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What is Said?

Noûs 50 (4):759-793 (2016)

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  1. Lying with Presuppositions.Emanuel Viebahn - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):731-751.
    It is widely held that all lies are assertions: the traditional definition of lying entails that, in order to lie, speakers have to assert something they believe to be false. It is also widely held that assertion contrasts with presupposition and, in particular, that one cannot assert something by presupposing it. Together, these views imply that speakers cannot lie with presuppositions—a view that Andreas Stokke has recently explicitly defended. The aim of this paper is to argue that speakers can lie (...)
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  • What the Metasemantics of "Know" is Not.Peter van Elswyk - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (1):69-82.
    Epistemic contextualism in the style of Lewis (1996) maintains that ascriptions of knowledge to a subject vary in truth with the alternatives that can be eliminated by the subject’s evidence in a context. Schaffer (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2015), Schaffer and Knobe (2012), and Schaffer and Szabo ́ (2014) hold that the question under discussion or QUD always determines these alternatives in a context. This paper shows that the QUD does not perform such a role for "know" and uses this (...)
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  • Deceiving without answering.Peter Van Elswyk - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1157-1173.
    Lying is standardly distinguished from misleading according to how a disbelieved proposition is conveyed. To lie, a speaker uses a sentence to say a proposition she does not believe. A speaker merely misleads by using a sentence to somehow convey but not say a disbelieved proposition. Front-and-center to the lying/misleading distinction is a conception of what-is-said by a sentence in a context. Stokke (2016, 2018) has recently argued that the standard account of lying/misleading is explanatorily inadequate unless paired with a (...)
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  • Proposing, Pretending, and Propriety: A Response to Don Fallis.Andreas Stokke - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):178-183.
    This note responds to criticism put forth by Don Fallis of an account of lying in terms of the Stalnakerian view of assertion. According to this account, to lie is to say something one believes to be false and thereby propose that it become common ground. Fallis objects by presenting an example to show that one can lie even though one does not propose to make what one says common ground. It is argued here that this objection does not present (...)
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  • Metaphors and Martinis: A Response to Jessica Keiser.Andreas Stokke - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):853-859.
    This note responds to criticism put forth by Jessica Keiser against a theory of lying as Stalnakerian assertion. According to this account, to lie is to say something one believes to be false and thereby propose that it become common ground. Keiser objects that this view wrongly counts particular kinds of non-literal speech as instances of lying. In particular, Keiser argues that the view invariably counts metaphors and certain uses of definite descriptions as lies. It is argued here that both (...)
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  • Lying and Misleading in Discourse.Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (1):83-134.
    This essay argues that the distinction between lying and misleading while not lying is sensitive to discourse structure. It shows that whether an utterance is a lie or is merely misleading sometimes depends on the topic of conversation, represented by so-called questions under discussion. It argues that to mislead is to disrupt the pursuit of the goal of inquiry—that is, to discover how things are. Lying is seen as a special case requiring assertion of disbelieved information, where assertion is characterized (...)
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  • Fiction and Importation.Andreas Stokke - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (1):65-89.
    Importation in fictional discourse is the phenomenon by which audiences include information in the story over and above what is explicitly stated by the narrator. This paper argues that importation is distinct from generation, the phenomenon by which truth in fiction may outstrip what is made explicit, and draws a distinction between fictional truth and fictional records. The latter comprises the audience’s picture of what is true according to the narrator. The paper argues that importation into fictional records operates according (...)
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  • Tipper is Ready but He is Not Strong Enough: Minimal Proposition, Question Under Discussion, and What is Said.Charlie Siu - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2577-2584.
    A standard objection to Cappelen and Lepore’s Semantic Minimalism is that minimal propositions are explanatorily idle. But Schoubye and Stokke recently proposed that minimal proposition and the question under discussion of a conversation jointly determine what is said in a systematic and explanatory way. This note argues that their account both overgenerates and undergenerates.
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  • Utterance Content, Speaker’s Intentions and Linguistic Liability.Claudia Picazo Jaque - 2017 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 32 (3):329.
    According to contextualists, communication has to do with pragmatically adjusted content, not with conventional meaning. This pragmatic content is sometimes identified with speaker meaning or with the thought the speaker intends to express. I will argue that given the sociolinguistic role of utterance content—the fact it provides reasons for action, liabilities and entitlements—locutionary content should not be modelled as a variety of speaker meaning.
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  • Knowledge-Yielding Communication.Andrew Peet - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3303-3327.
    A satisfactory theory of linguistic communication must explain how it is that, through the interpersonal exchange of auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli, the communicative preconditions for the acquisition of testimonial knowledge regularly come to be satisfied. Without an account of knowledge-yielding communication this success condition for linguistic theorizing is left opaque, and we are left with an incomplete understanding of testimony, and communication more generally, as a source of knowledge. This paper argues that knowledge-yielding communication should be modelled on knowledge (...)
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  • Lying, Speech Acts, and Commitment.Neri Marsili - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3245-3269.
    Not every speech act can be a lie. A good definition of lying should be able to draw the right distinctions between speech acts that can be lies and speech acts that under no circumstances are lies. This paper shows that no extant account of lying is able to draw the required distinctions. It argues that a definition of lying based on the notion of ‘assertoric commitment’ can succeed where other accounts have failed. Assertoric commitment is analysed in terms of (...)
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  • Lies, Common Ground and Performative Utterances.Neri Marsili - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-12.
    In a recent book (Lying and insincerity, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
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  • The “All Lives Matter” Response: QUD-Shifting as Epistemic Injustice.Jessica Keiser - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8465-8483.
    Drawing on recent work in formal pragmatic theory, this paper shows that the manipulation of discourse structure—in particular, by way of shifting the Question Under Discussion mid-discourse—can constitute an act of epistemic injustice. I argue that the “All Lives Matter” response to the “Black Lives Matter” slogan is one such case; this response shifts the Question Under Discussion governing the overarching discourse from Do Black lives matter? to Which lives matter? This manipulation of the discourse structure systematically obscures the intended (...)
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  • Questions Under Discussion and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide.Jumbly Grindrod & Emma Borg - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):418-426.
    The ‘question under discussion’ framework is a pragmatic framework that draws on work in the semantics of questions to provide an appealing account of a range of pragmatic phenomena, including the use of prosodic focus in English and restrictions on acceptable discourse moves. More recently, however, a number of proposals have attempted to use the framework to help to settle issues at the semantics/pragmatics boundary, fixing the truth-conditions of what is said by a speaker. In this discussion piece, we suggest (...)
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  • Contexts as Shared Commitments.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
    Contemporary semantics assumes two influential notions of context: one coming from Kaplan (1989), on which contexts are sets of predetermined parameters, and another originating in Stalnaker (1978), on which contexts are sets of propositions that are “common ground”. The latter is deservedly more popular, given its flexibility in accounting for context-dependent aspects of language beyond manifest indexicals, such as epistemic modals, predicates of taste, and so on and so forth; in fact, properly dealing with demonstratives (perhaps ultimately all indexicals) requires (...)
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  • Bullshitting, Lying, and Indifference Toward Truth.Don Fallis & Andreas Stokke - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    This paper is about some of the ways in which people sometimes speak while be- ing indifferent toward what they say. We argue that what Harry Frankfurt called ‘bullshitting’ is a mode of speech marked by indifference toward inquiry, the coop- erative project of reaching truth in discourse. On this view bullshitting is character- ized by indifference toward the project of advancing inquiry by making progress on specific subinquiries, represented by so-called questions under discussion. This ac- count preserves the central (...)
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  • The Occasion-Sensitivity of Thought.Tamara Dobler - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):487-497.
    On the most common interpretation of occasion-sensitivity what varies cross-contextually is the truth-conditional content of representations. Jerry Fodor argues that when extended to mental representation this view has some problematic consequences. In this paper I outline an approach to occasion-sensitivity which circumvents Fodor’s objections but still maintains that the aspect of thought that guides deliberation and action is occasion-sensitive. On the proposed view, what varies cross-contextually are not truth conditions but rather the conditions for accepting a representation as true relative (...)
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  • Pragmatic Enrichment, Issues and Domain Goals.Tamara Dobler - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
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  • Occasion-Sensitive Semantics for Objective Predicates.Tamara Dobler - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (5):451-474.
    In this paper I propose a partition semantics for sentences containing objective predicates that takes into account the phenomenon of occasion-sensitivity associated with so-called Travis cases. The key idea is that the set of worlds in which a sentence is true has a more complex structure as a result of different ways in which it is made true. Different ways may have different capacities to support the attainment of a contextually salient domain goal. I suggest that goal-conduciveness decides whether some (...)
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  • Pragmatic Particularism.Ray Buchanan & Henry Ian Schiller - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (1):62-78.
    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 pragmatics (...)
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  • Ineliminable Underdetermination and Context-Shifting Arguments.Mark Bowker - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (2):215-236.
    ABSTRACT The truth-conditions of utterances are often underdetermined by the meaning of the sentence uttered, as suggested by the observation that the same sentence has different intuitive truth-values in different contexts. The intuitive difference is usually explained by assigning different truth-conditions to different utterances. This paper poses a problem for explanations of this kind: These truth-conditions, if they exist, are epistemically inaccessible. I suggest instead that truth-conditional underdetermination is ineliminable and these utterances have no truth-conditions. Intuitive truth-values are explained by (...)
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  • The Duality of Moral Language : On Hybrid Theories in Metaethics.Stina Björkholm - 2022 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    Moral language displays a characteristic duality. On the one hand, moral claims seem to be similar to descriptive claims: To say that an act is right seems to be a matter of making an assertion, thus indicating that the speaker has a moral belief about which she can be correct or mistaken. On the other hand, moral claims seem to be different from descriptive claims: There is a sense in which, by claiming that an act is right, a speaker indicates (...)
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  • Downplaying the Change of Subject Objection to Conceptual Engineering.Delia Belleri - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Conceptual engineering projects have been criticized for creating discontinuities of subject-matter and, as a result, discontinuities in inquiries: call this the Change of Subject objection. In this paper, I explore a way of dealing with the objection that clarifies its scope and eventually downplays it. First, two strategies aimed at saving subject-continuity are examined and found wanting: Herman Cappelen’s appeal to topics, and the account in terms of concept function. Second, the idea is introduced that one can begin an object-level (...)
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  • And Therefore.Bram Vaassen & Alex Sandgren - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This article focuses on `therefore' constructions such as ‘The switch is on, and therefore the lights are on’. We submit that the contribution of `therefore’ is to express a dependence as part of the core content of these constructions, rather than being conveyed by conventional implicature (Grice 1975, Potts 2005, Neta 2013) or a triggered presupposition (Pavese 2017, forthcoming, Stokke 2017). We argue that the standard objections to this view can be answered by relying on the general projection hypothesis defended (...)
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  • Meta-Semantic Moral Encroachment: Some Experimental Evidence.Alex Davies, Lauris Kaplinski & Maarja Lepamets - 2019 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 12:7-33.
    This paper presents experimental evidence in support of the existence of metalinguistic moral encroachment: the influence of the moral consequences of using a word with a given content upon the content of that word. The evidence collected implies that the effect of moral factors upon content is weak. For instance, by changing the moral consequences of the sentence's truth, it was possible to shift judgements about the truth of the sentence "that's a lot of cake", when used to describe two (...)
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  • Semantics for Reasons, by Bryan Weaver and Kevin Scharp. [REVIEW]Daniel Fogal & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - Ethics.
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