Bilateralism, collapsing modalities, and the logic of assertion and denial

Theoria (forthcoming)
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Rumfitt has given two arguments that in unilateralist verificationist theories of meaning, truth collapses into correct assertibility. In the present paper I give similar arguments that show that in unilateral falsificationist theories of meaning, falsehood collapses into correct deniability. According to bilateralism, meanings are determined by assertion and denial conditions, so the question arises whether it succumbs to similar arguments. I show that this is not the case. The final section considers the question whether a principle central to Rumfitt's first argument, ‘It is assertible that if and only if it is assertible that it is assertible that ’, is one that bilateralists can reject, and concludes that they cannot. It follows that the logic of assertibility and deniability, according to a result by Williamson, is the little known modal logic K4 studied by Sobociński. The paper ends with a plaidoyer for bilateralists to adopt this logic.

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Nils Kürbis
Ruhr-Universität Bochum


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