A pragmatic approach to business ethics is argued for in this volume, which demonstrates the usefulness of the approach by applying it to a variety of issues. These issues are broad and far-reaching and include the relations between rational and moral//ethical decision-making, the limits of loyalty to employers, the impact of trust on business and the role of commercial public opinion polling during elections. The author also covers advertising, tobacco promotion, manufacture and marketing of armaments, concentration and taxation of wealth, (...) and the North American Free Trade Agreement. (shrink)
Although formal analysis provides us with interesting tools for treating Curry’s paradox, it certainly does not exhaust every possible reading of it. Thus, we suggest that this paradox should be analysed with non-formal tools coming from pragmatics. In this way, using Grice’s logic of conversation, we will see that Curry’s sentence can be reinterpreted as a peculiar conditional sentence implying its own consequent.
Sweet describes the pragmatic foundations of standard logic and applies these foundations to the task of developing a theory of intended models as an extension of standard model theory in which the relevant "intending" is represented pragmatically. Methods of formal logic are used to investigate the structure of the relation between language and the world. The truism which holds that this relation includes the speaker as well as the object spoken about is formally explicated and applied to the problem of (...) illuminating one of the deepest phenomena in standard model theory: the existence of non-isomorphic models of complete theories. To this end it is shown that standard logic admits pragmatic foundations upon which a theory of intended models can be built as an extension of standard model theory. The relevant "intending" is represented by the very forms of verbal behavior which determine the grammatical and logical structure of the sentences whose referential meaning is in question. The uniqueness properties of the class of intended models may then be described. The first section of the book states the immediate goal of standard pragmatics as that of recovering the algebraic structure first-order logic by means of a purely pragmatic construction. The second section, the major portion of the work, then provides the foundation for a semiotic theory of intended models and referential meaning. The theory is then applied to the problem of referential indeterminancy, which has been associated with the phenomenon of scientific revolutions. The theory is also applied to the problem of the apparent synonymy of observationally equivalent theories. Sweet concludes that such theories are not referentially synonymous in any natural sense which is analogous to the paradigm sense in which theories of alternative scales of measurement are referentially synonymous. A novel feature of this book is the formal explication of the idea that the factors, pragmatical in nature, which distinguish the actual meaning of a sentence from among its possible meanings, whose range is defined by the manner in which the sentence is parsed, determine that very parsing. Applicability to natural language of the model-theoretic semantics thereby obtained is made possible by another feature of the book: the development of a theory of locally standard grammar which provides the foundation for representing the structure of natural language as that of standard first-order logic, in a local, as distinguished from a global, sense. This book is intended for scholars in logic, semiotics, and the philosophies of language and of science. Those concerned specifically with such philosophers as Peirce, Martin, and Davidson will also find the study valuable. (shrink)
Does knowledge depend in any interesting way on our practical interests? This is the central question in the pragmatic encroachment debate. Pragmatists defend the affirmative answer to this question while purists defend the negative answer. The literature contains two kinds of arguments for pragmatism: principle-based arguments and case-based arguments. Principle-based arguments derive pragmatism from principles that connect knowledge to practical interests. Case-based arguments rely on intuitions about cases that differ with respect to practical interests. I argue that there are insurmountable (...) problems for both kinds of arguments, and that it is therefore unclear what motivates pragmatism. (shrink)
I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term. Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theoretical cost and imposes few constraints on (...) an account of the semantics of slurs, this suggests that we should not require semantic accounts to provide an independent explanation of the offense profile. (shrink)
Those aspects of language use that are crucial to an understanding of language as a system, and especially to an understanding of meaning, are the acknowledged concern of linguistic pragmatics. Yet until now much of the work in this field has not been easily accessible to the student, and was often written at an intimidating level of technicality. In this textbook, however, Dr Levinson has provided a lucid and integrative analysis of the central topics in pragmatics - deixis, (...) implicature, presupposition, speech acts, and conversational structure. A central concern of the book is the relation between pragmatics and semantics, and Dr Levinson shows clearly how a pragmatic approach can resolve some of the problems semantics have been confronting and simplifying semantic analyses. The complexity of these issues is not disguised, but the exposition is always clear and supported by helpful exemplification. The detailed analyses of selected topics give the student a clear view of the empirical rigour demanded by the study of linguistic pragmatics, but Dr Levinson never loses sight of the rich diversity of the subject. An introduction and conclusion relate pragmatics to other fields in linguistics and other disciplines concerned with language usage - psychology, philosophy, anthropology and literature. Many students in these disciplines, as well as students of linguistics, will find this a valuable textbook. (shrink)
The central problem for pragmatics is that sentence meaning vastly underdetermines speaker’s meaning. The goal of pragmatics is to explain how the gap between sentence meaning and speaker’s meaning is bridged. This paper defends the broadly Gricean view that pragmatic interpretation is ultimately an exercise in mind-reading, involving the inferential attribution of intentions. We argue, however, that the interpretation process does not simply consist in applying general mind-reading abilities to a particular (communicative) domain. Rather, it involves a dedicated (...) comprehension module, with its own special principles and mechanisms. We show how such a metacommunicative module might have evolved, and what principles and mechanisms it might contain. (shrink)
I present a challenge to epistemological pragmatic encroachment theories from epistemic injustice. The challenge invokes the idea that a knowing subject may be wronged by being regarded as lacking knowledge due to social identity prejudices. However, in an important class of such cases, pragmatic encroachers appear to be committed to the view that the subject does not know. Hence, pragmatic encroachment theories appear to be incapable of accounting for an important type of injustice – namely, discriminatory epistemic injustice. Consequently, pragmatic (...) encroachment theories run the risk of obscuring or even sanctioning epistemically unjust judgments that arise due to problematic social stereotypes or unjust folk epistemological biases. In contrast, the epistemological view that rejects pragmatic encroachment – namely, strict purist invariantism – is capable of straightforwardly diagnosing the cases of discriminatory epistemic injustice as such. While the challenge is not a conclusive one, it calls for a response. Moreover, it illuminates very different conceptions of epistemology’s role in mitigating epistemic injustice. (shrink)
Formal Pragmatics addresses issues that are on the borderline of semantics and pragmatics of natural language, from the point of view of a model-theoretic semanticist. This up-to-date resource covers a substantial body of formal work on linguistic phenomena, and presents the way the semantics-pragmatics interface has come to be viewed today.
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)
When asked in 1962 on what he was working Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz replied: Several years ago Polish Scientific Publishers suggested that I pre pare a new edition of The Logical Foundations of Teaching, which I wrote 1 before 1939 as a contribution to The Encyclopaedia of Education. It was a small booklet covering elementary information about logical semantics and scientific methodology, information which in my opinion was necessary as a foundation of teaching and as an element of the education of any (...) teacher. When I recently set to preparing the new edition, I rewrote practically everything, and a booklet of some 100 pages swelled into a bulky volume almost five times bigger. The issues have remained practically the same, but they are now analysed much more thoroughly and the threshold of difficulty is much higher now. The main stress has been laid on the methods used in the empirical sciences, and within that field, on the theory of measurement and the methods of statistical inference. I am now working on the last chapter of the book, concerned with explanation procedures and theory construction in the empirical sciences. When that book, which I intend to entitle Pragmatic Logic, is com pleted I intend to prepare for the press Vol. 2 of my minor writings, 2 Language and Cognition, which will cover some of my post-war pa pers. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the thesis that epistemic justification for belief supervenes on evidential support. However, we claim there are cases in which, even though two subjects have the same evidential support for a proposition, only one of them is justified. What make the difference are pragmatic factors, factors having to do with our cares and concerns. Our argument against evidentialism is not based on intuitions about particular cases. Rather, we aim to provide a theoretical basis for rejecting evidentialism by defending a (...) “pragmatic” necessary condition on epistemic justification. We argue for the following necessary condition for justification: S is justified in believing that p only if S is rational to prefer (and, hence, act) as if p. In light of this necessary condition, the price of evidentialism is skepticism, or something close to it. (shrink)
For the Intentionalist, utterance content is wholly determined by a speaker’s meaning-intentions; the sentence uttered serves merely to facilitate the audience’s recovering these intentions. We argue that Intentionalists ought to be Particularists, holding that the only “principles” of meaning recovery needed are those governing inferences to the best explanation; “principles” that are both defeasible and, in a sense to be elaborated, variable. We discuss some ways in which some theorists have erred in trying to tame the “wild west” of (...) class='Hi'>pragmatics and context-sensitivity -- including recent work that makes essential appeal to the information structure of a discourse -- and in so doing, offer a general recipe for defending the Particularist picture of utterance content and its recovery that we favor. (shrink)
Moderate Pragmatic Invariantism has been criticized in the literature for postulating implicatures that are not straightforwardly cancellable. Defenders of MPI have responded that the data are not as clear-cut as one might wish. This paper grants the defenders of MPI, for the sake of argument, that the implicatures in question are cancellable and then turns this admission against them. In particular, the paper offers Bank Case variants in which the conversational implicatures postulated by MPI are contextually suspended – and thus (...) cancelled. Since our intuitions do not vary between the original Bank Case and these novel types of cases, the explanation offered by MPI must be mistaken. Our varying truth-value intuitions in the Bank Cases cannot be accounted for by means of conversational implicatures. (shrink)
Critical Pragmatics develops three ideas: language is a way of doing things with words; meanings of phrases and contents of utterances derive ultimately from human intentions; and language combines with other factors to allow humans to achieve communicative goals. In this book, Kepa Korta and John Perry explain why critical pragmatics provides a coherent picture of how parts of language study fit together within the broader picture of human thought and action. They focus on issues about singular reference, (...) that is, talk about particular things, places or people, which have played a central role in the philosophy of language for more than a century. They argue that attention to the 'reflexive' or 'utterance-bound' contents of utterances sheds new light on these old problems. Their important study proposes a new approach to pragmatics and should be of wide interest to philosophers of language and linguists. (shrink)
Pragmatic encroachment theories of knowledge may be characterized as views according to which practical factors may partly determine the truth-value of ascriptions that S knows that p – even though these factors do not partly determine S’s belief that p or p itself. The pros and cons of variations of pragmatic encroachment are widely discussed in epistemology. But despite a long pragmatist tradition in the philosophy of science, few efforts have been devoted to relate this particular view to issues in (...) philosophy of science. Consequently, a central aim of the present paper is to consider how the contemporary debates over pragmatic encroachment connect to philosophy of science. More specifically, I will set forth some arguments against the idea of pragmatic encroachment on scientific knowledge. Moreover, I will argue that it is not plausible to respond to these arguments by embedding pragmatic encroachment in the anti-realist framework of constructive empiricism. So, I conclude that there are good reasons to reject pragmatic encroachment theories of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Classical Gricean pragmatics is usually conceived as dealing with far-side pragmatics, aimed at computing implicatures. It involves reasoning about why what was said, was said. Near-side pragmatics, on the other hand, is pragmatics in the service of determining, together with the semantical properties of the words used, what was said. But this raises the specter of ‘the pragmatic circle.’ If Gricean pragmatics seeks explanations for why someone said what they did, how can there be Gricean (...)pragmatics on the near-side? Gricean reasoning seems to require what is said to get started. But then if Gricean reasoning is needed to get to what is said, we have a circle. (shrink)
This chapter addresses concerns that pragmatic encroachers are committed to problematic knowledge variance. It first replies to Charity Anderson and John Hawthorne’s new putative problem cases, which purport to show that pragmatic encroachment is committed to problematic variations in knowledge depending on what choices are available to the potential knower. It argues that the new cases do not provide any new reasons to be concerned about the pragmatic encroacher’s commitment to knowledge-variance. The chapter further argues that concerns about knowledge-variance are (...) not limited to the pragmatic encroacher, but come up for traditional purist invariantism as well. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to defend Simple Modest Invariantism (SMI) about knowledge from the threat presented by pragmatic encroachment. Pragmatic encroachment is the view that practical circumstances are relevant in some way to the truth of knowledge ascriptions—and if this is true, it would entail the falsity of SMI. Drawing on Ross and Schroeder’s recent Reasoning Disposition account of belief, I argue that the Reasoning Disposition account, together with Grice’s Maxims, gives us an attractive pragmatic account of the (...) connection between knowledge ascriptions and practical circumstances. This gives us the ability to explain away the data that is supposed to support pragmatic encroachment. Finally, I address three important objections to the view offered by giving a pragmatic account of when it is conversationally appropriate to cancel a conversational implicature, and discussing when sentences with true content can end up sounding false as well as cases where sentences with false content can end up sounding true. (shrink)
Starting from the ‘Dewey Lectures’, Rawls presents his conception of justice within a contextualist framework, as an elaboration of the basic ideas embedded in the political culture of liberal-democratic societies. But how are these basic ideas to be justified? In this article, I reconstruct and criticize Rawls’s strategy to answer this question. I explore an alternative strategy, consisting of a genealogical argument of a pragmatic kind – the kind of argument provided by authors like Bernard Williams, Edward Craig and Miranda (...) Fricker. I outline this genealogical argument drawing on Rawls’s reconstruction of the origins of liberalism. Then, I clarify the conditions under which this kind of argument maintains vindicatory power. I claim that the argument satisfies these conditions and that pragmatic genealogy can thus partially vindicate the basic ideas of liberal-democratic societies. (shrink)
Nativists about theory of mind have typically explained why children below the age of four fail the false belief task by appealing to the demands that these tasks place on children’s developing executive abilities. However, this appeal to executive functioning cannot explain a wide range of evidence showing that social and linguistic factors also affect when children pass this task. In this paper, I present a revised nativist proposal about theory of mind development that is able to accommodate these findings, (...) which I call the pragmatic development account. According to this proposal, we can gain a better understanding of the shift in children’s performance on standard false-belief tasks around four years of age by considering how children’s experiences with the pragmatics of belief discourse affect the way they interpret the task. (shrink)
Henry Wellman and colleagues have provided evidence of a robust developmental progression in theory-of-mind (or as we will say, “mindreading”) abilities, using verbal tasks. Understanding diverse desires is said to be easier than understanding diverse beliefs, which is easier than understanding that lack of perceptual access issues in ignorance, which is easier than understanding false belief, which is easier than understanding that people can hide their true emotions. These findings present a challenge to nativists about mindreading, and are said to (...) support a social-constructivist account of mindreading development instead. This article takes up the challenge on behalf of nativism. Our goal is to show that the mindreading-scale findings fail to support constructivism because well-motivated alternative hypotheses have not yet been controlled for and ruled out. These have to do with the pragmatic demands of verbal tasks. (shrink)
If knowledge is sensitive to practical stakes, then whether one knows depends in part on the practical costs of being wrong. When considering religious belief, the practical costs of being wrong about theism may differ dramatically between the theist (if there is no God) and the atheist (if there is a God). This paper explores the prospects, on pragmatic encroachment, for knowledge of theism (even if true) and of atheism (even if true), given two types of practical costs: namely, by (...) holding a false belief, or by missing out on a true belief. These considerations set up a more general puzzle of epistemic preference when faced with the choice between two beliefs, only one of which could become knowledge. (shrink)
Intercultural Pragmatics studies how language systems are used in social encounters between speakers who have different first languages and cultures, yet communicate in a common language. The field first emerged in the early 21st century, joining two seemingly antagonistic approaches to pragmatics research: the cognitive-philosophical approach, which considers intention as an a priori mental state of the speaker, and the sociocultural-interactional approach, which considers it as a post factum construct created by both speaker and hearer though conversation. Istvan (...) Kecskes, an early proponent of intercultural pragmatics, was among the first to propose merging the two to form the socio-cognitive approach now core to the field. In Intercultural Pragmatics, the first book on the subject, Kecskes establishes the foundations of the field, boldly combining the pragmatic view of cooperation with the cognitive view of egocentrism in order to incorporate emerging features of communication. He argues that people cooperate by generating and formulating intention that is relevant to the given actual situational context. At the same time, however, because of their egocentrism they activate the most salient information to their attention in the construction and comprehension of utterances. Within this approach, interlocutors are considered as social beings searching for meaning with individual minds embedded in a socio-cultural collectivity, and intention is a cooperation-directed practice that is governed by relevance which depends on actual situational experience.Intercultural pragmatics is a rapidly-growing field, and the only subfield of pragmatics to incorporate features of intercultural interaction into mainstream pragmatics. This volume offers both a valuable synthesis of current research and a new way to think about pragmatics. (shrink)
Contextualism in epistemology has traditionally been understood as the view that “know” functions semantically like an indexical term, encoding different contents in contexts with different epistemic standards. But the indexical hypothesis about “know” faces a range of objections. This article explores an alternative version of contextualism on which “know” is a semantically stable term, and the truth-conditional variability in knowledge claims is a matter of pragmatic enrichment. The central idea is that in contexts with stringent epistemic standards, knowledge claims are (...) narrowed: “know” is used in such contexts to make assertions about particularly demanding types of knowledge. The resulting picture captures all of the intuitive data that motivate contextualism while sidestepping the controversial linguistic thesis at its heart. After developing the view, the article shows in detail how it avoids one influential linguistic objection to traditional contextualism concerning indirect speech reports, and then answers an objection concerning the unavailability of certain types of clarification speeches. (shrink)
We develop a novel challenge to pragmatic encroachment. The significance of belief-desire psychology requires treating questions about what to believe as importantly prior to questions about what to do; pragmatic encroachment undermines that priority, and therefore undermines the significance of belief-desire psychology. This, we argue, is a higher cost than has been recognized by epistemologists considering embracing pragmatic encroachment.
Theories of explanation are characterized as being either pragmatic or non-pragmatic, without a clear sense of what this is supposed to mean. The present paper offers a definition of a "pragmatic explanation-sentence", and in terms of this, of a "pragmatic theory of explanation". It is argued that van Fraassen's theory of explanation, despite claims to the contrary, is not genuinely pragmatic. By contrast, the author's own "illocutionary" theory is pragmatic. Attention is devoted particularly to sentences of the form "E is (...) a good explanation of q", which, it is urged, are pragmatic in a strong sense. In defense of this claim, and of the advantages of a pragmatic account generally, appeal is made to Rutherford's 1911 subatomic explanation of the results of his scattering experiments. Implications of a pragmatic theory are drawn for the debate between realists and anti-realists and absolutists and relativists. (shrink)
Although fallacies have been common since Aristotle, until recently little attention has been devoted to identifying and defining them. Furthermore, the concept of fallacy itself has lacked a sufficiently clear meaning to make it a useful tool for evaluating arguments. Douglas Walton takes a new analytical look at the concept of fallacy and presents an up-to-date analysis of its usefulness for argumentation studies. Walton uses case studies illustrating familiar arguments and tricky deceptions in everyday conversation where the charge of fallaciousness (...) is at issue. The numerous case studies show in concrete terms many practical aspects of how to use textual evidence to identify and analyze fallacies and to evaluate arguments as fallacious. Walton looks at how an argument is used in the context of conversation. He defines a fallacy as a conversational move, or sequence of moves, that is supposed to be an argument that contributes to the purpose of the conversation but in reality interferes with it. The view is a pragmatic one, based on the assumption that when people argue, they do so in a context of dialogue, a conventionalized normative framework that is goal-directed. Such a contextual framework is shown to be crucial in determining whether an argument has been used correctly. Walton also shows how examples of fallacies given in the logic textbooks characteristically turn out to be variants of reasonable, even if defeasible or questionable arguments, based on presumptive reasoning. This is the essence of the evaluation problem. A key thesis of the book, which must not be taken for granted as previous textbooks have so often done, is that you can spot a fallacy from how it was used in a context of dialogue. This is an innovative and even, as Walton notes, "a radical and controversial" theory of fallacy. (shrink)
Researchers have converged on the idea that a pragmatic understanding of communication can shed important light on the evolution of language. Accordingly, animal communication scientists have been keen to adopt insights from pragmatics research. Some authors couple their appeal to pragmatic aspects of communication with the claim that there are fundamental asymmetries between signalers and receivers in non-human animals. For example, in the case of primate vocal calls, signalers are said to produce signals unintentionally and mindlessly, whereas receivers are (...) thought to engage in contextual interpretation to derive the significance of signals. We argue that claims about signaler-receiver asymmetries are often confused. This is partly because their authors conflate two conceptions of pragmatics, which generate different accounts of the explanatory target for accounts of the evolution of language. Here we distinguish these conceptions, in order to help specify more precisely the proper explanatory target for language evolution research. (shrink)
Recent experiments have shown that naive speakers find borderline contradictions involving vague predicates acceptable. In Cobreros et al. we proposed a pragmatic explanation of the acceptability of borderline contradictions, building on a three-valued semantics. In a reply, Alxatib et al. show, however, that the pragmatic account predicts the wrong interpretations for some examples involving disjunction, and propose as a remedy a semantic analysis instead, based on fuzzy logic. In this paper we provide an explicit global pragmatic interpretation rule, based on (...) a somewhat richer semantics, and show that with its help the problem can be overcome in pragmatics after all. Furthermore, we use this pragmatic interpretation rule to define a new consequence-relation and discuss some of its properties. (shrink)
‘Know-that’, like so many natural language expressions, exhibits patterns of use that provide evidence for its context-sensitivity. A popular family of views – call it prag- matic invariantism – attempts to explain the shifty patterns by appeal to a pragmatic thesis: while the semantic meaning of ‘know-that’ is stable across all contexts of use, sentences of the form ‘S knows [doesn’t know] that p’ can be used to communicate a pragmatic content that depends on the context of use. In this (...) paper, the author argues that pragmatic invariantism makes inaccurate predictions for a wide range of well- known use data and is committed to attributing systematic pragmatic error to ordinary speakers. But pragmatic error is unprecedented, and it is doubtful that speakers are systematically wrong about what they intend to communicate. (shrink)
The first truly multidisciplinary text of its kind, this book offers an original analysis of the current state of linguistic pragmatics. Cummings argues that no study of pragmatics can reasonably neglect the historical and contemporary influences on this.
Epistemology orthodoxy is a purist one in the sense that it separates out the epistemic from the practical. What counts as evidence is independent of what we care about. Which beliefs count as justified and which count as knowledge are independent of our practical concerns. In recent years, many epistemologists have abandoned such purist views and embraced varying degrees of pragmatic encroachment on the epistemic. I survey a variety of these views and explore the main arguments that proponents of pragmatic (...) encroachment have offered in addition to the main criticisms of the pragmatic approach. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the search for explainable models and interpretable decisions in AI must be reformulated in terms of the broader project of offering a pragmatic and naturalistic account of understanding in AI. Intuitively, the purpose of providing an explanation of a model or a decision is to make it understandable to its stakeholders. But without a previous grasp of what it means to say that an agent understands a model or a decision, the explanatory strategies will (...) lack a well-defined goal. Aside from providing a clearer objective for XAI, focusing on understanding also allows us to relax the factivity condition on explanation, which is impossible to fulfill in many machine learning models, and to focus instead on the pragmatic conditions that determine the best fit between a model and the methods and devices deployed to understand it. After an examination of the different types of understanding discussed in the philosophical and psychological literature, I conclude that interpretative or approximation models not only provide the best way to achieve the objectual understanding of a machine learning model, but are also a necessary condition to achieve post hoc interpretability. This conclusion is partly based on the shortcomings of the purely functionalist approach to post hoc interpretability that seems to be predominant in most recent literature. (shrink)
We propose that people typically reason about realistic situations using neither content-free syntactic inference rules nor representations of specific experiences. Rather, people reason using knowledge structures that we term pragmatic reasoning schemas, which are generalized sets of rules defined in relation to classes of goals. Three experiments examined the impact of a “permission schema” on deductive reasoning. Experiment 1 demonstrated that by evoking the permission schema it is possible to facilitate performance in Wason's selection paradigm for subjects who have had (...) no experience with the specific content of the problems. Experiment 2 showed that a selection problem worded in terms of an abstract permission elicited better performance than one worded in terms of a concrete but arbitrary situation, providing evidence for an abstract permission schema that is free of domain-specific content. Experiment 3 provided evidence that evocation of a permission schema affects not only tasks requiring procedural knowledge, but also a linguistic rephrasing task requiring declarative knowledge. In particular, statements in the form if p then q were rephrased into the form p only if q with greater frequency for permission than for arbitrary statements, and rephrasings of permission statements produced a pattern of introduction of modals totally unlike that observed for arbitrary conditional statements. Other pragmatic schemas, such as “causal” and “evidence” schemas can account for both linguistic and reasoning phenomena that alternative hypotheses fail to explain. (shrink)
We argue, contrary to epistemological orthodoxy, that knowledge is not purely epistemic -- that knowledge is not simply a matter of truth-related factors (evidence, reliability, etc.). We do this by arguing for a pragmatic condition on knowledge, KA: if a subject knows that p, then she is rational to act as if p. KA, together with fallibilism, entails that knowledge is not purely epistemic. We support KA by appealing tothe role of knowledge-citations in defending and criticizing actions, and by giving (...) a principled argument for KA, based on the inference rule KB: if a subject knows that A is the best thing she can do, she is rational to do A. In the second half of the paper, we consider and reject the two most promising objections to our ease for KA, one based on the Gricean notion of conversational implicature and the other based on a contextualist maneuver. (shrink)
I argue that fallibilism, single-premise epistemic closure, and one formulation of the “knowledge-action principle” are inconsistent. I will consider a possible way to avoid this incompatibility, by advocating a pragmatic constraint on belief in general, rather than just knowledge. But I will conclude that this is not a promising option for defusing the problem. I do not argue here for any one way of resolving the inconsistency.
Followers of Wittgenstein allegedly once held that a meaningful claim to know that p could only be made if there was some doubt about the truth of p. The correct response to this thesis involved appealing to the distinction between the semantic content of a sentence and features attaching to its use. It is inappropriate to assert a knowledge-claim unless someone in the audience has doubt about what the speaker claims to know. But this fact has nothing to do with (...) the semantic content of knowledgeascriptions; it is entirely explicable by appeal to pragmatic facts about felicitous assertion. (shrink)
Subject-sensitive invariantism posits surprising connections between a person’s knowledge and features of her environment that are not paradigmatically epistemic features. But which features of a person’s environment have this distinctive connection to knowledge? Traditional defenses of subject-sensitive invariantism emphasize features that matter to the subject of the knowledge-attribution. Call this pragmatic encroachment. A more radical thesis usually goes ignored: knowledge is sensitive to moral facts, whether or not those moral facts matter to the subject. Call this moral encroachment. This paper (...) argues that, insofar as there are good arguments for pragmatic encroachment, there are also good arguments for moral encroachment. (shrink)
Beatty, Brandon, and Sober agree that biological generalizations, when contingent, do not qualify as laws. Their conclusion follows from a normative definition of law inherited from the Logical Empiricists. I suggest two additional approaches: paradigmatic and pragmatic. Only the pragmatic represents varying kinds and degrees of contingency and exposes the multiple relationships found among scientific generalizations. It emphasizes the function of laws in grounding expectation and promotes the evaluation of generalizations along continua of ontological and representational parameters. Stability of conditions (...) and strength of determination in nature govern projectibility. Accuracy, ontological level, simplicity, and manageability provide additional measures of usefulness. (shrink)
This collection of contributions from both linguists and lawyers brings a pragmatic perspective to the linguistic basis for legal meaning and for finding a norm by which to decide a case. That is, it turns from notions of linguistic meaning as residing in the text, as literal meaning waiting to be dug out, to focus instead on how readers infer pragmatic meaning, and on the kinds of inferencing that characterise legal discourse.
Even though pragmatic theories of truth are not widely held, they have advantages not found elsewhere. Here I focus on one such advantage: that a pragmatic theory of truth does not limit the range of truth-apt beliefs and thereby “block the way of inquiry.” Furthermore, I argue that this speaks for a particular formulation of the pragmatic theory of truth, one that shifts away from Peircean approaches and their emphasis on temporal independence, and toward a theory that instead emphasizes truth’s (...) subject independence. (shrink)
_Thoughts and Utterances_ is the first sustained investigation of two distinctions which are fundamental to all theories of utterance understanding: the semantics/pragmatics distinction and the distinction between what is explicitly communicated and what is implicitly communicated.
This paper offers a smattering of applications of pragmatics to epistemology. In most cases they concern recent epistemological claims that depend for their plausibility on mistaking something pragmatic for something semantic. After giving my formulation of the semantic/pragmatic distinction and explaining how seemingly semantic intuitions can be responsive to pragmatic factors, I take up the following topics: 1. Classic Examples of Confusing Meaning and Use 2. Pragmatic Implications of Hedging or Intensifying an Assertion 3. Belief Attributions 4. Knowledge-wh 5. (...) The Knowledge Rule on Assertion 6. Testimony 7. Asserting and Thinking of Possibilities 8. Concessive Knowledge Attributions 9. “Pragmatic Encroachment” 10. Epistemic Contextualism.. (shrink)
How do people decide what to say in context? Many theories of pragmatics assume that people have specialized knowledge that drives them to utter certain words in different situations. But these theories are mostly unable to explain both the regularity and variability in people’s speech behaviors. Our purpose in this article is to advance a view of pragmatics based on complexity theory, which specifically explains the pragmatic choices speakers make in conversations. The concept of self-organized criticality sheds light (...) on how a history of utterances and subtle details of a situation surrounding a conversation may directly specify language behavior. Under this view, pragmatic choice in discourse does not reflect the output of any dedicated pragmatic module but arises from a complex coordination or coupling between speakers and their varying communicative tasks. (shrink)