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  1. Disagreement Lost.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2020 - Synthese (1-2):1-34.
    This paper develops a puzzle about non-merely-verbal disputes. At first sight, it would seem that a dispute over the truth of an utterance is not merely verbal only if there is a proposition that the parties to the dispute take the utterance under dispute to express, which one of the parties accepts and the other rejects. Yet, as I argue, it is extremely rare for ordinary disputes over an utterance’s truth to satisfy this condition, in which case non-merely verbal disputes (...)
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  • Ought-Contextualism and Reasoning.Darren Bradley - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2977-2999.
    What does logic tells us how about we ought to reason? If P entails Q, and I believe P, should I believe Q? I will argue that we should embed the issue in an independently motivated contextualist semantics for ‘ought’, with parameters for a standard and set of propositions. With the contextualist machinery in hand, we can defend a strong principle expressing how agents ought to reason while accommodating conflicting intuitions. I then show how our judgments about blame and guidance (...)
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  • Contextualism Vs. Relativism: More Empirical Data.Markus Kneer - manuscript
    Contextualism is the view that the extension of perspectival claims (involving e.g. predicates of personal taste or epistemic modals) depends on the context of utterance. Relativism is the view that the extension of perspectival claims depends on the context of assessment. Both views make concrete, empirically testable predictions about how such claims are used by ordinary English language speakers. This chapter surveys some of the recent empirical literature on the topic and presents four new experiments (total N=724). Consistent with contextualism (...)
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  • Hybrid Dispositionalism and the Law.Teresa Marques - 2019 - In Kevin Toh, David Plunkett & Scott Shapiro (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Dworkin’s famous argument from legal disagreements poses a problem for legal positivism by undermining the idea that the law can be (just) the result of the practice and attitudes of norm-applying officials. In recent work, the chapter author argued that a hybrid contextualist theory paired with a dispositional theory of value—a hybrid dispositionalism, for short—offers the resources to respond to similar disagreement- based arguments in other evaluative and normative domains. This chapter claims that the theory the author advocates can extend (...)
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  • Good Guesses.Kevin Dorst & Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper is about guessing: how people respond to a question when they aren’t certain of the answer. Guesses show surprising and systematic patterns that the most obvious theories don’t explain. We argue that these patterns reveal that people aim to optimize a tradeoff between accuracy and informativity when forming their guess. After spelling out our theory, we use it to argue that guessing plays a central role in our cognitive lives. In particular, our account of guessing yields new theories (...)
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  • Why Metaethics Needs Empirical Moral Psychology.Jeroen Hopster & Michael Klenk - 2020 - Critica 52 (155).
    What is the significance of empirical moral psychology for metaethics? In this article we take up Michael Ruse’s evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism and reassess it in the context of the empirical state of the art. Ruse’s argument depends on the phenomenological presumption that people generally experience morality as objective. We demonstrate how recent experimental findings challenge this widely-shared armchair presumption and conclude that Ruse’s argument fails. We situate this finding in the recent debate about Carnapian explication and argue (...)
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  • Communication and Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):147-169.
    According to standard assumptions in semantics, ordinary users of a language have implicit beliefs about the truth-conditions of sentences in that language, and they often agree on those beliefs. For example, it is assumed that if Anna and John are both competent users of English and the former utters ‘grass is green’ in conversation with the latter, they will both believe that that sentence is true if and only if grass is green. These assumptions play an important role in an (...)
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  • Knowledge, Belief, and Egocentric Bias.Paul Dimmock - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3409-3432.
    Changes in conversationally salient error possibilities, and/or changes in stakes, appear to generate shifts in our judgments regarding the correct application of ‘know’. One prominent response to these shifts is to argue that they arise due to shifts in belief and do not pose a problem for traditional semantic or metaphysical accounts of knowledge. Such doxastic proposals face familiar difficulties with cases where knowledge is ascribed to subjects in different practical or conversational situations from the speaker. Jennifer Nagel has recently (...)
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  • Disagreement with a Bald‐Faced Liar.Teresa Marques - 2020 - Ratio 33 (4):255-268.
    How can we disagree with a bald-faced liar? Can we actively disagree if it is common ground that the speaker has no intent to deceive? And why do we disapprove of bald-faced liars so strongly? Bald-faced lies pose problems for accounts of lying and of assertion. Recent proposals try to defuse those problems by arguing that bald-faced lies are not really assertions, but rather performances of fiction-like scripts, or different types of language games. In this paper, I raise two objections (...)
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  • Disagreeing About Who We Are.Sebastian Köhler - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2):185-208.
    ABSTRACTOne argument that has been suggested for conventionalism about personal identity is that it captures that certain disagreements about personal identity seem irresolvable, without being committed to the view that these disagreements are merely verbal. In this paper, I will take the considerations about disagreement used to motivate conventionalism seriously. However, I will use them to motivate a very different, novel, and as yet unexplored view about personal identity. This is the view that personal identity is a non-representational concept, the (...)
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  • Folk Platitudes as the Explananda of Philosophical Metaethics: Are They Accurate? And Do They Help or Hinder Inquiry?Hagop Sarkissian - 2017 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3):565-575.
    The field of metaethics, the branch of moral philosophy that examines the nature and status of morality, is rich in theoretical diversity. Nonetheless, a majority of professional philosophers embrace a subset of theories that affirm the existence of objective moral facts. I suggest that this may be related to the very method that philosophers use to construct metaethical theories. This method involves analyzing how ordinary people think and argue about morality. Analysis of ordinary moral discourse is meant to reveal common (...)
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  • Illocutionary Force and Attitude Mode in Normative Disputes.Teresa Marques - 2021 - Metaphilosophy (3-4):1-17.
    In this paper, I assess recent Stalnakerian views of communication in moral and normative domains. These views model context updates with normative claims. They also aim to explain how people disagree when they follow different norms or values. I present four problems for these Stalnakerian views. I conclude that the problems require a new conception of how common ground relates to illocutionary force and attitude mode, which is still lacking.
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  • The Relativistic Car: Applying Metaethics to the Debate About Self-Driving Vehicles.Thomas Pölzler - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (3):833-850.
    Almost all participants in the debate about the ethics of accidents with self-driving cars have so far assumed moral universalism. However, universalism may be philosophically more controversial than is commonly thought, and may lead to undesirable results in terms of non-moral consequences and feasibility. There thus seems to be a need to also start considering what I refer to as the “relativistic car” — a car that is programmed under the assumption that what is morally right, wrong, good, bad, etc. (...)
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  • Moral Discourse Boosts Confidence in Moral Judgments.Nora Heinzelmann, Benedikt Höltgen & Viet Tran - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34.
    The so-called “conciliatory” norm in epistemology and meta-ethics requires that an agent, upon encountering peer disagreement with her judgment, lower her confidence about that judgment. But whether agents actually abide by this norm is unclear. Although confidence is excessively researched in the empirical sciences, possible effects of disagreement on confidence have been understudied. Here, we target this lacuna, reporting a study that measured confidence about moral beliefs before and after exposure to moral discourse about a controversial issue. Our findings indicate (...)
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  • Moral Relativism, Metalinguistic Negotiation, and the Epistemic Significance of Disagreement.Katharina Anna Sodoma - 2021 - Erkenntnis 1:1-21.
    Although moral relativists often appeal to cases of apparent moral disagreement between members of different communities to motivate their view, accounting for these exchanges as evincing genuine disagreements constitutes a challenge to the coherence of moral relativism. While many moral relativists acknowledge this problem, attempts to solve it so far have been wanting. In response, moral relativists either give up the claim that there can be moral disagreement between members of different communities or end up with a view on which (...)
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  • The Liar Without Relativism.Poppy Mankowitz - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    Some in the recent literature have claimed that a connection exists between the Liar paradox and semantic relativism: the view that the truth values of certain occurrences of sentences depend on the contexts at which they are assessed. Sagi :913–928, 2017) argues that contextualist accounts of the Liar paradox are committed to relativism, and Rudnicki and Łukowski propose a new account that they classify as relativist. I argue that a full understanding of how relativism is conceived within theories of natural (...)
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  • Subjective Disagreement.Beddor Bob - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):819-851.
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  • Essentially Practical Questions.Brendan Balcerak Jackson - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (1):1-26.
    Questions are known to play a crucial role in helping to structure linguistic communication. I argue that paying attention to questions is also necessary for understanding disagreement, and in particular for distinguishing between genuine and merely verbal disagreements. I argue, moreover, that some of the questions that play this role are essentially practical questions, questions about what to do. Such questions can remain open even after questions about what is the case have been settled. Essentially practical questions help structure discourse (...)
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  • How to Do Things with Modals.Matthew Mandelkern - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (1):115-138.
    Mind &Language, Volume 35, Issue 1, Page 115-138, February 2020.
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  • The Epistemic Account of Faultless Disagreement.Xingming Hu - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2613-2630.
    There seem to be cases where A believes p, and B believes not-p, but neither makes a mistake. This is known as faultless disagreement. According to the epistemic account, in at least some cases of faultless disagreement either A or B must believe something false, and the disagreement is faultless in the sense that each follows the epistemic norm. Recently, philosophers have raised various objections to this account. In this paper, I propose a new version of the epistemic account and (...)
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  • Moral Steadfastness and Meta-Ethics.James Fritz & Tristram McPherson - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (1):43-56.
    Call the following claim Asymmetry: rationality often requires a more steadfast response to pure moral disagreement than it does to otherwise analogous non-moral disagreement. This paper briefly motivates Asymmetry and explores its implications for meta-ethics. Some philosophers have thought that anti-realists are better-placed than realists to explain Asymmetry because, if anti-realism is true, disagreement cannot provide evidence against the reliability of one's thinking about objective moral facts. This paper argues that this simple diagnosis fails to support otherwise plausible anti-realisms. It (...)
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  • The Impossibility of a Bayesian Liberal?William Bosworth & Brad Taylor - forthcoming - Journal of Politics.
    Aumann’s theorem states that no individual should agree to disagree under a range of assumptions. Political liberalism appears to presuppose these assumptions with the idealized conditions of public reason. We argue Aumann’s theorem demonstrates they nevertheless cannot be simultaneously held with what is arguably political liberalism’s most central tenet. That is, the tenet of reasonable pluralism, which implies we can rationally agree to disagree over conceptions of the good. We finish by elaborating a way of relaxing one of the theorem’s (...)
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  • Contextualism in Ethics.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    There are various ways in which context matters in ethics. Most clearly, the context in which an action is performed might determine whether the action is morally right: though it is often wrong not to keep a promise, it might be permissible in certain contexts. More radically, proponents of moral particularism (see particularism) have argued that a reason for an action in one context is not guaranteed to be a reason in a different context: whether it is a reason against (...)
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  • The Empirical Case for Folk Indexical Moral Relativism.James R. Beebe - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy 4.
    Recent empirical work on folk moral objectivism has attempted to examine the extent to which folk morality presumes that moral judgments are objectively true or false. Some researchers report findings that they take to indicate folk commitment to objectivism (Goodwin & Darley, 2008, 2010, 2012; Nichols & Folds-Bennett, 2003; Wainryb et al., 2004), while others report findings that may reveal a more variable commitment to objectivism (Beebe, 2014; Beebe et al., 2015; Beebe & Sackris, 2016; Sarkissian, et al., 2011; Wright, (...)
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  • Metalinguistic Negotiation and Speaker Error.David Plunkett & Tim Sundell - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):142-167.
    In recent work, we have argued that a number of disputes of interest to philosophers – including some disputes amongst philosophers themselves – are metalinguistic negotiations. Prima facie, many of these disputes seem to concern worldly, non-linguistic issues directly. However, on our view, they in fact concern, in the first instance, normative questions about the use of linguistic expressions. This will strike many ordinary speakers as counterintuitive. In many of the disputes that we analyze as metalinguistic negotiations, speakers might quite (...)
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  • What Might but Must Not Be.Stephen Finlay & Benjamin Lennertz - 2021 - Analysis 80 (4):647-656.
    We examine an objection to analysing the epistemic ‘might’ and ‘may’ as existential quantifiers over possibilities. Some claims that a proposition “might” be the case appear felicitous although, according to the quantifier analysis, they are necessarily false, since there are no possibilities in which the proposition is true. We explain such cases pragmatically, relying on the fact that ‘might’-sentences are standardly used to convey that the speaker takes a proposition as a serious option in reasoning. Our account explains why it (...)
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  • Experimental Moral Philosophy.Mark Alfano & Don Loeb - 2014 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Experimental moral philosophy began to emerge as a methodology inthe last decade of the twentieth century, a branch of the largerexperimental philosophy approach. From the beginning,it has been embroiled in controversy on a number of fronts. Somedoubt that it is philosophy at all. Others acknowledge that it isphilosophy but think that it has produced modest results at best andconfusion at worst. Still others think it represents an important advance., Before the research program can be evaluated, we should have someconception of (...)
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  • A Direction Effect on Taste Predicates.Alexander Dinges & Julia Zakkou - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (27):1-22.
    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 (...)
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  • Disagreement Lost and Found.Stephen Finlay - 2017 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 12. Oxford University Press. pp. 187-205.
    According to content-relativist theories of moral language, different speakers use the same moral sentences to say different things. Content-relativism faces a well-known problem of lost disagreement. Recently, numerous content-relativists (including the author) have proposed to solve this problem by appeal to various kinds of non-content-based, or broadly pragmatic, disagreement. This presents content-relativists with a new problem—of found agreement. Which (if any) of these newly identified kinds of conflict is correctly identified as the lost moral disagreement we were looking for? This (...)
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  • Quasi-Expressivism About Statements of Law: A Hartian Theory.Stephen Finlay & David Plunkett - forthcoming - In John Gardner, Leslie Green & Brian Leiter (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law, vol. 3. Oxford University Press.
    Speech and thought about what the law is commonly function in practical ways, to guide or assess behavior. These functions have often been seen as problematic for legal positivism in the tradition of H.L.A. Hart. One recent response is to advance an expressivist analysis of legal statements (Toh), which faces its own, familiar problems. This paper advances a rival, positivist-friendly account of legal statements which we call “quasi-expressivist”, explicitly modeled after Finlay’s metaethical theory of moral statements. This consists in a (...)
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  • Semantic Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2018 - Dissertation, New York University
    This dissertation argues for Semantic Variance, the thesis that nearly every utterance is such that there is no proposition that more than one languge user takes to be that utterance's truth-conditional content. I argue that Semantic Variance is problematic for standard theories concerning the nature of communication, the epistemic significance of ordinary disputes, the semantics of speech reports, and the nature of linguistic competence. In response to the problems arising from the truth of Semantic Variance, I develop new accounts of (...)
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  • Quasi Indexicals.Justin Khoo - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):26-53.
    I argue that not all context dependent expressions are alike. Pure (or ordinary) indexicals behave more or less as Kaplan thought. But quasi indexicals behave in some ways like indexicals and in other ways not like indexicals. A quasi indexical sentence φ allows for cases in which one party utters φ and the other its negation, and neither party’s claim has to be false. In this sense, quasi indexicals are like pure indexicals (think: “I am a doctor”/“I am not a (...)
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  • ‘Ought’-Contextualism Beyond the Parochial.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):3099-3119.
    Despite increasing prominence, ‘ought’-contextualism is regarded with suspicion by most metaethicists. As I’ll argue, however, contextualism is a very weak claim, that every metaethicist can sign up to. The real controversy concerns how contextualism is developed. I then draw an oft-overlooked distinction between “parochial” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are those that the speaker, or others in her environment, subscribe to—and “aspirational” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are the objective standards for the relevant domain. However, I argue that neither view (...)
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  • Disagreement as Interpersonal Incoherence.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (2):245-268.
    In a narrow sense of ‘disagreement,’ you and I disagree iff we believe inconsistent propositions. But there are numerous cases not covered by this definition that seem to constitute disagreements in a wider sense: disagreements about what to do, disagreements in attitude, disagreements in credence, etc. This wider sense of disagreement plays an important role in metaethics and epistemology. But what is it to disagree in the wider sense? On the view I’ll defend, roughly, you and I disagree in the (...)
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  • Experimental Moral Philosophy.Mark Alfano, Don Loeb & Alex Plakias - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-32.
    Experimental moral philosophy emerged as a methodology in the last decade of the twentieth century, as a branch of the larger experimental philosophy (X-Phi) approach. Experimental moral philosophy is the empirical study of moral intuitions, judgments, and behaviors. Like other forms of experimental philosophy, it involves gathering data using experimental methods and using these data to substantiate, undermine, or revise philosophical theories. In this case, the theories in question concern the nature of moral reasoning and judgment; the extent and sources (...)
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