Communication can be risky. Like other kinds of actions, it comes with potential costs. For instance, an utterance can be embarrassing, offensive, or downright illegal. In the face of such risks, speakers tend to act strategically and seek `plausible deniability'. In this paper, we propose an account of the notion of deniability at issue. On our account, deniability is an epistemic phenomenon. A speaker has deniability if she can make it epistemically irrational for her audience to reason in certain ways. (...) To avoid predictable confusion, we distinguish deniability from a practical correlate we call untouchability. Roughly, a speaker has untouchability if she can make it practically irrational for her audience to act in certain ways. These accounts shed light on the nature of strategic speech and suggest countermeasures against strategic speech. (shrink)
Moderate pragmatic invariantism (MPI) is a proposal to explain why our intuitions about the truth-value of knowledge claims vary with stakes and salient error-possibilities. The basic idea is that this variation is due to a variation not in the propositions expressed (as epistemic contextualists would have it) but in the propositions conversationally implicated. I will argue that MPI is mistaken: I will distinguish two kinds of implicature, namely, additive and substitutional implicatures. I will then argue, first, that the proponent of (...) MPI cannot appeal to additive implicatures because they don’t affect truth-value intuitions in the required way. Second, I will argue that the proponent of MPI cannot appeal to substitutional implicatures either because, even though they may have the required effects on truth-value intuitions, they don’t feature in the relevant cases. It follows that MPI is mistaken because whether the proponent of MPI appeals to additive or substitutional implicatures, at least one of the claims that make up her view is false. Along the way, I will suggest principles about implicatures that should be relevant not only to MPI, but to pragmatic accounts of seemingly semantic intuitions in general. (shrink)
The term “know” is one of the ten most common verbs in English, and yet a central aspect of its usage remains mysterious. Our willingness to ascribe knowledge depends not just on epistemic factors such as the quality of our evidence. It also depends on seemingly non-epistemic factors. For instance, we become less inclined to ascribe knowledge when it’s important to be right, or once our attention is drawn to possible sources of error. Accounts of this phenomenon proliferate, but no (...) consensus has been achieved, decades of research notwithstanding. AlexanderDinges offers a fresh examination of this ongoing debate. After reviewing and complementing relevant data from both armchair and experimental philosophy, he assesses extant accounts of this data including semantic, metaphysical, pragmatic, doxastic as well as more recent psychological accounts. Against this background, he offers a novel psychological account based on the idea that non-epistemic factors affect estimates of probability. (shrink)
It is commonly held that retraction data, if they exist, show that assessment relativism is preferable to non-indexical contextualism. I argue that this is not the case. Whether retraction data have the suggested probative force depends on substantive questions about the proper treatment of tense and location. One’s preferred account in these domains should determine whether one accepts assessment relativism or non-indexical contextualism.
Skeptical invariantists maintain that the expression “knows” invariably expresses an epistemically extremely demanding relation. This leads to an immediate challenge. The knowledge relation will hardly if ever be satisfied. Consequently, we can rarely if ever apply “knows” truly. The present paper assesses a prominent strategy for skeptical invariantists to respond to this challenge, which appeals to loose talk. Based on recent developments in the theory of loose talk, I argue that such appeals to loose talk fail. I go on to (...) present a closely related, more promising response strategy, which combines assumptions about the dynamics of pragmatic presuppostions from Blome-Tillmann (2014) with an appeal to conversational exculpature, a phenomenon recently studied by Hoek (2018, 2019). (shrink)
It seems to be a common and intuitively plausible assumption that conversational implicatures arise only when one of the so-called conversational maxims is violated at the level of what is said. The basic idea behind this thesis is that, unless a maxim is violated at the level of what is said, nothing can trigger the search for an implicature. Thus, non-violating implicatures wouldn’t be calculable. This paper defends the view that some conversational implicatures arise even though no conversational maxim is (...) violated at the level of what is said. (shrink)
The recent literature abounds with accounts of the semantics and pragmatics of so-called predicates of personal taste, i.e. predicates whose application is, in some sense or other, a subjective matter. Relativism and contextualism are the major types of theories. One crucial difference between these theories concerns how we should assess previous taste claims. Relativism predicts that we should assess them in the light of the taste standard governing the context of assessment. Contextualism predicts that we should assess them in the (...) light of the taste standard governing the context of use. We show in a range of experiments that neither prediction is correct. People have no clear preferences either way and which taste standard they choose in evaluating a previous taste claim crucially depends on whether they start out with a favorable attitude towards the object in question and then come to have an unfavorable attitude or vice versa. We suggest an account of the data in terms of what we call hybrid relativism. (shrink)
This article brings together two sets of data that are rarely discussed in concert; namely, disagreement and testimony data. I will argue that relativism yields a much more elegant account of these data than its major rival, contextualism. The basic idea will be that contextualists can account for disagreement data only by adopting principles that preclude a simple account of testimony data. I will conclude that, other things being equal, we should prefer relativism to contextualism. In making this comparative point, (...) I will also defend self-standing relativist accounts of disagreement and testimony data. (shrink)
Many experiential properties are naturally understood as dispositions such that e.g. a cake tastes good to you iff you are disposed to get gustatory pleasure when you eat it. Such dispositional analyses, however, face a challenge. It has been widely observed that one cannot properly assert “The cake tastes good to me” unless one has tried it. This acquaintance requirement is puzzling on the dispositional account because it should be possible to be disposed to like the cake even if this (...) disposition has never been manifested. We argue that familiar response strategies on behalf of the dispositionalist fail. These include appeals to conversational implicatures, expressivism, semantic presuppositions and norms of assertion. Against this background, we propose a new analysis in terms of what we call tendencies, where a tendency is a disposition that has been manifested. The acquaintance requirement comes out as an entailment. We point out a hitherto unnoticed parallel to sentences ascribing character traits such as “Hannah is brave,” and extend our tendency-based analysis to this domain. (shrink)
Adverbialists propose to analyse sentences of the form ‘Jane has a blue afterimage’ as ‘Jane afterimages blue-ly’. One commonly raised objection to adverbialism is the many-property problem, the problem of accounting for sentences that seem to ascribe more than one property to an afterimage . Plausible responses to this objection may be on offer. In this note, however, I will argue that the many-property problem resurfaces at the level of relations and that, at this level, no solution for the problem (...) is in sight. (shrink)
In this paper, I will discuss what I will call “skeptical pragmatic invariantism” as a potential response to the intuitions we have about scenarios such as the so-called bank cases. SPI, very roughly, is a form of epistemic invariantism that says the following: The subject in the bank cases doesn’t know that the bank will be open. The knowledge ascription in the low standards case seems appropriate nevertheless because it has a true implicature. The goal of this paper is to (...) show that SPI is mistaken. In particular, I will show that SPI is incompatible with reasonable assumptions about how we are aware of the presence of implicatures. Such objections are not new, but extant formulations are wanting for reasons I will point out below. One may worry that refuting SPI is not a worthwhile project given that this view is an implausible minority position anyway. To respond, I will argue that, contrary to common opinion, other familiar objections to SPI fail and, thus, that SPI is a promising position to begin with. (shrink)
Relativism and contextualism have been suggested as candidate semantics for “knowledge” sentences. I argue that relativism faces a problem concerning the preservation of beliefs in memory. Contextualism has been argued to face a similar problem. I argue that contextualists, unlike relativists, can respond to the concern. The overall upshot is that contextualism is superior to relativism in at least one important respect.
Relativism entails that sentences like ‘Liquorice is tasty’ are used to assert relativistic propositions—that is, propositions whose truth-value is relative to a taste standard. I will defend this view against two objections. According to the first objection, relativism is incompatible with a Stalnakerian account of assertion. I will show that this objection fails because Stalnakerian assertions are proposals rather than attempts to update the common ground. According to the second objection, relativism problematically predicts that we can correctly assess beliefs as (...) false but faultless. I will show that it doesn't. Such assessments come out as incorrect because correct relativistic assertion requires the absence of a presupposition of non-commonality. (shrink)
Orthodoxy in the contemporary debate on knowledge ascriptions holds that the truth‐value of knowledge ascriptions is purely a matter of truth‐relevant factors. One familiar challenge to orthodoxy comes from intuitive practical factor effects . But practical factor effects turn out to be hard to confirm in experimental studies, and where they have been confirmed, they may seem easy to explain away. We suggest a novel experimental paradigm to show that practical factor effects exist. It trades on the idea that people (...) retract knowledge attributions when practical factors shift. We also explain why the resulting data raise a serious challenge to orthodoxy. (shrink)
Knowledge ascriptions depend on so-called non-traditional factors. For instance, we become less inclined to ascribe knowledge when it’s important to be right, or once we are reminded of possible sources of error. A number of potential explanations of this data have been proposed in the literature. They include revisionary semantic explanations based on epistemic contextualism and revisionary metaphysical explanations based on anti-intellectualism. Classical invariantists reject such revisionary proposals and hence face the challenge to provide an alternative account. The most prominent (...) strategy here appeals to Gricean pragmatics. This paper focuses on a slightly less prominent strategy, which is based on the idea that non-traditional factors affect knowledge ascriptions because they affect what the putative knower believes. I will call this strategy doxasticism. The full potential of doxasticism is rarely appreciated in the literature and numerous unwarranted concerns have been raised. The goal of this paper is to present the strongest form of doxasticism and then to point out the genuine limitations of this position. I also sketch a closely related, more promising account. (shrink)
The mentioning of error-possibilities makes us less likely to ascribe knowledge. This paper offers a novel psychological account of this data. The account appeals to “subadditivity,” a well-known psychological tendency to judge possibilities as more likely when they are disjunctively described.
Epistemic invariantism, or invariantism for short, is the position that the proposition expressed by knowledge sentences does not vary with the epistemic standard of the context in which these sentences can be used. At least one of the major challenges for invariantism is to explain our intuitions about scenarios such as the so-called bank cases. These cases elicit intuitions to the effect that the truth-value of knowledge sentences varies with the epistemic standard of the context in which these sentences can (...) be used. In this paper, I will defend invariantism against this challenge by advocating the following, somewhat deflationary account of the bank case intuitions: Readers of the bank cases assign different truth-values to the knowledge claims in the bank cases because they interpret these scenarios such that the epistemic position of the subject in question differs between the high and the low standards case. To substantiate this account, I will argue, first, that the bank cases are underspecified even with respect to features that should uncontroversially be relevant for the epistemic position of the subject in question. Second, I will argue that readers of the bank cases will fill in these features differently in the low and the high standards case. In particular, I will argue that there is a variety of reasons to think that the fact that an error-possibility is mentioned in the high standards case will lead readers to assume that this error-possibility is supposed to be likely in the high standards case. (shrink)
It has been argued that epistemic contextualism faces the so-called factivity problem and hence cannot be stated properly. The basic idea behind this charge is that contextualists supposedly have to say, on the one hand, that knowledge ascribing sentences like “S knows that S has hands” are true when used in ordinary contexts while, on the other hand, they are not true by the standard of their own context. In my paper, I want to show that the argument to the (...) factivity problem fails because it rests on the mistaken premise that contextualists are committed to the truth of particular ordinary knowledge attributions. (shrink)
While many authors distinguish belief from acceptance, it seems almost universally agreed that no similar distinction can be drawn between degrees of belief, or credences, and degrees of acceptance. I challenge this assumption in this paper. Acceptance comes in degrees and acknowledging this helps to resolve problems in at least two philosophical domains. Degrees of acceptance play vital roles when we simplify our reasoning, and they ground the common ground of a conversation if we assume context probabilism, i.e., that the (...) common ground must be represented with probability spaces rather than possible worlds. (shrink)
Doxastic dualists acknowledge both outright beliefs and credences, and they maintain that neither state is reducible to the other. This gives rise to the ‘Bayesian Challenge’, which is to explain why we need beliefs if we have credences already. On a popular dualist response to the Bayesian Challenge, we need beliefs to simplify our reasoning. I argue that this response fails because credences perform this simplifying function at least as well as beliefs do.
Salience-sensitivity is a form of anti-intellectualism that says the following: whether a true belief amounts to knowledge depends on which error-possibilities are salient to the believer. I will investigate whether salience-sensitivity can be motivated by appeal to bank case intuitions. I will suggest that so-called third-person bank cases threaten to sever the connection between bank case intuitions and salience-sensitivity. I will go on to argue that salience-sensitivists can overcome this worry if they appeal to egocentric bias, a general tendency to (...) project our own mental states onto others. I will then suggest that a similar strategy is unavailable to stakes-sensitivists, who hold that whether a true belief amounts to knowledge depends on what is at stake for the believer. Bank case intuitions motivate salience- but not stakes-sensitivity. (shrink)
Die Untersuchung analysiert deswegen nach einem einleitenden Vorschlag zur Bestimmung des Verhältnisses von Logik und Metaphysik im Anschluss an Leibniz Baumgartens Erkenntnistheorie in ihrer charakteristischen Komplementarität von Ästhetik und Logik, die das gesamte Feld aller möglichen Gewissheit, d. h. des Bewusstseins der Wahrheit der verschiedensten Erkenntnisse, abdecken. Darüber hinaus erörtert sie auch deren mögliche Gegenstände, nämlich die Beschaffenheit der Dinge, wie sie das Wissen Gottes als eine ideale Metaphysik enthielte. Auf der Grundlage einer Ontologie teilweise unbestimmer aktualer Existenz kommt Baumgarten (...) zu einer kosmologischen Theorie monadischer Bewegtheit aller körperlichen Dinge. Sie führt zu einer Psychologie des Erkennens und Handelns, aus der ein indeterministischer Begriff menschlicher Willensfreiheit folgt, die auch von Gottes Allwissen nicht beschränkt wird. (shrink)
Was wusste Wittgenstein von Hegels Philosophie und wie verhält sich sein Denken zu demjenigen Hegels? Antwort auf diese Fragen sucht die vorliegende Studie in einer aufmerksamen Rekonstruktion der verschiedenen Bemerkungen Wittgensteins zu Hegel.In einer späten Bemerkung bringt Wittgenstein das Verhältnis seiner eigenen Philosophie zu derjenigen Hegels auf den Punkt:?Mir scheint, Hegel will immer sagen, daß Dinge, die verschieden aussehen, in Wirklichkeit gleich sind, während es mir um den Nachweis geht, daß Dinge, die gleich aussehen, in Wirklichkeit verschieden sind.? Um besser (...) verstehen zu können, was er dabei im Sinn hatte, werden die verschiedenen Bemerkungen Wittgensteins zu Hegel in den Kontext der Entwicklung seines philosophischen Denkens gestellt, und es wird? auch ganz in Wittgensteins Sinne? weitergefragt, was dieses Denken mit der philosophischen Tradition verbindet. (shrink)
Der Band versammelt Beiträge renommierter Vertreter unterschiedlicher Disziplinen zu der Frage, ob wir tatsächlich einen Zugang zur Wirklichkeit haben oder lediglich von unseren eigenen Konstruktionen der Wirklichkeit umgeben sind. In der Debatte kommt der Sprache eine zentrale Rolle zu. Konstruktivistische Positionen gehen davon aus, dass unsere Wörter und Sätze nie die Dinge an sich bezeichnen, sondern dies immer aus einer bestimmten Perspektive tun. Einer ‚Wirklichkeit an sich‘ nachzujagen, ist zwecklos, als wichtig gilt das Aufzeigen der Perspektiven. Nicht selten geschieht das (...) in aufklärerischer Absicht, wenn etwa Formulierungen wie die von der „Größe eines Volkes“, der „historischen Bestimmung einer Nation“ oder der „Natur des Geschlechts“ kritisch hinterfragt werden. Diesen Versuchen, die Wirklichkeit als interessengeleitet konstruierte auszuweisen, wird mit dem Argument begegnet, der Akt der Aufklärung diene letztlich nur dazu, die jeweils eigene Position als die ‚eigentlich richtige‘ durchzusetzen. Außerdem widerspreche die Annahme eines umfassenden Konstruiertseins unserer Wirklichkeitsbilder jeder Alltagserfahrung von der Präsenz und Widerständigkeit der Welt. An diesem Punkt der Kontroverse setzt der vorliegende Band an. Andreas Gardt : Wort und Welt. Konstruktivismus und Realismus in der Sprachtheorie Markus Gabriel : Der Neue Realismus zwischen Konstruktion und Wirklichkeit John R. Searle : The Philosophy of Perception and the Bad Argument Bernhard Pörksen : Der Blick des Kritikers. Die Debatte über den Konstruktivismus in der deutschsprachigen Kommunikationswissenschaft – ein Beispiel für die Auseinandersetzung zwischen realistischen und relativistischen Wissenschaftlern Siegfried J. Schmidt : Wie wirklich ist die Wirklichkeit? Heinz Bude : Realitäten in der Wirklichkeit Paul Kirchhof : Rechtssprache zwischen Ideal und Wirklichkeit Paul-Gerhard Klumbies : Gott – bewusst gemacht oder bewusstgemacht? Eine theologische Rückmeldung zu Konstruktivismus und Neuem Realismus Wolf-Andreas Liebert : Können wir mit Engeln sprechen? Über die eigenartige Wirklichkeit der Verständigung im Religiösen Gerhard Roth : Wahrnehmung und Erkenntnis: Grundzüge einer neurobiologisch fundierten Erkenntnistheorie Thomas Fuchs : Die gemeinsame Wahrnehmung der Wirklichkeit. Skizze eines enaktiven Realismus Alexander Ziem/Björn Fritsche : Von der Sprache zur Wirklichkeit: Die konstruktivistische Perspektive der Kognitiven Linguistik Max Düsterhöft/Robert Jacob/Marco Lehmann-Waffenschmidt : Konstruiert oder real? Die konstruierte Alltagswirklichkeit des Geldes Ludwig Jäger : „Outthereness". Über das Problem des Wirklichkeitsbezugs von Zeichen Matthias Attig : Begriffsrealismus als sprachwissenschaftliches Problem. Überlegungen zur kategorialen Eigenart von Termini Josef Klein : ‚Betrachten der Wirklichkeit‘ und politisches Framing. Am Beispiel der CDU-Wahlkampagne 2013 Ekkehard Felder : Wahrheit und Wissen zwischen Wirklichkeit und Konstruktion: Freiheiten und Zwänge beim sprachlichen Handeln. (shrink)
This book analyses an inconsistency within epistemic contextualism known as the factivity problem. It also provides key insights into epistemic contextualism, an important innovation in contemporary epistemology, enabling readers to gain a better understanding of the various solutions to the factivity problem. As the authors demonstrate, each explanation is based on a different interpretation of the problem. Divided into seven chapters, the book offers comprehensive coverage of this topic, which will be of major interest to philosophers engaged in epistemology and (...) the philosophy of language. After an introductory chapter, Chapter 2 presents the most common understanding of epistemic contextualism and its semantic basis. It also clarifies the epistemological implications of the theory’s semantic assumptions. This chapter also explains the main argument of the factivity problem. The next four chapters discuss the respective solutions proposed by Wolfgang Freitag, AlexanderDinges, Anthony Brueckner and Christopher Buford, Michael Ashfield, Martin Montminy and Wes Skolits, and Peter Baumann. Stefano Leardi and Nicla Vassallo highlight the similarities and commonalities, identifying three main approaches to the factivity problem. Chapter 7 provides a brief overview of the solutions proposed to solve the factivity problem and presents an outline of the conclusions reached in the book. (shrink)
This paper discusses two passages from Alexander of Aphrodisias’s commentary on Aristotle’s Topics that are transmitted in Ps-Jābir’s Kitāb al-Nukhab. It argues that the Arabic translation of Alexander’s commentary may have been made from a fuller version than what came down to us in Greek. Especially since the author of the Jābir-corpus form a tradition different from the school of Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq and authors associated to the ‘Baghdad school’, whose earliest figure is Abū Bishr Mattā b. Yūnus, (...) the Arabic fragments of Alexander’s commentary preserved in the Kitāb al-Nukhab promise to shed more light on the early reception of the Topics and the different contexts in which Aristotelian dialectic was studied in the Islamic world. (shrink)
This is a rewarding book. In terms of area, it has one foot firmly planted in metaphysics and the other just as firmly set in the philosophy of science. Nature's Metaphysics is distinctive for its thorough and detailed defense of fundamental, natural properties as essentially dispositional and for its description of how these dispositional properties are thus suited to sustain the laws of nature as (metaphysically) necessary truths.