Knowledge-yielding communication

Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3303-3327 (2019)
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Abstract

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 itself. It is argued that knowledge-yielding communication occurs iff interlocutors coordinate on truth values in a non-lucky and non-deviant way. This account is able to do significant explanatory work: it sheds light on the nature of referential communication, and it allows us to capture, in an informative way, the sense in which interlocutors must entertain similar propositions in order to communicate successfully.

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Andrew Peet
UmeƄ University

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