When Lingens meets Frege: communication without common ground

Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1441-1461 (2020)
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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. I therefore propose an alternative account of communication that is based on epistemic two-dimensionalism. This account maintains that communication requires the transfer of a thought content from speaker to hearer. By holding that this shared content often constitutes common ground, it preserves much of the appeal of Stalnaker’s account. However, my account allows for cases in which the shared thought content does not figure in common ground.



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Jens Kipper
University of Rochester

Citations of this work

Partial understanding.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2023 - Synthese 202 (2):1-32.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Frege’s Puzzle (2nd edition).Nathan U. Salmon - 1986 - Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Company.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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