Discourse Contextualism

Analysis 78 (3):562-566 (2018)
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In Discourse Contextualism, Alex Silk defends a new contextualist account of expressions at the centre of recent debates over contextualism versus relativism, namely, gradable adjectives, taste predicates and epistemic and deontic modals ).1 1 The first part of the book, which lays out the view and shows how it explains the phenomena at issue in those debates, focuses on the case of epistemic modals. The second part of the book extends that account with Discourse Contextualist treatments of the remaining expressions. Discourse Contextualism is truly impressive in its scope, fully engaging with the relevant literature in linguistics, philosophy of language and meta-ethics. It is clearly written, carefully argued and makes a very significant contribution to the literature on the debates over contextualism, relativism and expressivism. No short review could possibly do justice to Silk’s book in its entirety. Here, I focus on its most fleshed out case study, that of epistemic modals. But the whole book will be required reading for anyone engaged in any of these debates.



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Janice Dowell
Syracuse University

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Metaphysical emergence: Weak and Strong.Jessica Wilson - 2015 - In Tomasz Bigaj & Christian Wüthrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. pp. 251-306.
Flexible Contextualism about Deontic Modals: A Puzzle about Information-Sensitivity.J. L. Dowell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178.
'Might' Made Right.Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies - 2011 - In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press. pp. 108–130.

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