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  1. added 2018-11-05
    Expectation Biases and Context Management with Negative Polar Questions.Alex Silk - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic.
    This paper examines distinctive discourse properties of preposed negative 'yes/no' questions (NPQs), such as 'Isn't Jane coming too?'. Unlike with other polar questions, using an NPQ ~p? invariably conveys a bias toward a particular answer, where the polarity of the bias is opposite of the polarity of the question: using the negative question ~p? invariably expresses that the speaker previously expected the positive answer p to be correct. A prominent approach — what I call the 'context-management approach', developed most extensively (...)
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  2. added 2018-10-04
    Kinds of Monsters and Kinds of Compositionality.Mark McCullagh - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):657-666.
    In response to Stefano Predelli's article finding in David Kaplan's “Demonstratives” a distinction between “context shifting” monsters and “operators on character,” I argue that context shifters are operators on character. That conclusion conflicts with the claim that operators on character must be covertly quotational. But that claim is itself unmotivated.
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  3. added 2018-09-16
    Criticizing a Difference of Contexts: On Reichenbach’s Distincition Between “Context of Discovery” and “Context of Justification”.Gregor Schiemann - 2002 - In Schickore J. & Steinle F. (eds.), Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook. Max-Planck-Institut. pp. 237-251.
    With his distinction between the "context of discovery" and the "context of justification", Hans Reichenbach gave the traditional difference between genesis and validity a modern standard formulation. Reichenbach's distinction is one of the well-known ways in which the expression "context" is used in the theory of science. My argument is that Reichenbach's concept is unsuitable and leads to contradictions in the semantic fields of genesis and validity. I would like to demonstrate this by examining the different meanings of Reichenbach's context (...)
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  4. added 2018-08-21
    Infallibilism and Easy Counter-Examples.Alex Davies - forthcoming - Grazer Philosophische Studien.
    Infallibilism is commonly rejected because it is apparently subject to easy counter-examples. I describe a strategy that infallibilists can use to resist this objection. Because the sentences used in the counter-examples to express evidence and belief are context-sensitive, the infallibilist can insist that such counter-examples trade on a vacillation between different readings of these sentences. I describe what difficulties await those who try to produce counter-examples against which the proposed strategy is ineffective.
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  5. added 2018-07-20
    A Defence of Intentionalism About Demonstratives.Alex Radulescu - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    Intentionalism about demonstratives is the view that the referent of a demonstrative is determined solely by the speaker's intentions. Intentionalists can disagree about the nature of these intentions, but are united in rejecting the relevance of other factors, such as the speaker's gestures, her gaze, and any facts about the addressee or the audience. In this paper, I formulate a particular version of this view, and I defend it against six objections, old and new.
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  6. added 2018-07-12
    Disjunctive Antecedent Conditionals.Justin Khoo - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Disjunctive antecedent conditionals (DACs)—conditionals of the form if A or B, C—sometimes seem to entail both of their simplifications (if A, C; if B, C) and sometimes seem not to. I argue that this behavior reveals a genuine am- biguity in DACs. Along the way, I discuss a new observation about the role of focal stress in distinguishing the two interpretations of DACs. I propose a new theory, according to which the surface form of a DAC underdetermines its logical form: (...)
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  7. added 2018-06-05
    Modal Disagreements.Justin Khoo - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (5):511-534.
    It is often assumed that when one party felicitously rejects an assertion made by an- other party, the first party thinks that the proposition asserted by the second is false. This assumption underlies various disagreement arguments used to challenge contex- tualism about some class of expressions. As such, many contextualists have resisted these arguments on the grounds that the disagreements in question may not be over the proposition literally asserted. The result appears to be a dialectical stalemate, with no independent (...)
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  8. added 2018-05-29
    Testimonial Knowledge and Context-Sensitivity: A New Diagnosis of the Threat.Alex Davies - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-17.
    Epistemologists typically assume that the acquisition of knowledge from testimony is not threatened at the stage at which audiences interpret what proposition a speaker has asserted. Attention is instead typically paid to the epistemic status of a belief formed on the basis of testimony that it is assumed has the same content as the speaker's assertion. Andrew Peet has pioneered an account of how linguistic context sensitivity can threaten the assumption. His account locates the threat in contexts in which an (...)
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  9. added 2018-02-17
    Nonindexical Context-Dependence and the Interpretation as Abduction Approach.Erich Rast - 2011 - Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 7 (2):259-279.
    Nonindexical Context-Dependence and the Interpretation as Abduction Approach Inclusive nonindexical context-dependence occurs when the preferred interpretation of an utterance implies its lexically-derived meaning. It is argued that the corresponding processes of free or lexically mandated enrichment can be modeled as abductive inference. A form of abduction is implemented in Simple Type Theory on the basis of a notion of plausibility, which is in turn regarded a preference relation over possible worlds. Since a preordering of doxastic alternatives taken for itself only (...)
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  10. added 2018-02-10
    Assertion and Modality.Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This essay is an opinionated exploration of the constraints that modal discourse imposes on the theory of assertion. Primary focus is on the question whether modal discourse challenges the traditional view that all assertions have propositional content. This question is tackled largely with reference to discourse involving epistemic modals, although connections with other flavors of modality are noted along the way.
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  11. added 2018-01-20
    Weak and Strong Necessity Modals: On Linguistic Means of Expressing "A Primitive Concept OUGHT".Alex Silk - forthcoming - In Meaning, Decision, and Norms: Themes from the Work of Allan Gibbard.
    This paper develops an account of the meaning of `ought', and the distinction between weak necessity modals (`ought', `should') and strong necessity modals (`must', `have to'). I argue that there is nothing specially ``strong'' about strong necessity modals per se: uses of `Must p' predicate the (deontic/epistemic/etc.) necessity of the prejacent p of the actual world (evaluation world). The apparent ``weakness'' of weak necessity modals derives from their bracketing whether the necessity of the prejacent is verified in the actual world. (...)
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  12. added 2017-12-22
    Semantic with Assignment Variables.Alex Silk - manuscript
    This manuscript develops a framework for compositional semantics and begins illustrating its fruitfulness by applying it to a spectrum of core linguistic data, such as with quantifiers, attitude ascriptions, relative clauses, conditionals, and questions. The key move is to introduce variables for assignment functions into the syntax; semantic values are treated systematically in terms of sets of assignments, theoretically interpreted as representing possibilities. The framework provides an alternative to traditional ``context-index''-style frameworks descending from Kamp/Kaplan/Lewis/Stalnaker. A principal feature of the account (...)
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  13. added 2017-05-30
    Speech Acts: The Contemporary Theoretical Landscape.Daniel W. Harris, Daniel Fogal & Matt Moss - forthcoming - In Daniel Fogal, Matt Moss & Daniel Harris (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    What makes it the case that an utterance constitutes an illocutionary act of a given kind? This is the central question of speech-act theory. Answers to it—i.e., theories of speech acts—have proliferated. Our main goal in this chapter is to clarify the logical space into which these different theories fit. -/- We begin, in Section 1, by dividing theories of speech acts into five families, each distinguished from the others by its account of the key ingredients in illocutionary acts. Are (...)
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  14. added 2017-03-31
    Lying and Fiction.Emar Maier - forthcoming - In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Lying and fiction both involve the deliberate production of statements that fail to obey Grice’s first Maxim of Quality (“do not say what you believe to be false”). The question thus arises if we can provide a uniform analysis for fiction and lies. In this chapter I discuss the similarities, but also some fundamental differences between lying and fiction. I argue that there’s little hope for a satisfying account within a traditional truth conditional semantic framework. Rather than immediately moving to (...)
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  15. added 2017-03-21
    Testimony, Recovery and Plausible Deniability: A Response to Peet.Alex Davies - forthcoming - Episteme.
    According to telling based views of testimony (TBVs), B has reason to believe that p when A tells B that p because A thereby takes public responsibility for B's subsequent belief that p. Andrew Peet presents a new argument against TBVs. He argues that insofar as A uses context-sensitive expressions to express p, A doesn't take public responsibility for B's belief that p. Since context-sensitivity is widespread, the kind of reason TBVs say we have to believe what we're told, is (...)
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  16. added 2016-10-28
    Is Semantics Really Psychologically Real?Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2009 - In J. Larrazabal & L. Zubeldia (eds.), Meaning, Content and Argument. Proceedings of the ILCLI International Workshop on Semantics, Pragmatics, and Rhetoric. University of the Basque Country Press.. pp. 497-514.
    The starting point for this paper is a critical discussion of claims of psychological reality articulated within Borg’s (forth.) minimal semantics and Carpintero’s (2007) character*-semantics. It has been proposed, for independent reasons, that their respective accounts can accommodate, or at least avoid the challenge from psychological evidence. I outline their respective motivations, suggesting various shortcomings in their efforts of preserving the virtues of an uncontaminated semantics in the face of psychological objection (I-II), and try to make the case that, at (...)
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  17. added 2016-10-24
    Knowledge, Pragmatics, and Error.Dirk Kindermann - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (3):429-57.
    ‘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 (...)
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  18. added 2016-10-23
    Pretence and Echo: Towards an Integrated Account of Verbal Irony.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2014 - International Review of Pragmatics 6 (1):127–168.
    Two rival accounts of irony claim, respectively, that pretence and echo are independently sufficient to explain central cases. After highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of these accounts, I argue that an account in which both pretence and echo play an essential role better explains these cases and serves to explain peripheral cases as well. I distinguish between “weak” and “strong” hybrid theories, and advocate an “integrated strong hybrid” account in which elements of both pretence and echo are seen as complementary (...)
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  19. added 2016-10-23
    Ironic Metaphor Interpretation.Mihaela Popa - 2010 - Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics 33:1-17.
    This paper examines the mechanisms involved in the interpretation of utterances that are both metaphorical and ironical. For example, when uttering 'He's a real number-cruncher' about a total illiterate in maths, the speaker uses a metaphor with an ironic intent. I argue that in such cases both logically and psychologically, the metaphor is prior to irony. I hold that the phenomenon is then one of ironic metaphor, which puts a metaphorical meaning to ironic use, rather than an irony used metaphorically (...)
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  20. added 2016-08-29
    The Communication Desideratum and Theories of Indexical Reference.Jonas Åkerman - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (4):474–499.
    According to the communication desideratum (CD), a notion of semantic content must be adequately related to communication. In the recent debate on indexical reference, (CD) has been invoked in arguments against the view that intentions determine the semantic content of indexicals and demonstratives (intentionalism). In this paper, I argue that the interpretations of (CD) that these arguments rely on are questionable, and suggest an alternative interpretation, which is compatible with (strong) intentionalism. Moreover, I suggest an approach that combines elements of (...)
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  21. added 2016-07-18
    NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (2): Anaphora.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 2: Anaphora. Abstract: Cross-linguistic evidence shows that anaphora crucially involves context change. The logical representation system must be able to represent rank-based anaphora, because in every language the favorite anaphors -- e.g. Mandarin zeros, Kalaallisut inflections, English pronouns -- are restricted to refer to top-ranked antecedents (top-level anaphors, like Mandarin zeros or Kalaallisut inflections) or top- or 2nd-ranked antecedents (shallow anaphors, like English pronouns).
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  22. added 2016-02-26
    Indexicals and Reference‐Shifting: Towards a Pragmatic Approach.Jonas Åkerman - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):117-152.
    I propose a pragmatic approach to the kind of reference-shifting occurring in indexicals as used in e.g. written notes and answering machine messages. I proceed in two steps. First, I prepare the ground by showing that the arguments against such a pragmatic approach raised in the recent literature fail. Second, I take a first few steps towards implementing this approach, by sketching a pragmatic theory of reference-shifting, and showing how it can handle cases of the relevant kind. While the immediate (...)
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  23. added 2015-09-22
    Moral Disagreement and Moral Semantics.Justin Khoo & Joshua Knobe - 2016 - Noûs:109-143.
    When speakers utter conflicting moral sentences, it seems clear that they disagree. It has often been suggested that the fact that the speakers disagree gives us evidence for a claim about the semantics of the sentences they are uttering. Specifically, it has been suggested that the existence of the disagreement gives us reason to infer that there must be an incompatibility between the contents of these sentences. This inference then plays a key role in a now-standard argument against certain theories (...)
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  24. added 2015-06-24
    Being at the Centre: Self-Location in Thought and Language.Clas Weber - forthcoming - In M. Garcia-Carpintero & S. Torre (eds.), About Oneself: De Se Thought and Communication. Oxford University Press.
    Self-locating attitudes and assertions provide a challenge to the received view of mental and linguistic intentionality. In this paper I try to show that the best way to meet this challenge is to adopt relativistic, centred possible worlds accounts for both belief and communication. First, I argue that self-locating beliefs support a centred account of belief. Second, I argue that self-locating utterances support a complementary centred account of communication. Together, these two claims motivate a unified centred conception of belief and (...)
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  25. added 2015-05-29
    Wittgenstein as a Gricean Intentionalist.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (1):155-172.
    According to the dominant view, the later Wittgenstein identified the meaning of an expression with its use in the language and vehemently rejected any kind of mentalism or intentionalism about linguistic meaning. I argue that the dominant view is wrong. The textual evidence, which has either been misunderstood or overlooked, indicates that at least since the Blue Book Wittgenstein thought speakers' intentions determine the contents of linguistic utterances. His remarks on use are only intended to emphasize the heterogeneity of natural (...)
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  26. added 2015-05-28
    Testimony and the Epistemic Uncertainty of Interpretation.Andrew Peet - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):395-416.
    In the epistemology of testimony it is often assumed that audiences are able to reliably recover asserted contents. In the philosophy of language this claim is contentious. This paper outlines one problem concerning the recovery of asserted contents, and argues that it prevents audiences from gaining testimonial knowledge in a range of cases. The recovery problem, in essence, is simply that due to the collective epistemic limitations of the speaker and audience speakers will, in certain cases, be insensitive to the (...)
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  27. added 2014-11-03
    Relativism 1: Representational Content.Max Kölbel - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (1):38-51.
    In the pair of articles of which this is the first, I shall present a set of problems and philosophical proposals that have in recent years been associated with the term “relativism”. All these problems and proposals concern the question of how we should represent thought and speech about certain topics. The main issue here is whether we should model such mental states or linguistic acts as involving representational contents that are absolutely correct or incorrect, or whether, alternatively, their correctness (...)
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  28. added 2014-11-03
    Relativism 2: Semantic Content.Max Kölbel - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (1):52–67.
    In the pair of articles of which this is the second, I present a set of problems and philosophical proposals that have in recent years been associated with the term “relativism”. These problems are related to the question of how we should represent thought and speech about certain topics. The main issue is whether we should model such mental states or linguistic acts as involving representational contents that are absolutely correct or incorrect, or whether, alternatively, their correctness should be thought (...)
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  29. added 2014-10-28
    О Новом Философском Методе И Новой Реалистической Философии Жослина Бенуаста.Francois-Igor Pris - 2014 - Philosophy and Social Sciences (in Russian) 1:32-36.
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  30. added 2014-04-30
    Monsters and Communication: The Semantics of Contextual Shifting and Sensitivity.Brian Rabern - 2012 - Dissertation, The Australian National University
    This thesis argues for two main points concerning the philosophy of natural language semantics. Firstly, that the objects of assertion are distinct from the entities appealed to in the compositional rules of natural language semantics. Secondly, natural languages contain context-shifting operators known as "monsters". In fact, it will be shown that these theses are simply two sides of the same coin.
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  31. added 2014-04-23
    Compositionality and Sandbag Semantics.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3329-3350.
    It is a common view that radical contextualism about linguistic meaning is incompatible with a compositional explanation of linguistic comprehension. Recently, some philosophers of language have proposed theories of 'pragmatic' compositionality challenging this assumption. This paper takes a close look at a prominent proposal of this kind due to François Recanati. The objective is to give a plausible formulation of the view. The major results are threefold. First, a basic distinction that contextualists make between mandatory and optional pragmatic processes needs (...)
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  32. added 2014-03-18
    Semantic Underdetermination and the Cognitive Uses of Language.Agustín Vicente & Fernando MartínezManrique - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (5):537–558.
    According to the thesis of semantic underdetermination, most sentences of a natural language lack a definite semantic interpretation. This thesis supports an argument against the use of natural language as an instrument of thought, based on the premise that cognition requires a semantically precise and compositional instrument. In this paper we examine several ways to construe this argument, as well as possible ways out for the cognitive view of natural language in the introspectivist version defended by Carruthers. Finally, we sketch (...)
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  33. added 2014-03-07
    Metaethical Contextualism Defended.Gunnar Björnsson & Stephen Finlay - 2010 - Ethics 121 (1):7-36.
    We defend a contextualist account of deontic judgments as relativized both to (i) information and to (ii) standards or ends, against recent objections that turn on practices of moral disagreement. Kolodny & MacFarlane argue that information-relative contextualism cannot accommodate the connection between deliberation and advice; we suggest in response that they misidentify the basic concerns of deliberating agents. For pragmatic reasons, semantic assessments of normative claims sometimes are evaluations of propositions other than those asserted. Weatherson, Schroeder and others have raised (...)
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  34. added 2013-03-05
    Relative Correctness.Teresa Marques - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):361-373.
    John MacFarlane defends a radical form of truth relativism that makes the truth of assertions relative not only to contexts of utterance but also to contexts of assessment, or perspectives. Making sense of assessment-sensitive truth is a matter of making sense of the normative commitments undertaken by speakers in using assessment sensitive sentences. This paper argues against the possibility of making sense of such a practice. Evans raised a challenge to the coherence of relative truth. A modification of the challenge (...)
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  35. added 2012-10-21
    Concepts and Reality.Francois-Igor Pris - 2014 - A Short Version of This Paper Will Be Published in a Philosophical Journal of BGU, Minsk 1:32-36.
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  36. added 2012-06-16
    Contextualism, Assessor Relativism, and Insensitive Assessments.Gunnar Björnsson & Alexander Almér - 2009 - Logique Et Analyse 52 (208):363-372.
    Recently, contextualism about epistemic modals and predicates of taste have come under fire from advocates of assessment relativistic analyses. Contextualism, they have argued, fails to account for what we call "felicitous insensitive assessments". In this paper, we provide one hitherto overlooked way in which contextualists can embrace the phenomenon by slightly modifying an assumption that has remained in the background in most of the debate over contextualism and relativism. Finally, we briefly argue that the resulting contextualist account is at least (...)
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  37. added 2011-11-01
    J. L. Austin and Literal Meaning.Nat Hansen - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (4):617-632.
    Alice Crary has recently developed a radical reading of J. L. Austin's philosophy of language. The central contention of Crary's reading is that Austin gives convincing reasons to reject the idea that sentences have context-invariant literal meaning. While I am in sympathy with Crary about the continuing importance of Austin's work, and I think Crary's reading is deep and interesting, I do not think literal sentence meaning is one of Austin's targets, and the arguments that Crary attributes to Austin or (...)
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  38. added 2011-08-25
    Centered Communication.Clas Weber - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):205-223.
    According to an attractive account of belief, our beliefs have centered content. According to an attractive account of communication, we utter sentences to express our beliefs and share them with each other. However, the two accounts are in conflict. In this paper I explore the consequences of holding on to the claim that beliefs have centered content. If we do in fact express the centered content of our beliefs, the content of the belief the hearer acquires cannot in general be (...)
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  39. added 2011-05-11
    Quantification and Conversation.Chad Carmichael - 2012 - In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry S. Silverstein (eds.), Reference and Referring: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy. MIT Press. pp. 305-323.
    Relative to an ordinary context, an utterance of the sentence ‘Everything is in the car’ communicates a proposition about a restricted domain. But how does this work? One possibility is that quantifier expressions like 'everything' are context sensitive and range over different domains in different contexts. Another possibility is that quantifier expressions are not context sensitive, but have a fixed, absolutely general meaning, and ordinary utterances communicate a restricted content via Gricean mechanisms. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, the (...)
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  40. added 2010-10-02
    Towards a Radically Pragmatic Theory of If-Conditionals.Gunnar Björnsson - 2011 - In K. P. Turner (ed.), Making Semantics Pragmatic (CRiSPI, Vol. 24). Emerald.
    It is generally agreed that constructions of the form “if P, Q” are capable of conveying a number of different relations between antecedent and consequent, with pragmatics playing a central role in determining these relations. Controversy concerns what the conventional contribution of the if-clause is, how it constrains the pragmatic processes, and what those processes are. In this essay, I begin to argue that the conventional contribution of if-clauses to semantics is exhausted by the fact that these clauses introduce a (...)
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  41. added 2009-09-24
    Causal Contextualisms.Jonathan Schaffer - 2012 - In Martijn Blaauw (ed.), Contrastivism in Philosophy: New Perspectives. Routledge.
    Causal claims are context sensitive. According to the old orthodoxy (Mackie 1974, Lewis 1986, inter alia), the context sensitivity of causal claims is all due to conversational pragmatics. According to the new contextualists (Hitchcock 1996, Woodward 2003, Maslen 2004, Menzies 2004, Schaffer 2005, and Hall ms), at least some of the context sensitivity of causal claims is semantic in nature. I want to discuss the prospects for causal contextualism, by asking why causal claims are context sensitive, what they are sensitive (...)
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