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Alex Davies [16]Alexander Davies [1]
  1. Communicating in contextual ignorance.Alex Davies - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12385-12405.
    When A utters a declarative sentence in a context to B, typically A can mean a proposition by the sentence, the sentence in context literally expresses a proposition, there are propositions A and B can agree the sentence literally expressed, and B can acquire knowledge from this testimonial exchange. In recent work on linguistic communication, each of these four platitudes has been challenged, and on the same basis: viz. on the ground that exactly which proposition the sentence expressed in context (...)
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  2. Identity display: another motive for metalinguistic disagreement.Alexander Davies - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):861-882.
    ABSTRACT It has become standard to conceive of metalinguistic disagreement as motivated by a form of negotiation, aimed at reaching consensus because of the practical consequences of using a word with one content rather than another. This paper presents an alternative motive for expressing and pursuing metalinguistic disagreement. In using words with given criteria, we betray our location amongst social categories or groups. Because of this, metalinguistic disagreement can be used as a stage upon which to perform a social identity. (...)
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  3. Testimonial Knowledge and Context-Sensitivity: a New Diagnosis of the Threat.Alex Davies - 2019 - Acta Analytica 34 (1):53-69.
    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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  4. A (contingent) content–parthood analysis of indirect speech reports.Alex Davies - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (4):533-553.
    This article presents a semantic analysis of indirect speech reports. The analysis aims to explain a combination of two phenomena. First, there are true utterances of sentences of the form α said that φ which are used to report an utterance u of a sentence wherein φ's content is not u's content. This implies that in uttering a single sentence, one can say several things. Second, when the complements of these reports (and indeed, these reports themselves) are placed in conjunctions, (...)
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  5. Science Communication, Cultural Cognition, and the Pull of Epistemic Paternalism.Alex Davies - 2022 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (1):65-78.
    There is a correlation between positions taken on some scientific questions and political leaning. One way to explain this correlation is the cultural cognition hypothesis (CCH): people's political leanings are causing them to process evidence to maintain fixed answers to the questions, rather than to seek the truth. Another way is the different background belief hypothesis (DBBH): people of different political leanings have different background beliefs which rationalize different positions on these scientific questions. In this article, I argue for two (...)
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  6. Metacontexts and Cross-Contextual Communication: Stabilizing the Content of Documents Across Contexts.Alex Davies - 2024 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (2):482-503.
    Context-sensitive expressions appear ill suited to the purpose of sharing content across contexts. Yet we regularly use them to that end (in regulations, textbooks, memos, guidelines, laws, minutes, etc.). This paper describes the utility of the concept of a metacontext for understanding cross-contextual content-sharing with context-sensitive expressions. A metacontext is the context of a group of contexts: an infrastructure that can channel non-linguistic incentives on content ascription so as to homogenize the content ascribed to context-sensitive expressions in each context in (...)
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  7. Testimony, recovery and plausible deniability: A response to Peet.Alex Davies - 2019 - Episteme 16 (1):18-38.
    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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  8. Communicating by doing something else.Alex Davies - 2018 - In Tamara Dobler & John Collins (eds.), The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought, and Perception. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 135-154.
    It's sometimes thought that context-invariant linguistic meaning must be a character (a function from context types to contents) i.e. that linguistic meaning must determine how the content of an expression is fixed in context. This is thought because if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character then communication would not be possible. In this paper, I explain how communication could proceed even if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character.
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  9. Infallibilism and Easy Counter-Examples.Alex Davies - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (4):475-499.
    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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  10.  85
    Definiteness in English and Estonian: same pragmatic principles, different syntaxes (Määravus inglise ja eesti keeles: samad pragmaatilised põhimõtted, erinevad süntaksid).Alex Davies - 2023 - In Bruno Mölder & Jaan Kangilaski (eds.), Keel, vaim, tunnetus. Analüütilise filosoofia seminar 30+. Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus. pp. 59-83.
    Estonian doesn't have a definite article. Instead, bare singular noun phrases can unambiguously bear either a definite interpretation or an indefinite interpretation. This paper argues that the pragmatic principles governing the felicitous use of three English articles ("a", "the" and "another"), described by A Grønn and KJ Sæbø (2012, 'A, the, another: A game of same and different' Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21, 75-95) can also account for the conditions under which a bare singular noun phrase in Estonian (...)
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  11. Sharing Content Online: the Effects of Likes and Comments on Linguistic Interpretation.Alex Davies - forthcoming - In Patrick Connolly, Sandy Goldberg & Jennifer Saul (eds.), Conversations Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Bystander information is information about others’ attitudes towards a text (i.e. about whether they agree or disagree with it). Social media platforms force bystander information upon us when we read posts thereon. What effect does this have on how we respond to what we read? The dominant view in the literature is that it changes our minds (the so-called “bandwagon effect”). Simplifying a little: if we see that most people agree (disagree) with what a post says, we are more likely (...)
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  12. Elaboration and intuitions of disagreement.Alex Davies - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):861-875.
    Mark Richard argues for truth-relativism about claims made using gradable adjectives. He argues that truth-relativism is the best explanation of two kinds of linguistic data, which I call: true cross-contextual reports and infelicitous denials of conflict. Richard claims that such data are generated by an example that he discusses at length. However, the consensus is that these linguistic data are illusory because they vanish when elaborations are added to examples of the same kind as Richard’s original. In this paper I (...)
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  13. A Liberal Anti-Porn Feminism?Alex Davies - 2018 - Social Theory and Practice 44 (1):21-48.
    In the 1980s and 1990s, a series of attempts were made to put into U.S. law a civil rights ordinance that would make it possible to sue the makers and distributors of pornography for doing so (under certain conditions). One defence of such legislation has come to be called "the free speech argument against pornography." Philosophers Rae Langton, Jennifer Hornsby and Caroline West have supposed that this defence of the legislation can function as a liberal defence of the legislation: in (...)
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  14. Entailments are Cancellable.Alex Davies - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):288-304.
    Several philosophers have recently claimed that if a proposition is cancellable from an uttered sentence then that proposition is not entailed by that uttered sentence. The claim should be a familiar one. It has become a standard device in the philosopher's tool-kit. I argue that this claim is false. There is a kind of entailment—which I call “modal entailment”—that is context-sensitive and, because of this, cancellable. So cancellability does not show that a proposition is not entailed by an uttered sentence. (...)
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  15. Using "not tasty" at the dinner table.Alex Davies - 2017 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 24 (3).
    John MacFarlane argues against objectivism about “tasty”/”not tasty” in the following way. If objectivism were true then, given that speakers use “tasty”/”not tasty” in accordance with a rule, TP, speakers would be using an evidently unreliable method to form judgements and make claims about what is tasty. Since this is implausible, objectivism must be false. In this paper, I describe a context in which speakers deviate from TP. I argue that MacFarlane's argument against objectivism fails when applied to uses of (...)
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  16. No-Platforming, Liberalism, and Students (an interview with Robert Simpson).Alex Davies & Robert Mark Simpson - 2018
    This is the English (and extended version) of an interview originally published in Estonian in October 2018. In the interview, Simpson summarizes a particular way of defending the practice of no-platforming. The varying appeal of different defences of the practice in different socio-historical contexts (i.e. the UK/US versus a post-Soviet country such as Estonia) is discussed also.
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  17. A Purpose for Context Sensitivity.Alex Davies - 2012 - Dissertation, King’s College London
    This thesis has two parts. In Part I there is an argument for the conclusion that a linguistic phenomenon known as (radical) context-sensitivity is to be expected given the limitations of those who use language to reason about empirical states of affairs. The phenomenon arises as a consequence of a process that must be performed to use language to reason validly. In Part II it is explained why the phenomenon, understood in light of the discussion of Part I, does not (...)
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