tests. We use these tests to criticize those we classify as Radical and Moderate Contextualist (Taylor is one of our targets in the latter category.).
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  25. Chad Carmichael (forthcoming). Quantification and Conversation. In Joseph Keim Campbell Michael O.’Rourke & Harry S. Silverstein (eds.), Reference and Referring: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy. MIT Press.
    Relative to an ordinary context, an utterance of the sentence ‘Everything is in the car’ communicates a proposition about a restricted domain. But how does this work? One possibility is that quantifier expressions like 'everything' are context sensitive and range over different domains in different contexts. Another possibility is that quantifier expressions are not context sensitive, but have a fixed, absolutely general meaning, and ordinary utterances communicate a restricted content via Gricean mechanisms. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, the (...)
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  26. Gennaro Chierchia (1994). Intensionality and Context Change. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 3 (2):141-168.
    It is arguably desirable to have a theory of meaning that (i) does not identify propositions with sets of worlds, (ii) enables to capture the dynamic character of semantic interpretation and (iii) provides the basis for a semantic program that incorporates and extends the achievements of Montague semantics. A theory of properties and propositions that meets these desiderata is developed and several applications to the semantic analysis of natural languages are explored.
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  27. Lenny Clapp (2012). Three Challenges for Indexicalism. Mind and Language 27 (4):435-465.
    Indexicalism is a strategy for defending truth-conditional semantics from under-determination arguments. According to indexicalism the class of indexical expressions includes not only the obvious indexicals, e.g. demonstratives and personal pronouns, but also unobvious indexical expressions, expressions which allegedly have been discovered to be indexicals. This paper argues that indexicalism faces significant obstacles that have yet to be overcome. The issue that divides indexicalism and truth-conditional pragmatics is first clarified. And then three general problems for indexicalism are presented, and some potential (...)
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  28. Jonathan Cohen & Samuel C. Rickless (2007). Binding Arguments and Hidden Variables. Analysis 67 (1):65–71.
    o (2000), 243). In particular, the idea is that binding interactions between the relevant expressions and natural lan- guage quantifiers are best explained by the hypothesis that those expressions harbor hidden but bindable variables. Recently, however, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore have rejected such binding arguments for the presence of hid- den variables on the grounds that they overgeneralize — that, if sound, such arguments would establish the presence of hidden variables in all sorts of ex- pressions where it is (...)
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  29. John Collier (2005). Pragmatist Pragmatics: The Functional Context of Utterances. Philosophica 75.
    Formal pragmatics plays an important, though secondary, role in modern analytical philosophy of language: its aim is to explain how context can affect the meaning of certain special kinds of utterances. During recent years, the adequacy of formal tools has come under attack, often leading to one or another form of relativism or antirealism.1 Our aim will be to extend the critique to formal pragmatics while showing that sceptical conclusions can be avoided by developing a different approach to the issues. (...)
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  30. Julia Colterjohn & Duncan MacIntosh (1987). Gerald Vision and Indexicals. Analysis 47 (1):58-60.
    The indexical thesis says that the indexical terms, “I”, “here” and “now” necessarily refer to the person, place and time of utterance, respectively, with the result that the sentence, “I am here now” cannot express a false proposition. Gerald Vision offers supposed counter-examples: he says, “I am here now”, while pointing to the wrong place on a map; or he says it in a note he puts in the kitchen for his wife so she’ll know he’s home even though he’s (...)
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  31. Eros Corazza (2007). Contextualism, Minimalism, and Situationalism. Pragmatics and Cognition 15 (1):115-137.
    After discussing some difficulties that contextualism and minimalism face, this paper presents a new account of the linguistic exploitation of context, situationalism. Unlike the former accounts, situationalism captures the idea that the main intuitions underlying the debate concern not the identity of propositions expressed but rather how truth-values are situation-dependent. The truth-value of an utterance depends on the situation in which the proposition expressed is evaluated. Hence, like in minimalism, the proposition expressed can be truthevaluable without being enriched or expanded. (...)
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  32. Tom Donaldson & Ernie Lepore, Context-Sensitivity.
    (1) I’m Spartacus! [Said by Spartacus] (2) I’m Spartacus! [Said by Antoninus] What Spartacus said was true, and what Antoninus said was not. Yet the two slaves uttered the exact same sentence, so how can this be? Admittedly, the puzzle is not very hard, and its solution is uncontroversial. The first person pronoun “I” is – to use a technical term – context sensitive. When Spartacus uses it, it refers to Spartacus; when Antoninus uses it, it refers to Antoninus. So (...)
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  33. Andy Egan (2009). Billboards, Bombs and Shotgun Weddings. Synthese 166 (2):251 - 279.
    It's a presupposition of a very common way of thinking about contextsensitivity in language that the semantic contribution made by a bit of context-sensitive vocabulary is sensitive only to features of the speaker's situation at the time of utterance. I argue that this is false, and that we need a theory of context-dependence that allows for content to depend not just on the features of the utterance's origin, but also on features of its destination. There are cases in which a (...)
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  34. Stephen Finlay & Justin Snedegar (2013). One Ought Too Many. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):102-124.
    Some philosophers hold that „ought‟ is ambiguous between a sense expressing a propositional operator and a sense expressing a relation between an agent and an action. We defend the opposing view that „ought‟ always expresses a propositional operator against Mark Schroeder‟s recent objections that it cannot adequately accommodate an ambiguity in „ought‟ sentences between evaluative and deliberative readings, predicting readings of sentences that are not actually available. We show how adopting an independently well-motivated contrastivist semantics for „ought‟, according to which (...)
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  35. James Franklin & S. W. K. Chan (2003). Dynamic Context Generation for Natural Language Understanding: A Multifaceted Knowledge Approach. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part A 33:23-41.
    We describe a comprehensive framework for text un- derstanding, based on the representation of context. It is designed..
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  36. Christopher Gauker (2013). Inexplicit Thoughts. In Laurence Goldstein (ed.), Brevity. Oxford University Press. 74-90.
    It is often assumed that, though we may speak in sentences that express propositions only inexplicitly, our thoughts must express their propositional contents explicitly. This paper argues that, on the contrary, thoughts too may be inexplicit. Inexplicit thoughts may effectively drive behavior inasmuch as they rest on a foundation of imagistic cognition. The paper also sketches an approach to semantic theory that accommodates inexplicitness in mental representations as well as in spoken sentences.
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  37. Christopher Gauker (2008). Against Accommodation: Heim, van der Sandt, and the Presupposition Projection Problem. Noûs 42 (1):171 - 205.
    This paper criticizes the dominant approaches to presupposition projection and proposes an alternative. Both the update semantics of Heim and the discourse representation theory of van der Sandt have problems in explicating the presuppositions of disjunctions. Moreover, Heim's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that founders on the problem of informative presuppositions, and van der Sandt's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that generates over-interpretations of utterances. The present approach borrows Karttunen's idea that instead of associating (...)
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  38. Christopher Gauker (2006). Against Stepping Back: A Critique of Contextualist Approaches to the Semantic Paradoxes. [REVIEW] Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (4):393 - 422.
    A number of philosophers have argued that the key to understanding the semantic paradoxes is to recognize that truth is essentially relative to context. All of these philosophers have been motivated by the idea that once a liar sentence has been uttered we can 'step back' and, from the point of view of a different context, judge that the liar sentence is true. This paper argues that this 'stepping back' idea is a mistake that results from failing to relativize truth (...)
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  39. Christopher Gauker (1998). Intelligibility in Semantics: Reply to Van Deemter. Mind 107 (426):447-450.
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  40. Christopher Gauker (1997). Universal Instantiation: A Study of the Role of Context in Logic. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 46 (2):185-214.
    The rule of universal instantiation appears to be subject to counterexamples, although the rule of existential generalization is not subject to the same doubts. This paper is a survey of ways of responding to this problem, both conservative and revisionist. The conclusion drawn is that logical validity should be defined in terms of assertibility in a context rather than in terms of truth on an interpretation. Contexts are here defined, not in terms of the attitudes of the interlocutors, but in (...)
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  41. Michael Glanzberg (2007). Context, Content, and Relativism. Philosophical Studies 136 (1):1--29.
    This paper argues against relativism, focusing on relativism based on the semantics of predicates of personal taste. It presents and defends a contextualist semantics for these predicates, derived from current work on gradable adjectives. It then considers metasemantic questions about the kinds of contextual parameters this semantics requires. It argues they are not metasemantically different from those in other gradable adjectives, and that contextual parameters of this sort are widespread in natural language. Furthermore, this paper shows that if such parameters (...)
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  42. Steven Gross (2001). Essays on Linguistic Context-Sensitivity and its Philosophical Significance. Routledge.
    Drawing upon research in philosophical logic, linguistics and cognitive science, this study explores how our ability to use and understand language depends upon our capacity to keep track of complex features of the contexts in which we converse.
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  43. Robert F. Hadley (2004). On the Proper Treatment of Semantic Systematicity. Minds and Machines 14 (2):145-172.
    The past decade has witnessed the emergence of a novel stance on semantic representation, and its relationship to context sensitivity. Connectionist-minded philosophers, including Clark and van Gelder, have espoused the merits of viewing hidden-layer, context-sensitive representations as possessing semantic content, where this content is partially revealed via the representations'' position in vector space. In recent work, Bodén and Niklasson have incorporated a variant of this view of semantics within their conception of semantic systematicity. Moreover, Bodén and Niklasson contend that they (...)
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  44. Nat Hansen (forthcoming). Just What Is It That Makes Travis's Examples So Different, So Appealing? In J. Collins A. Davies & T. Dobler (eds.), Themes from Charles Travis: On Language,Thought and Perception. Oxford University Press.
    Odd and memorable examples are a distinctive feature of Charles Travis's work: cases involving squash balls, soot-covered kettles, walls that emit poison gas, faces turning puce, ties made of freshly cooked linguine, and people grunting when punched in the solar plexus all figure in his arguments. One of Travis's examples, involving a pair of situations in which the leaves of a Japanese maple tree are painted green, has even spawned its own literature consisting of attempts to explain the context sensitivity (...)
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  45. Nat Hansen (2013). A Slugfest of Intuitions: Contextualism and Experimental Design. Synthese 190 (10):1771-1792.
    This paper considers ways that experimental design can affect judgments about informally presented context shifting experiments. Reasons are given to think that judgments about informal context shifting experiments are affected by an exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments and by experimenter bias. Exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments may produce experimental artifacts by obscuring important differences of degree between the phenomena being investigated. Experimenter bias is an effect generated when, for example, experimenters disclose (even unconsciously) their own beliefs (...)
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  46. Nat Hansen (2012). J. L. Austin and Literal Meaning. European Journal of Philosophy 20 (4):n/a-n/a.
    Alice Crary has recently developed a radical reading of J. L. Austin's philosophy of language. The central contention of Crary's reading is that Austin gives convincing reasons to reject the idea that sentences have context-invariant literal meaning. While I am in sympathy with Crary about the continuing importance of Austin's work, and I think Crary's reading is deep and interesting, I do not think literal sentence meaning is one of Austin's targets, and the arguments that Crary attributes to Austin or (...)
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  47. John Hawthorne (2006). Testing for Context-Dependence. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):443–450.
  48. Richard Heck (2006). MacFarlane on Relative Truth. Philosophical Issues 16 (1):88–100.
  49. C. Hitchcock (1999). Contrastive Explanation and the Demons of Determinism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):585-612.
    It it tempting to think that if an outcome had some probability of not occurring, then we cannot explain why that outcome in fact occurred. Despite this intuition, most philosophers of science have come to admit the possibility of indeterministic explanation. Yet some of them continue to hold that if an outcome was not determined, it cannot be explained why that outcome rather than some other occurred. I argue that this is an untenable compromise: if indeterministic explanation is possible, then (...)
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  50. Hans Kamp & Barbara Hall Partee (eds.) (2004). Context-Dependence in the Analysis of Linguistic Meaning. Elsevier.
    Does context and context-dependence belong to the research agenda of semantics - and, specifically, of formal semantics? Not so long ago many linguists and philosophers would probably have given a negative answer to the question. However, recent developments in formal semantics have indicated that analyzing natural language semantics without a thorough accommodation of context-dependence is next to impossible. The classification of the ways in which context and context-dependence enter semantic analysis, though, is still a matter of much controversy and some (...)
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