Retractions

Synthese 195 (8):3335-3359 (2018)
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Abstract

Intuitions about retractions have been used to motivate truth relativism about certain types of claims. Among these figure epistemic modals, knowledge attributions, or personal taste claims. On MacFarlane’s prominent relativist proposal, sentences like “the ice cream might be in the freezer” or “Pocoyo is funny” are only assigned a truth-value relative to contexts of utterance and contexts of assessment. Retractions play a crucial role in the argument for assessment-relativism. A retraction of a past assertion is supposed to be mandatory whenever the asserted sentence is not true at the context of use and the context of assessment. If retractions were not obligatory in these conditions, there would be no normative difference between assessment-relativism and contextualism. The main goal of this paper is to undermine the claim that retractions reveal this normative difference. To this effect, the paper offers a review of three important objections to the obligatoriness of retractions. Taken together, these objections make a strong case against the alleged support that retractions give to assessment-relativism. The objections are moreover supported by recent experimental results that are also discussed. This will satisfy a further goal, which is to undermine the idea that there is a constitutive retraction rule. The paper also discusses two ways to understand what such a rule would be constitutive of, and concludes with a discussion of how to describe what retractions are.

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Teresa Marques
Universitat de Barcelona

Citations of this work

Undoing things with words.Laura Caponetto - 2018 - Synthese 197 (6):2399-2414.
Much at stake in knowledge.Alexander Dinges & Julia Zakkou - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (5):729-749.
Contextualism vs. Relativism: More empirical data.Markus Https://Orcidorg Kneer - 2022 - In Jeremy Wyatt, Julia Zakkou & Dan Zeman (eds.), Perspectives on Taste. Routledge.

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Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.

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