David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 161 (3):349-366 (2012)
In everyday speech we seem to refer to such things as abstract objects, moral properties, or propositional attitudes that have been the target of metaphysical and/or epistemological objections. Many philosophers, while endorsing scepticism about some of these entities, have not wished to charge ordinary speakers with fundamental error, or recommend that the discourse be revised or eliminated. To this end a number of non-revisionary antirealist strategies have been employed, including expressivism, reductionism and hermeneutic fictionalism. But each of these theories faces forceful objections. In particular, we argue, proponents of these strategies face a dilemma: either concedes that their theory is revisionary, or adopt an implausible account of speaker-meaning whereby the content of certain types of utterance is opaque to their speakers. In this paper we introduce a new type of antirealist strategy, which is thoroughly non-revisionary, and leaves speaker-meaning transparent to speakers. We draw on work on pragmatics in the philosophy of language to develop a theory we call ‘pragmatic antirealism’. The pragmatic antirealist holds that while the sentences of the discourses in question have metaphysically contentious truth conditions, ordinary utterances of them are pragmatically modified in context in such a way that speakers do not incur commitment to those truth conditions. After setting out the theory, we show how it might be developed for both mathematical and ethical discourse, before responding to some likely objections.
|Keywords||Realism Pragmatics Semantics Ethics Mathematics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Kent Bach (1994). Conversational Impliciture. Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.
Simon Blackburn (1984). Spreading the Word. Clarendon Press.
David Owen Brink (1989). Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
John P. Burgess (2004). Mathematics and Bleak House. Philosophia Mathematica 12 (1):18-36.
John P. Burgess & Gideon A. Rosen (1997). A Subject with No Object: Strategies for Nominalistic Interpretation of Mathematics. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Clare McGraw (2007). The Realism/Anti-Realism Debate in Religion. Philosophy Compass 3 (1):254-272.
James Beebe (2007). Reliabilism and Antirealist Theories of Truth. Erkenntnis 66 (3):375 - 391.
Andrea Onofri (2013). On Non-Pragmatic Millianism. Philosophical Studies 166 (2):305-327.
Patrick Girard & Luca Moretti (2014). Antirealism and the Conditional Fallacy: The Semantic Approach. Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):761-783.
David Copp (2001). Realist-Expressivism: A Neglected Option for Moral Realism. Social Philosophy and Policy 18 (02):1-43.
Brian E. Butler (2004). Rorty, the First Amendment and Antirealism: Is Reliance Upon Truth Viewpoint-Based Speech Regulation? Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (1):69-88.
Igor Douven, Leon Horsten & Jan-Willem Romeijn (2010). Probabilist antirealism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):38-63.
Luca Moretti (2008). Brogaard and Salerno on Antirealism and the Conditional Fallacy. Philosophical Studies 140 (2):229 - 246.
Christina Lafont (2004). Moral Objectivity and Reasonable Agreement: Can Realism Be Reconciled with Kantian Constructivism? Ratio Juris 17 (1):27-51.
Raymond W. Gibbs & Guy van Orden (2012). Pragmatic Choice in Conversation. Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1):7-20.
Timothy Shanahan (1997). Pluralism, Antirealism, and the Units of Selection. Acta Biotheoretica 45 (2):117-126.
Susan Dwyer & Paul M. Pietroski (1996). Believing in Language. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):338-373.
Paul Needham (1991). Duhem and Cartwright on the Truth of Laws. Synthese 89 (1):89 - 109.
Karen Merikangas Darling (2003). Motivational Realism: The Natural Classification for Pierre Duhem. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1125-1136.
Added to index2011-06-10
Total downloads72 ( #30,654 of 1,699,591 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #69,042 of 1,699,591 )
How can I increase my downloads?