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  1. Not Communication.Marc Burock - manuscript
    Informational ontologies more and more envelop the natural sciences. The growth of communication technologies and social networking characterize our age. Instead of seeing our world solely as matter in motion, as did Democritus, we now imagine living in a world composed of flowing information. Bits of information have since replaced atoms of matter, and the space-time movement of bits is now called communication. This work is partly a criticism of the materialism and idealism that gave birth to today’s worldview, and (...)
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  2. Emojis as Pictures.Emar Maier - manuscript
    I argue that emojis are pictures, not a species of words, gestures, or expressives. ???? means that the world looks like that, from some viewpoint. I formalize this in terms of geometric projection with stylization. Since such a pictorial semantics delivers only very minimal contents I add an account of pragmatic enrichment, driven by coherence and metaphor. The apparent semantic distinction between emojis depicting entities and those depicting facial expressions I analyze as a difference between truth-conditional and use-conditional pictorial content: (...)
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  3. The Possibility of Dialogic Semantics.Sergeiy Sandler - manuscript
    This paper outlines and demonstrates the viability of a consistent dialogic approach to the semantics of utterances in natural language. Based on the philosophical picture of language as dialogue, adumbrated by Mikhail Bakhtin and incorporating work in conversation analysis and cognitive-functional linguistics, I develop a method for analyzing both the function and the content of human utterances within a unified philosophical framework. I demonstrate the viability of this method of analysis by applying it to a brief conversational exchange (in Hebrew), (...)
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  4. Lexical Pragmatics and the Geometry of Opposition: The Mystery of *Nall and *Nand Revisited.Larry Horn - manuscript
    To appear in Jean-Yves Béziau (ed.) Proc. First World Congress on the Square of Opposition.
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  5. Communication Before Communicative Intention.Josh Armstrong - forthcoming - Noûs.
    This paper explores the significance of intelligent social behavior among non-human animals for philosophical theories of communication. Using the alarm call system of vervet monkeys as a case study, I argue that interpersonal communication (or what I call “minded communication”) can and does take place in the absence of the production and recognition of communicative intentions. More generally, I argue that evolutionary theory provides good reasons for maintaining that minded communication is both temporally and explanatorily prior to the use of (...)
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  6. Shareability of Thought and Frege's Constraint: A Reply to Onofri.Romain Bourdoncle - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Onofri [Onofri, A. 2018. ‘The Publicity of Thought.’ Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272): 521–541.] proposes an individuation criterion for thoughts that purports to satisfy both shareability (the notion that different thinkers, or a single thinker at different times, can and generally do think type-identical thoughts) and Frege's constraint (according to which two thoughts are different if it is possible for a rational subject to endorse one while rejecting the other). I argue that his proposal fails to satisfy Frege's constraint. Then I (...)
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  7. Conversation.William Cowper - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  8. Sly Pete in Dynamic Semantics.Simon Goldstein - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-17.
    In 'Sly Pete' or 'standoff' cases, reasonable speakers accept incompatible conditionals, and communicate them successfully to a trusting hearer. This paper uses the framework of dynamic semantics to offer a new model of the conversational dynamics at play in standoffs, and to articulate several puzzles posed by such cases. The paper resolves these puzzles by embracing a dynamic semantics for conditionals, according to which indicative conditionals require that their antecedents are possible in their local context, and update this body of (...)
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  9. Focus on Slurs.Poppy Mankowitz & Ashley Shaw - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Slurring expressions display puzzling behaviour when embedded, such as under negation and in attitude and speech reports. They frequently appear to retain their characteristic qualities, like offensiveness and propensity to derogate. Yet it is sometimes possible to understand them as lacking these qualities. A theory of slurring expressions should explain this variability. We develop an explanation that deploys the linguistic notion of focus. Our proposal is that a speaker can conversationally implicate metalinguistic claims about the aptness of a focused slurring (...)
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  10. Eliot Michaelson and Andreas Stokke (Eds.), Lying: Language, Knowledge, Ethics, and Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), Pp. 320. [REVIEW]Neri Marsili - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-3.
  11. Towards a Unified Theory of Illocutionary Normativity.Marsili Neri - forthcoming - In Laura Caponetto & Paolo Labinaz (eds.), Sbisà on Speech as Action. Palgrave Macmillan.
  12. Defective Contexts.Andrew Peet - forthcoming - In Rachel Katharine Sterken & Justin Khoo (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language. Routledge.
    In this chapter I hope to persuade you that defective contexts are more ubiquitous than we typically assume. In doing, so I will draw attention to a number of pressing social and theoretical issues which arise once we start to consider defective contexts. I will proceed by pointing to a number of ways in which defective contexts can emerge without self-correcting in the manner envisioned by Stalnaker. First I will consider situations in which some, but not all interlocutors recognise that (...)
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  13. Assertoric Content, Responsibility, and Metasemantics.Andrew Peet - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    That we assert things to one another, and that our doing so is central to our linguistic practice, seems beyond question. When we assert, there is typically something we can be said to have asserted. This is what we might think of as the truth conditional content of our assertion. Yet, as I will illustrate in the earlier portions of this paper, it is not immediately clear what communicative function assertoric content actually plays. I suggest that assertoric content functions as (...)
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  14. Homophonic Reports and Gradual Communication.Claudia Picazo - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Pragmatic modulation makes contextual information necessary for interpretation. This poses a problem for homophonic reports and inter-contextual communication in general: of co-situated interlocutors, we can expect some common ground, but non-co-situated interpreters lack access to the context of utterance. Here I argue that we can nonetheless share modulated contents via homophonic reports. First, occasion-unspecific information is often sufficient for the recovery of modulated content. Second, interpreters can recover what is said with different degrees of accuracy. Homophonic reports and inter-contextual communication (...)
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  15. Brandom on Communication.Kevin Scharp - forthcoming - In Jason Hannon & Robert Rutland (eds.), Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication. McGill-Queen's University Press.
    This chapter covers some of Robert Brandom’s contributions to our understanding of communication. Topics discussed include his theory of discursive practice, his inferential semantics, his scorekeeping pragmatics, his views on the “transmission” model of communication, and his semantic perspectivism. I compare his scorekeeping pragmatic theory to other kinds of pragmatic theories, and I argue that his semantic perspectivism can be understood as a global indexical relativism.
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  16. Knowledge of Language as Self-Knowledge.John Schwenkler - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In a series of early essays, beginning with "Must We Mean What We Say?", Stanley Cavell offers a sustained response to the argument that ordinary language philosophy is nothing more than amateur linguistics, carried out from the armchair -- so that philosophers' claims about "what we say", and what we mean when we say it, are necessarily in need of proper empirical support. The present paper provides a close reading of Cavell and a defense of his argument that, since a (...)
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  17. Stalnaker’s Assertoric Contents.Cem Şişkolar - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-20.
    I compare Stalnaker’s early take on assertoric content with the one expressed in his recent book (2014). I discern in the latter some striking implications about the semantics of proper names and assertoric content’s relation to semantics.
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  18. Conversational Maxims as Social Norms.Megan Henricks Stotts - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue that although Paul Grice’s picture of conversational maxims and conversational implicature is an immensely useful theoretical tool, his view about the nature of the maxims is misguided. Grice portrays conversational maxims as tenets of rationality, but I will contend that they are best seen as social norms. I develop this proposal in connection to Philip Pettit’s account of social norms, with the result that conversational maxims are seen as grounded in practices of social approval and disapproval within a (...)
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  19. Lob der Vermutung (In praise of conjectures).Emanuel Viebahn - forthcoming - In Romy Jaster & Geert Keil (eds.), Nachdenken über Corona. Stuttgart, Germany:
    Krisen, heißt es manchmal, erfordern klare Ansagen: Bei Behauptungen wissen wir, woran wir sind. Vermutungen hingegen sind unklar und stehen der Übernahme von Ver­ant­wor­tung entgegen. In diesem Essay wird mit den Mitteln der Sprachphilosophie ge­zeigt, dass vermutende Sprechakte für die Krisenkommunikation in der Corona-Pandemie richtig und wichtig sind. Weder sind Vermutungen anfälliger für Unklarheit als andere Sprechakte noch sind sie besser dazu geeignet, Verantwortung abzuweisen. Im Gegen­teil: In einer Situation, die durch Unsicherheit geprägt ist, sind Vermutungen besonders wertvoll für das (...)
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  20. Ineliminable Underdetermination and Context-Shifting Arguments.Mark Bowker - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (2):215-236.
    ABSTRACT The truth-conditions of utterances are often underdetermined by the meaning of the sentence uttered, as suggested by the observation that the same sentence has different intuitive truth-values in different contexts. The intuitive difference is usually explained by assigning different truth-conditions to different utterances. This paper poses a problem for explanations of this kind: These truth-conditions, if they exist, are epistemically inaccessible. I suggest instead that truth-conditional underdetermination is ineliminable and these utterances have no truth-conditions. Intuitive truth-values are explained by (...)
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  21. What Is Wrong with ‘All Lives Matter’? What and How ‘Black Lives Matter’ Means.Lenny Clapp - 2022 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 39 (2):346-358.
    Journal of Applied Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  22. Lying, Misleading, and Fairness.Emanuel Viebahn - 2022 - Ethics 132 (3):736-751.
    Sam Berstler defends a general moral advantage for misleading over lying by arguing that liars, but not misleaders, act unfairly toward the other members of their linguistic community. This article spells out three difficulties for Berstler’s account. First, though Berstler aims to avoid an error theory, it is dubitable that her account fits with intuitions on the matter. Second, there are some lies that do not exhibit the unfairness Berstler identifies. Third, fairness is not the only morally relevant difference between (...)
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  23. Communication and Indifference.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (1):81-107.
    The propositional view of communication states that every literal assertoric utterance of an indicative sentence expresses a proposition, and the audience understands those utterances only if she entertains the proposition(s) the speaker expressed. According to an important objection due to Ray Buchanan, the propositional view is ill‐equipped to handle meaning underdeterminacy. Using resources from situation semantics and MacFarlane's nonindexical contextualism, this article develops a view of literal communication close to the propositional view which overcomes Buchanan's underdeterminacy considerations while accounting for (...)
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  24. Communication and Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):147-169.
    According to standard assumptions in semantics, ordinary users of a language have implicit beliefs about the truth-conditions of sentences in that language, and they often agree on those beliefs. For example, it is assumed that if Anna and John are both competent users of English and the former utters ‘grass is green’ in conversation with the latter, they will both believe that that sentence is true if and only if grass is green. These assumptions play an important role in an (...)
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  25. How to do things with nonwords: pragmatics, biosemantics, and origins of language in animal communication.Dorit Bar-On - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-25.
    Recent discussions of animal communication and the evolution of language have advocated adopting a ‘pragmatics-first’ approach, according to which “a more productive framework” for primate communication research should be “pragmatics, the field of linguistics that examines the role of context in shaping the meaning of linguistic utterances”. After distinguishing two different conceptions of pragmatics that advocates of the pragmatics-first approach have implicitly relied on, I argue that neither conception adequately serves the purposes of pragmatics-first approaches to the origins of human (...)
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  26. Presuppositional Exhaustification.Itai Bassi, Guillermo Del Pinal & Uli Sauerland - 2021 - Semantics and Pragmatics 14:1-42.
    Grammatical theories of Scalar Implicatures make use of an exhaustivity operator exh, which asserts the conjunction of the prejacent with the negation of excludable alternatives. We present a new Grammatical theory of Scalar Implicatures according to which exh is replaced with pex, an operator that contributes its prejacent as asserted content, but the negation of scalar alternatives at a non-at-issue level of meaning. We show that by treating this non-at-issue level as a presupposition, this theory resolves a number of empirical (...)
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  27. Meaning and Emotion.Constant Bonard - 2021 - Dissertation, Université de Genève
    This dissertation may be divided into two parts. The first part is about the Extended Gricean Model of information transmission. This model, introduced here, is meant to better explain how humans communicate and understand each other. It has been developed to apply to cases that were left unexplained by the two main models of communication found in contemporary philosophy and linguistics, i.e. the Gricean model and the code model. In particular, I show that these latter two models cannot apply to (...)
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  28. The Dynamics of Loose Talk.Sam Carter - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):171-198.
    In non‐literal uses of language, the content an utterance communicates differs from its literal truth conditions. Loose talk is one example of non‐literal language use (amongst many others). For example, what a loose utterance of (1) communicates differs from what it literally expresses: (1) Lena arrived at 9 o'clock. Loose talk is interesting (or so I will argue). It has certain distinctive features which raise important questions about the connection between literal and non‐literal language use. This paper aims to (i.) (...)
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  29. Conversational Eliciture.Jonathan Cohen & Andrew Kehler - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (12).
    The sentence "The boss fired the employee who is always late" invites the defeasible inference that the speaker is attempting to convey that the lateness caused the firing. We argue that such inferences cannot be understood in terms of familiar approaches to extrasemantic enrichment such as implicature, impliciture, explicature, or species of local enrichment already in the literature. Rather, we propose that they arise from more basic cognitive strategies, grounded in processes of coherence establishment, that thinkers use to make sense (...)
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  30. Communicating in Contextual Ignorance.Alex Davies - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12385-12405.
    When A utters a declarative sentence in a context to B, typically A can mean a proposition by the sentence, the sentence in context literally expresses a proposition, there are propositions A and B can agree the sentence literally expressed, and B can acquire knowledge from this testimonial exchange. In recent work on linguistic communication, each of these four platitudes has been challenged, and on the same basis: viz. on the ground that exactly which proposition the sentence expressed in context (...)
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  31. When Lingens Meets Frege: Communication Without Common Ground.Jens Kipper - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1441-1461.
    In this paper, I argue that, contrary to Robert Stalnaker’s highly influential account of linguistic communication, successful communication does not depend on a common ground between speaker and hearer. The problem for Stalnaker’s account manifests itself in communicative situations that represent both Lingens cases, i.e., cases involving egocentric beliefs, and Frege cases, i.e., cases involving identity confusions. I describe two hypothetical cases that involve successful communication, but in which no common ground of the kind required by Stalnaker’s account is available. (...)
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  32. How to Have a Metalinguistic Dispute.Poppy Mankowitz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5603-5622.
    There has been recent interest in the idea that speakers who appear to be having a verbal dispute may in fact be engaged in a metalinguistic negotiation: they are communicating information about how they believe an expression should be used. For example, individuals involved in a dispute about whether a racehorse is an athlete might be communicating their diverging views about how ‘athlete’ should be used. While many have argued that metalinguistic negotiation is a pervasive feature of philosophical and everyday (...)
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  33. Retweeting: Its Linguistic and Epistemic Value.Neri Marsili - 2021 - Synthese 198:10457–10483.
    This paper analyses the communicative and epistemic value of retweeting (and more generally of reposting content on social media). Against a naïve view, it argues that retweets are not acts of endorsement, motivating this diagnosis with linguistic data. Retweeting is instead modelled as a peculiar form of quotation, in which the reported content is indicated rather than reproduced. A relevance-theoretic account of the communicative import of retweeting is then developed, to spell out the complex mechanisms by which retweets achieve their (...)
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  34. Centred Propositions, What is Asserted, and Communication.Jakub Rudnicki - 2021 - Theoria 87 (1):187-206.
    In recent years there has been a heated debate on how to accommodate John Perry's observations about the essentiality of indexicality into our models of linguistic communication. This article is an attempt at providing a new perspective on this issue. I argue that we should jettison two elements taken for granted by the views I present, and criticize, here: no centring, uncentring, recentring and multicentring. These elements are: (1) taking the asserted content to be a part of the communication process (...)
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  35. Active Inference and Cooperative Communication: An Ecological Alternative to the Alignment View.Rémi Tison & Pierre Poirier - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    We present and contrast two accounts of cooperative communication, both based on Active Inference, a framework that unifies biological and cognitive processes. The mental alignment account, defended in Vasil et al., takes the function of cooperative communication to be the alignment of the interlocutor's mental states, and cooperative communicative behavior to be driven by an evolutionarily selected adaptive prior belief favoring the selection of action policies that promote such an alignment. We argue that the mental alignment account should be rejected (...)
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  36. Communication as Socially Extended Active Inference: An Ecological Approach to Communicative Behavior.Rémi Tison & Pierre Poirier - 2021 - Ecological Psychology 34.
    In this paper, we introduce an ecological account of communication according to which acts of communication are active inferences achieved by affecting the behavior of a target organism via the modification of its field of affordances. Constraining a target organism’s behavior constitutes a mechanism of socially extended active inference, allowing organisms to proactively regulate their inner states through the behavior of other organisms. In this general conception of communication, the type of cooperative communication characteristic of human communicative interaction is a (...)
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  37. Hedged Assertion.Matthew A. Benton & Peter Van Elswyk - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 245-263.
    Surprisingly little has been written about hedged assertion. Linguists often focus on semantic or syntactic theorizing about, for example, grammatical evidentials or epistemic modals, but pay far less attention to what hedging does at the level of action. By contrast, philosophers have focused extensively on normative issues regarding what epistemic position is required for proper assertion, yet they have almost exclusively considered unqualified declaratives. This essay considers the linguistic and normative issues side-by-side. We aim to bring some order and clarity (...)
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  38. Assertion and the Future.Corine Besson & Anandi Hattiangadi - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 481-504.
    It is disputed what norm, if any, governs assertion. We address this question by looking at assertions of future contingents: statements about the future that are neither metaphysically necessary nor metaphysically impossible. Many philosophers think that future contingents are not truth apt, which together with a Truth Norm or a Knowledge Norm of assertion implies that assertions of these future contingents are systematically infelicitous. In this article, we argue that our practice of asserting future contingents is incompatible with the view (...)
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  39. Grice and Heidegger on the Logic of Conversation.Chad Engelland - 2020 - In Matt Burch & Irene McMullin (eds.), Transcending Reason: Heidegger on Rationality. London: pp. 171-186.
    What justifies one interlocutor to challenge the conversational expectations of the other? Paul Grice approaches conversation as one instance of joint action that, like all such action, is governed by the Cooperative Principle. He thinks the expectations of the interlocutors must align, although he acknowledges that expectations can and do shift in the course of a conversation through a process he finds strange. Martin Heidegger analyzes discourse as governed by the normativity of care for self and for another. It is (...)
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  40. What Are Group Speech Acts?Kirk Ludwig - 2020 - Language & Communication 70:46-58.
    The paper provides a taxonomy of group speech acts whose main division is that between collective speech acts (singing Happy Birthday, agreeing to meet) and group proxy speech acts in which a group, such as a corporation, employs a proxy, such as a spokesperson, to convey its official position. The paper provides an analysis of group proxy speech acts using tools developed more generally for analyzing institutional agency, particularly the concepts of shared intention, proxy agent, status role, status function, convention (...)
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  41. How to Do Things with Modals.Matthew Mandelkern - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (1):115-138.
    Mind &Language, Volume 35, Issue 1, Page 115-138, February 2020.
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  42. How Can Philosophy of Language Help Us Navigate the Political News Cycle?Teresa Marques - 2020 - In Elly Vintiadis (ed.), Philosophy by Women: 22 Philosophers Reflect on Philosophy and Its Value. New York: Routledge.
    In this chapter, I try to answer the above question, and another question that it presupposes: can philosophy of language help us navigate the political news cycle? A reader can be sceptical of a positive answer to the latter question; after all, citizens, political theorists, and journalists seem to be capable of following current politics and its coverage in the news, and there is no reason to think that philosophy of language in particular should be capable of helping people make (...)
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  43. Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability.Teresa Marques & Asa Maria Wikforss (eds.) - 2020 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Concepts stand at the centre of human cognition. We use concepts in categorizing objects and events in the world, in reasoning and action, and in social interaction. It is therefore not surprising that the study of concepts constitutes a central area of research in philosophy and psychology, yet only recently have the two disciplines developed greater interaction. Recent experiments in psychology that test the role of concepts in categorizing and reasoning have found a great deal of variation, across individuals and (...)
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  44. The Cultural Evolution of Mind-Modelling.Richard Moore - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1751-1776.
    I argue that uniquely human forms of ‘Theory of Mind’ are a product of cultural evolution. Specifically, propositional attitude psychology is a linguistically constructed folk model of the human mind, invented by our ancestors for a range of tasks and refined over successive generations of users. The construction of these folk models gave humans new tools for thinking and reasoning about mental states—and so imbued us with abilities not shared by non-linguistic species. I also argue that uniquely human forms of (...)
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  45. Comparing Conventions.Rachel Etta Rudolph & Alexander W. Kocurek - 2020 - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 30:294-313.
    We offer a novel account of metalinguistic comparatives, such as 'Al is more wise than clever'. On our view, metalinguistic comparatives express comparative commitments to conventions. Thus, 'Al is more wise than clever' expresses that the speaker has a stronger commitment to a convention on which Al is wise than to a convention on which she is clever. This view avoids problems facing previous approaches to metalinguistic comparatives. It also fits within a broader framework—independently motivated by metalinguistic negotiations and convention-shiftingexpressions— (...)
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  46. The Unavoidable Guidance in Language.Steven G. Smith - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (1):18-35.
    Considering the profoundly collaborative nature of human communication, the notion of guidance needs more careful consideration and foregrounding in the philosophy of language. The practically cruc...
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  47. Toward a Sharp Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.Megan Henricks Stotts - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):185–208.
    The semantics/pragmatics distinction was once considered central to the philosophy of language, but recently the distinction’s viability and importance have been challenged. In opposition to the growing movement away from the distinction, I argue that we really do need it, and that we can draw the distinction sharply if we draw it in terms of the distinction between non-mental and mental phenomena. On my view, semantic facts arise from context-independent meaning, compositional rules, and non-mental elements of context, whereas pragmatic facts (...)
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  48. The Meaning of Pain Expressions and Pain Communication.Emma Borg, Tim Salomons & Nat Hansen - 2019 - In Simon van Rysewyk (ed.), Meanings of Pain. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 261-282.
    Both patients and clinicians frequently report problems around communicating and assessing pain. Patients express dissatisfaction with their doctors and doctors often find exchanges with chronic pain patients difficult and frustrating. This chapter thus asks how we could improve pain communication and thereby enhance outcomes for chronic pain patients. We argue that improving matters will require a better appreciation of the complex meaning of pain terms and of the variability and flexibility in how individuals think about pain. We start by examining (...)
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  49. Zu „radikale Interpretation“ – Kommunikation und Großzügigkeit bei Donald Davidson.Yuliya Fadeeva - 2019 - In Sine ira et studio: Disziplinenübergreifende Annäherungen an die zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation. pp. 69-94.
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  50. Yet Another Skeptical Solution.Andrea Guardo - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (1):117-129.
    The paper puts forward a new skeptical solution to Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s rule-following paradox, a solution which revolves around the idea that human communication does not require meaning facts - at least as defined by Kripke. After a brief discussion of the paradox, I explain why I think that Kripkenstein’s solution needs revision and argue that the main goal of a skeptical solution to the rule-following paradox should be that of showing that communication does not require meaning. After that, I offer (...)
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