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Philosophy of Language

Edited by Berit Brogaard (University of Missouri, St. Louis)
Assistant editor: Jiangtian Li (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2016-06-27
    Haoze Li & Jess H.-K. Law (forthcoming). Alternatives in Different Dimensions: A Case Study of Focus Intervention. Linguistics and Philosophy:1-45.
    In Beck, focus intervention is used as an argument for reducing Hamblin’s semantics for questions to Rooth’s focus semantics. Drawing on novel empirical evidence from Mandarin and English, we argue that this reduction is unwarranted. Maintaining both Hamblin’s original semantics and Rooth’s focus semantics not only allows for a more adequate account for focus intervention in questions, but also correctly predicts that focus intervention is a very general phenomenon caused by interaction of alternatives in different dimensions.
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  2. added 2016-06-27
    C. Kelp & M. Simion (forthcoming). Criticism and Blame in Action and Assertion. Journal of Philosophy.
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  3. added 2016-06-27
    C. Kelp (forthcoming). Assertion: A Function First Account. Noûs.
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  4. added 2016-06-25
    Brian Buccola & Benjamin Spector (forthcoming). Modified Numerals and Maximality. Linguistics and Philosophy:1-49.
    In this article, we describe and attempt to solve a puzzle arising from the interpretation of modified numerals like less than five and between two and five. The puzzle is this: such modified numerals seem to mean different things depending on whether they combine with distributive or non-distributive predicates. When they combine with distributive predicates, they intuitively impose a kind of upper bound, whereas when they combine with non-distributive predicates, they do not. We propose and explore in detail four solutions (...)
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  5. added 2016-06-25
    Martin Hinton (ed.) (2016). Evidence, Experiment and Argument in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language. Peter Lang.
    This volume is concerned with issues in experimental philosophy and experimental linguistics. Examining experiments in language from a variety of perspectives, it asks what form they should take and what should count as evidence. There is particular focus on the status of linguistic intuitions and the use of language corpora. A number of papers address issues of methodology in experimental work, while other contributions examine the use of thought experiments and what the hypothetical can tell us about the actual. The (...)
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  6. added 2016-06-25
    Andrei Moldovan (2015). Incomplete Descriptions and the Underdetermination Problem. Research in Language 13 (4):352–367.
    The purpose of this paper is to discuss two phenomena related to the semantics of definite descriptions: that of incomplete uses of descriptions, and that of the underdetermination of referential uses of descriptions. The Russellian theorist has a way of accounting for incomplete uses of descriptions by appealing to an account of quantifier domain restriction, such as the one proposed in Stanley and Szabó (2000a). But, I argue, the Russellian is not the only one in a position to appeal to (...)
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  7. added 2016-06-24
    Karen Green (2016). On the Error of Treating Functions as Objects. Analysis and Metaphysics 15.
  8. added 2016-06-24
    David Papineau, David Macarthur, Mario De Caro, Juliano Santos do Carmo, Ruth Garret Millikan, Clademir Araldi, Flávia Carvalho, Evandro Barbosa, Fabrício Pontin, Thomas Sukopp, José Eduardo Porcher, João Hobuss, Susana Nuccetelli, Jack Ritchie, Nythamar Oliveira, Felipe Karasek, Adriano Naves de Brito, Sofia Stein & Luis Rosa (eds.) (2015). A Companion to Naturalism. NEPFIL Online | Dissertatio's Series of Philosophy.
    Offering a engaging and accessible portrait of the current state of the field, A Companion to Naturaslim shows students how to think about the relation between Philosophy and Science, and why is both essencial and fascinating to do so. All the authors in this collection reconsider the core questions in Philosophical Naturalism in light of the challenges raised in Contemporary Philosophy. They explore how philosophical questions are connected to vigorous current debates - including complex questions about metaphysics, semantics, religion, intentionality, (...)
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  9. added 2016-06-24
    Juliano Santos do Carmo, Eduardo Ferreira das Neves Filho, Alexandre Noronha Machado, Darlei Dall'Agnol, Janyne Satler, João Vergílio Gallerani Cuter, Jonadas Techio, Rogério Saucedo & Victor Krebs (2014). Wittgenstein: Notas Sobre Lógica, Pensamento e Certeza. NEPFIL Online | Dissertatio's Series of Philosophy.
    O objetivo desta publicação é incentivar a produção filosófica de excelência por parte de pesquisadores notadamente influenciados pela filosofia de Wittgenstein e cujos temas possam suscitar um debate aprofundado. Além de desafiar o empreendimento filosófico contemporâneo, os temas aqui apresentados abordam questões que muitas vezes estão além daquelas consideradas por Wittgenstein em seu tempo. O leitor encontrará neste volume questões relacionadas ao ceticismo semântico e epistêmico, ao relativismo ético, às leituras literárias de Wittgenstein, ao problema das outras mentes e percepção (...)
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  10. added 2016-06-22
    Alberto Voltolini (2016). A Syncretistic Theory of Proper Names. In A. Bianchi, V. Morato & G. Spolaore (eds.), The Importance of Being Ernesto. Reference, Truth and Logical Form. Padova University Press 141-164.
    In this paper, I want to show that, far from being incompatible, a Predicate Theory of proper names and the Direct Reference thesis can be combined in a syncretistic account. There are at least three plausible such accounts – one which compares proper names in their referential use to referentially used proper definite descriptions, another one that compares them in this use to demonstratives, and a third one which, although it is as indexicalist as the second one, conceives proper names (...)
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  11. added 2016-06-20
    Tristan Haze (forthcoming). On Identity Statements: In Defense of a Sui Generis View. Disputatio.
    This paper is about the meaning and function of identity statements involving proper names. There are two prominent views on this topic, according to which identity statements ascribe a relation: the object-view, on which identity statements ascribe a relation borne by all objects to themselves, and the name-view, on which an identity statement 'a is b' says that the names 'a' and 'b' codesignate. The object- and name-views may seem to exhaust the field. I make a case for treating identity (...)
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  12. added 2016-06-18
    Miguel Hoeltje (2016). 'Meaning and Truth' and 'Truth and Meaning'. Dialectica 70 (2):201-215.
    Donald Davidson suggested that, in attempting to give meaning theories, we should proceed via giving truth theories. For the programme of truth-theoretic semantics to be successful, two tasks need to be accomplished. First, it has to be shown that natural languages are actually amendable to truth theoretic treatment. The second task is to show how we can bridge the gap between a truth theory and a genuine meaning theory. This second task is necessitated by the simple fact that truth theories (...)
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  13. added 2016-06-18
    Márta Abrusán (2016). Presupposition Cancellation: Explaining the ‘Soft–Hard’ Trigger Distinction. Natural Language Semantics 24 (2):165-202.
    Some presuppositions are easier to cancel than others in embedded contexts. This contrast has been used as evidence for distinguishing two fundamentally different kinds of presuppositions, ‘soft’ and ‘hard’. ‘Soft’ presuppositions are usually assumed to arise in a pragmatic way, while ‘hard’ presuppositions are thought to be genuine semantic presuppositions. This paper argues against such a distinction and proposes to derive the difference in cancellation from inherent differences in how presupposition triggers interact with the context: their focus sensitivity, anaphoricity, and (...)
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  14. added 2016-06-17
    Paul Teller, Language and the Complexity of the World.
    Nature is complex, exceedingly so. A repercussion of this “complex world constraint” is that it is, in practice, impossible to connect words to the world in a foolproof manner. In this paper I explore the ways in which the complex world constraint makes vagueness, or more generally imprecision, in language in practice unavoidable, illuminates what vagueness comes to, and guides us to a sensible way of thinking about truth. Along the way we see that the problem of ceteris paribus laws (...)
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  15. added 2016-06-13
    Daniel Fogal (forthcoming). Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay. [REVIEW] Ethics.
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  16. added 2016-06-13
    Renée Jorgensen Bolinger (2015). The Pragmatics of Slurs. Noûs 50 (2):n/a-n/a.
    I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term. Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theoretical cost and imposes few constraints on (...)
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  17. added 2016-06-12
    Alex Davies (forthcoming). Communicating by Doing Something Else. In Tamara Dobler, John Collins & Alun Davies (eds.), Themes from Charles Travis: On Language, Thought, and Perception. Oxford University Press
    It's sometimes thought that context-invariant linguistic meaning must be a character (a function from context types to contents) because if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character then communication would not be possible. In this paper, I explain how communication could proceed even if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character.
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  18. added 2016-06-12
    Alex Davies (forthcoming). Elaboration and Intuitions of Disagreement. Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    Mark Richard argues for truth-relativism about claims made using gradable adjectives. He argues that truth-relativism is the best explanation of two kinds of linguistic data, which I call: true cross-contextual reports and infelicitous denials of conflict. Richard claims that such data are generated by an example that he discusses at length. However, the consensus is that these linguistic data are illusory because they vanish when elaborations are added to examples of the same kind as Richard's original. In this paper I (...)
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  19. added 2016-06-12
    Alex Davies (2016). Entailments Are Cancellable. Ratio 29 (2).
    Several philosophers have recently claimed that if a proposition is cancellable from an uttered sentence then that proposition is not entailed by that uttered sentence. The claim should be a familiar one. It has become a standard device in the philosopher's tool-kit. I argue that this claim is false. There is a kind of entailment—which I call “modal entailment”—that is context-sensitive and, because of this, cancellable. So cancellability does not show that a proposition is not entailed by an uttered sentence. (...)
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  20. added 2016-06-11
    Daniel Lassiter (2016). Must, Knowledge, and Directness. Natural Language Semantics 24 (2):117-163.
    This paper presents corpus and experimental data that problematize the traditional analysis of must as a strong necessity modal, as recently revived and defended by von Fintel and Gillies :351–383, 2010). I provide naturalistic examples showing that must p can be used alongside an explicit denial of knowledge of p or certainty in p, and that it can be conjoined with an expression indicating that p is not certain or that not-p is possible. I also report the results of an (...)
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  21. added 2016-06-11
    Colin McLear (2016). Review of Robert Brandom, From Empiricism to Expressivism. [REVIEW] Ethics 126 (3):808–816.
  22. added 2016-06-10
    Sara Bernstein (forthcoming). Causal and Moral Indeterminacy. Ratio.
    This paper argues that several sorts of metaphysical and semantic indeterminacy afflict the causal relation. If, as it is plausible to hold, there is a relationship between causation and moral responsibility, then indeterminacy in the causal relation results in indeterminacy of moral responsibility more generally.
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  23. added 2016-06-10
    Alessia Marabini (forthcoming). Brandom's Inferentialist Theory and the Meaning Entitlement Connection. Al Mukhatabat.
  24. added 2016-06-09
    Geoff Georgi (2016). Quantifying-in Uses of Complex Demonstratives and the Semantics of Quantification. In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Philosophical and Linguistic Analyses of Reference. Peter Lang 143-154.
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  25. added 2016-06-08
    Lascelles G. B. James, Linguistic Relativity in the New Testament.
    This is a three part discussion on linguistic relativity and the New Testament which provides some perspectives towards understanding the inter-relatedness of society, culture, and language as they would have impacted the writers of the New Testament. The ideas discussed should provide useful information for further research into the application of modern linguistics to New Testament hermeneutics, systematic theology, and biblical exegesis. The implications of linguistic relativity theory applied to this genre of literature are of extreme importance in light of (...)
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  26. added 2016-06-08
    Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini (forthcoming). Doubting Assertion. Philosophia:1-13.
    One main argument that has been offered in support of the Knowledge Account of Assertion is that it successfully makes sense of a variety of Moorean-paradoxical claims. David Sosa has objected to the Knowledge Account by arguing that it does not generalize satisfactorily to make sense of the oddity of iterated conjunctions of the form “p but I don’t know whether I know that p”. Recently, Martin Montminy has offered a defense of the Knowledge Account. In this paper, I show (...)
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  27. added 2016-06-05
    Lucas Champollion (2016). Covert Distributivity in Algebraic Event Semantics. Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (15):1-66.
    This is the first in a pair of papers that aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the semantic phenomenon of distributivity in natural language. This paper investigates and formalizes different sources of covert distributivity. Apart from lexical distributivity effects, which are modeled by meaning postulates, phrasal distributivity is captured via two covert operators: (i) a D operator distributing over atoms only (Link 1987), and (ii) a cover-based Part operator, which can also distribute over non-atomic pluralities under contextual licensing (Schwarzschild (...)
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  28. added 2016-06-05
    Lucas Champollion (2016). Overt Distributivity in Algebraic Event Semantics. Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (16):1-65.
    This is the second in a pair of papers that aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the semantic phenomenon of distributivity in natural language. This paper describes and explains observable cross-linguistic differences in overt distributive items in the framework of Neo-Davidsonian algebraic event semantics. The previous paper, Champollion 2016, postulated two covert distributivity operators, D and Part, in the grammar, even though the semantic effects of D can be subsumed under the workings of Part. This paper motivates the split (...)
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  29. added 2016-06-04
    Megan Henricks Stotts (forthcoming). Understanding the Intentions Behind the Referential/Attributive Distinction. Erkenntnis:1-12.
    In his recently published John Locke Lectures, Saul Kripke attempts to capture Keith Donnellan’s referential/attributive distinction for definite descriptions using a distinction between general and specific intentions. I argue that although Kripke’s own way of capturing the referential/attributive distinction is inadequate, we can use general and specific intentions to successfully capture the distinction if we also distinguish between primary and secondary intentions. An attributive use is characterized by the fact that the general intention is either the primary or only designative (...)
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  30. added 2016-06-04
    Wesley H. Holliday (forthcoming). Knowledge, Time, and Paradox: Introducing Sequential Epistemic Logic. In Hans van Ditmarsch & Gabriel Sandu (eds.), Outstanding Contributions to Logic: Jaakko Hintikka. Springer
    Epistemic logic in the tradition of Hintikka provides, as one of its many applications, a toolkit for the precise analysis of certain epistemological problems. In recent years, dynamic epistemic logic has expanded this toolkit. Dynamic epistemic logic has been used in analyses of well-known epistemic “paradoxes”, such as the Paradox of the Surprise Examination and Fitch’s Paradox of Knowability, and related epistemic phenomena, such as what Hintikka called the “anti-performatory effect” of Moorean announcements. In this paper, we explore a variation (...)
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  31. added 2016-06-03
    Marc Champagne (2016). On Alethic Functionalism’s (Absurdly?) Wide Applicability. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 35 (2):29-39.
    Alethic functionalism, as propounded by Michael Lynch, is the view that there are different ways to be true, but that these differences nevertheless contain enough unity to forestall outright pluralism. This view has many virtues. Yet, since one could conceivably apply Lynch’s “one and many” strategy to other debates, I try to show how his argumentative steps can be used to solve — not just the controversy pertaining to truth — but any controversy that surrounds a “What is X?” question.
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  32. added 2016-06-03
    Genoveva Marti (2012). Empirical Data and the Theory of Reference. In William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Reference and Referring. Topics in Contemporary Philosophy. MIT Press 63-82.
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  33. added 2016-06-03
    Michelle Montague (2006). Counterfactuals. In Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Edition. Macmillan
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  34. added 2016-06-03
    Michelle Montague (2005). Interpreted Logical Forms. In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition. Elesvier
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  35. added 2016-06-03
    Genoveva Marti (1996). Rigidity and Genuine Reference. In C. Martínez Vidal, U. Rivas Monroy & L. Villegas Forero (eds.), Verdad, Lógica, Representación y Mundo. Publicaciones de la Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
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  36. added 2016-06-01
    Ron de Weijze, Constructive Recollection Philosophy Application.
    Finding truth is an art that was learned and unlearned. Truth can only be found by looking for independent confirmation of our beliefs, by reality. This methodology is difficult to apply in personal- and social settings, because power and politics turn 'seeking independent confirmation' into 'avoiding dependent rejection'. A completely different social order is implied and the one keeps running the other into the ground like a tectonic plate. Philosophical Modernism showed us how dualism works, before Post-Modernism challenged it, regressing (...)
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  37. added 2016-06-01
    John Hawthorne (1993). Meaning and Evidence: A Reply to Lewis. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (2):206--211.
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  38. added 2016-05-26
    Richard Moore (forthcoming). Gricean Communication and Cognitive Development. Philosophical Quarterly.
    On standard readings of Grice, Gricean communication requires (a) possession of a concept of belief, (b) the ability to make complex inferences about others’ goal-directed behaviour, and (c) the ability to entertain fourth order meta-representations. To the extent that these abilities are pre-requisites of Gricean communication they are inconsistent with the view that Gricean communication could play a role in their development. In this paper, I argue that a class of ‘minimally Gricean acts’ satisfy the intentional structure described by Grice, (...)
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  39. added 2016-05-25
    Jorge J. E. Gracia, Semantic Equivalence and the Language of Philosophical Analysis.
    For many years I have maintained that I learned to philosophize by translating Francisco Suárez’s Metaphysical Disputation V from Latin into English. This surely is a claim that must sound extraordinary to the members of this audience or even to most twentieth century philosophers. Who reads Suárez these days? And what could I learn from a sixteenth century scholastic writer that would help me in the twentieth century? I would certainly be surprised if one were to find any references to (...)
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  40. added 2016-05-25
    Subhasis Chattopadhyay (2016). Review of Nome's The Quintessence of True Being. [REVIEW] Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India 121 (June (06)):530.
    Master Nome makes Advaita Vedanta accessible to us without losing its rigour. This review shows how a neophyte to Advaita Vedanta can use this book to remap the domains of hermeneutics and translations studies.
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  41. added 2016-05-24
    Andrew Peet (forthcoming). Referential Intentions and Communicative Luck. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-6.
    Brian Loar [1976] observed that communicative success with singular terms requires more than correct referent assignment. For communicative success to be achieved the audience must assign the right referent in the right way. Loar, and others since, took this to motivate Fregean accounts of the semantics of singular terms. Ray Buchanan [2014] has recently responded, maintaining that although Loar is correct to claim that communicative success with singular terms requires more than correct referent assignment, this is compatible with direct reference (...)
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  42. added 2016-05-22
    Alberto G. Urquidez (forthcoming). Jorge L. A. Garcia and the Ordinary Use of 'Racist Belief'. Social Theory and Practice.
    This paper argues that philosophical explanations of the ordinary use of 'racist' and 'racism' should not proceed on the presupposition that there is one privileged use of the target term (e.g., 'racist belief,' 'racist intention,' and so forth). Philosophers should instead 'look and see' how the target term is used across contexts of use. I develop this objection in respect to Jorge L. A. Garcia's highly influential account of racism as racial disregard. His volitional theory is rejected on the grounds (...)
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  43. added 2016-05-21
    Friederike Moltmann, A Plural Reference Interpretation of Three-Dimensional Syntactic Trees.
    Various syntacticians have argued that coordinate structures involve a three-dimensional syntactic structure. This paper proposes an interpretation of three-dimensional syntactic structures in terms of plural reference and argues that such structures give further support for plural reference, the view that plural terms refer to several entities at once, rather than referring to a single plural individual.
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  44. added 2016-05-20
    Arnold Groh (2016). Culture, Language and Thought: Field Studies on Colour Concepts. Journal of Cognition and Culture 16:83–106.
    In a series of studies the assumption of a lack of colour concepts in indigenous societies, as proposed by Berlin & Kay (1969) and others, was examined. The research took place in the form of minimally invasive field encounters with indigenous subjects in South East Asia and in India, as well as in West, Central, and South Africa. Subjects were screened for colour blindness with Ishihara- and Pflüger-Trident-Test. Standardised colour tablets had to be designated in the indigenous languages; these terms (...)
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  45. added 2016-05-19
    Joshua Spencer (2016). The Problem of Empty Names and Russellian Plenitude. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):1-18.
    ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express different propositions, even though neither ‘Ahab’ nor ‘Holmes’ has a referent. This seems to constitute a theoretical puzzle for the Russellian view of propositions. In this paper, I develop a variant of the Russellian view, Plenitudinous Russellianism. I claim that ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express distinct gappy propositions. I discuss key metaphysical and semantic differences between Plenitudinous Russellianism and Traditional Russellianism and respond to objections that (...)
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  46. added 2016-05-18
    James A. Macleod (forthcoming). Belief States in Criminal Law. Oklahoma Law Review 68.
    Belief-state ascription — determining what someone “knew,” “believed,” was “aware of,” etc. — is central to many areas of law. In criminal law, the distinction between knowledge and recklessness, and the use of broad jury instructions concerning other belief states, presupposes a common and stable understanding of what those belief-state terms mean. But a wealth of empirical work at the intersection of philosophy and psychology — falling under the banner of “Experimental Epistemology” — reveals how laypeople’s understandings of mens rea (...)
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  47. added 2016-05-18
    Jan Woleński, Truth-Makers and Convention T. Philosophical Papers Dedicated to Kevin Mulligan.
    This papers discuss the place, if any, of Convention T (the condition of material adequacy of the proper definition of truth formulated by Tarski) in the truth-makers account offered by Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons and Barry Smith. It is argued that although Tarski’s requirement seems entirely acceptable in the frameworks of truth-makers theories for the first-sight, several doubts arise under a closer inspection. In particular, T-biconditionals have no clear meaning as sentences about truth-makers. Thus, truth-makers theory cannot be considered as (...)
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  48. added 2016-05-17
    G. Aldo Antonelli (forthcoming). Life on the Range. In A. Torza (ed.), Quantifiers, Quantifiers, and Quantifiers. Synthese LIbrary
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  49. added 2016-05-17
    Lajos L. Brons (2016). Putnam and Davidson on Coherence, Truth, and Justification. The Science of Mind 54:51-70.
    Putnam and Davidson both defended coherence theories of justification from the early 1980s onward. There are interesting similarities between these theories, and Putnam’s philosophical development lead to further convergence in the 1990s. The most conspicuous difference between Putnam’s and Davidson’s theories is that they appear to fundamentally disagree on the role and nature of conceptual schemes, but a closer look reveals that they are not as far apart on this issue as usually assumed. The veridicality of perceptual beliefs is a (...)
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  50. added 2016-05-16
    Pascal Engel, In What Sense Is Knowledge the Norm of Assertion?
    The knowledge account of assertion is the view that assertion is governed by the norm that the speaker should know what s/he asserts. It is not the purpose of this article to examine all the criticisms nor to try to give a full defence of KAA, but only to defend it against the charge of being normatively incorrect. It has been objected that assertion is governed by other norms than knowledge, or by no norm at all. It seems to me, (...)
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