Predicates of taste, such as ‘fun’ and ‘tasty’, have received considerable attention in recent debates between contextualists and relativists, with considerations involving disagreement playing a central role. Considerations involving disagreement have been taken to present a problem for contextualist treatments of predicates of taste. My goal is to argue that considerations involving disagreement do not undermine contextualism. To the extent that relativism was supposed to be motivated by contextualists being unable to deal with disagreement, this motivation is lacking. The argument (...) against contextualism rests on a too simple and narrow conception of disagreement that turns out to be problematic once we consider a wider range of cases. If we reject the assumptions about disagreement that the argument rests on, it no longer poses a threat to contextualism. (shrink)
The idea that there can be cases of faultless disagreement, cases of disagreement in which neither party is making a mistake, is frequently discussed in connection with relativist views in philosophy of language. My goal is to argue that we can make sense of faultless disagreement without being committed to any form of relativism if we recognise that disagreement sometimes involves attitudes other than belief, such as desires or preferences. Furthermore, this way of making sense of faultless disagreement allows us (...) to avoid some of the problems that have been raised in connection with relativist accounts of faultless disagreement. (shrink)
The apparent contextual variability exhibited by ‘knows’ and its cognates—brought to attention in examples like Keith DeRose’s Bank Case—poses familiar problems for conservative forms of invariantism about ‘knows’. The paper examines and criticises a popular response to those problems, one that involves appeal to so-called ‘pragmatic’ features of language. It is first argued, contrary to what seems to have been generally assumed, that any pragmatic defence faces serious problems with regard to our judgments about retraction. Second, the familiar objection that (...) the pragmatic effects at issue do not seem to be cancellable is considered. Advocates of the pragmatic defence have suggested that cancellability concerns can be dealt with fairly readily. It is shown both that their recent attempts to respond to those concerns, and some other possible attempts, are unsuccessful. Finally, it is argued that the popular relevance-based accounts, found in the work of Jessica Brown, Alan Hazlett, and Patrick Rysiew, fail to provide a satisfactory explanation of our judgments. (shrink)
Considerations involving disagreement, as well as related considerations involving correction and retraction, have played an important role in recent debates about epistemic modals. For instance, it has been argued that contextualist views about epistemic modals have problems when it comes to explaining cases of disagreement. In response to these challenges, I explore the idea that the relevant cases of disagreement may involve credal disagreement. In a case of credal disagreement, the parties have different degrees of belief or credences. There does (...) not have to be a difference in outright beliefs in order for the parties to disagree. I argue that the idea of credal disagreement allows us to make sense of otherwise problematic cases of disagreement involving epistemic modals. I also discuss how these ideas can be extended to cases of correction and retraction. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss a puzzle involving accommodation. The puzzle is based on three assumptions. The first assumption is that accommodation takes place after an utterance. The second assumption is that accommodation can make a difference to the truth-value of an utterance even if the utterance is not about the future. The third assumption is that something that takes place after an utterance cannot make a difference to the truth-value of the utterance unless the (...) utterance is about the future. Since these assumptions are jointly inconsistent, one of them must be false. The question is which one we ought to reject. The majority of the discussion is devoted to discussing each of the options, and the tentative conclusion is that the most plausible strategy is to reject the third thesis. That amounts to saying that something that takes place after an utterance can make a difference to the truth-value of the utterance even if the utterance is not about the future. (shrink)
It is common to explain agreement and disagreement in terms of relations among mental states. The main purpose of the present discussion is to present an alternative way of thinking about the relationship between mental states and agreement and disagreement. The idea is to connect agreement and disagreement with the individuation of mental states. More specifically, for at least some mental states, standing in the same relations of agreement and disagreement is both necessary and sufficient for identity. This provides us (...) with a framework for discussing issues related to agreement and disagreement. It is for instance well-known that de se beliefs raise questions about agreement and disagreement. The present framework allows us to discuss such beliefs while relying on assumptions that are interestingly different from the standard assumptions in the literature. While most of the discussion focuses on beliefs, there are other mental states, such as desires, that can seemingly also stand in relations of agreement and disagreement. This raises questions about how far the framework can be extended. (shrink)
Information Centrism is the view that contexts consist of information that can be characterized in terms of the propositional attitudes of the conversational participants. Furthermore, it claims that this notion of context is the only one needed for linguistic theorizing about context-sensitive languages. We argue that Information Centrism is false, since it cannot account correctly for facts about truth and reference in certain cases involving indexicals and demonstratives. Consequently, contexts cannot be construed simply as collections of shared information.
It has been argued that common ground information is unsuited to the role that contexts play in the theory of indexical and demonstrative reference. This paper explores an alternative view that identifies shared information with what is common knowledge among the participants. We argue this view of shared information avoids the problems for the common ground approach concerning reference while preserving its advantages in accounting for communication.