Noûs (forthcoming)

Jeremy Goodman
University of Southern California
Harvey Lederman
Princeton University
Consider the sentence “Lois knows that Superman flies, but she doesn’t know that Clark flies”. In this paper we defend a Millian contextualist semantics for propositional attitude ascriptions, according to which ordinary uses of this sentence are true but involve a mid-sentence shift in context. Absent any constraints on the relevant parameters of context sensitivity, such a semantics would be untenable: it would undermine the good standing of systematic theorizing about the propositional attitudes, trivializing many of the central questions of epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of action. In response to this problem, we prove a series of tenability results. We show that, given certain constraints on the parameters of context sensitivity, there is a broad class of principles of propositional attitude psychology whose good standing follows from corresponding claims about people’s mental representations. But these constraints also have some surprising consequences: they are jointly incompatible with coarse-grained theories of propositions, and they are in tension with a natural picture of how speakers and hearers coordinate on the interpretation of attitude ascriptions. In light of these consequences we explore different ways in which the contextualist picture might be developed, and argue that our preferred way compares favorably with Fregeanism and neo-Russellianism.
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DOI 10.1111/nous.12322
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References found in this work BETA

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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Citations of this work BETA

Classical Opacity.Michael Caie, Jeremy Goodman & Harvey Lederman - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):524-566.
Revisionist Reporting.Kyle Blumberg & Harvey Lederman - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):755-783.
Content Pluralism.Alex Grzankowski & Ray Buchanan - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Uttering Moorean Sentences and the Pragmatics of Belief Reports.Frank Hong - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1879-1895.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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