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Matthew Shields
University College Dublin
  1.  30
    On Stipulation.Matthew Shields - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    When we carry out a speech act of stipulation, it seems that we can shape our language however we see fit. This autonomy, however, also seems to make such acts arbitrary: it is unclear if there are any constraints on what counts as a "correct" or "incorrect" stipulation. In this paper, I offer a novel, detailed account of the pragmatics of stipulation and explain its crucial role in conceptual analysis and articulation. My account shows that stipulation does indeed equip us (...)
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  2.  81
    On the Pragmatics of Deep Disagreement.Matthew Shields - 2018 - Topoi:1-17.
    In this paper, I present two tools that help shed light on deep disagreements and their epistemological consequences. First, I argue that we are best off construing deep disagreements as disagreements over conflicting understandings of certain concepts. More specifically, I suggest that deep disagreements are disagreements over how to understand concepts that play what Michael Friedman calls a “constitutive” role for speakers. Second, I argue that we need a better understanding of what speakers are doing when they engage in deep (...)
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  3.  54
    Conceptual Change in Perspective.Matthew Shields - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (9-10):930-958.
    I argue that Sarah Sawyer's and Herman Cappelen's recent accounts of how speakers talk and think about the same concept or topic even when their understandings of that concept or topic substantially diverge risk multiplying our metasemantic categories unnecessarily and fail to prove explanatory. When we look more closely at our actual practices of samesaying, we find that speakers with seemingly incompatible formulations of a subject matter take one another to samesay when they are attempting to arrive at a correct (...)
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  4.  24
    Conceptual Change and Future Paths for Pragmatism.Matthew Shields - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):405-434.
    The pragmatist faces the challenge of accounting for the possibility of rational conceptual change. Some pragmatists have tried to meet this challenge by appealing to Neurathian imagery—imagery that risks being too figurative to be helpful. I argue that we can develop a clearer view of what rationally constrained conceptual revision looks like for the pragmatist. I do so by examining the work of the pragmatist who in recent years has addressed this issue most directly, Richard Rorty. His attempts to solve (...)
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  5.  73
    Conceptual Domination.Matthew Shields - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Implicit in much of the recent literature on conceptual engineering and conceptual ethics is the assumption that when speakers argue that we should talk or think about a concept in a specific way, they are doing so as inquirers – as speakers who are invested in arriving at the correct or best view of this concept. In this paper I question that assumption and argue that philosophers have been too quick to project idealized versions of themselves into the contexts of (...)
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  6.  25
    Philosophical Speech Acts.Matthew Shields - 2020 - Philosophy 95 (4):497-521.
    The prevailing view among contemporary analytic philosophers seems to be that, as philosophers, we primarily issue assertions. Following certain suggestions from the work of Rudolf Carnap and Sally Haslanger, I argue that the non-assertoric speech act of stipulation plays a key role in philosophical inquiry. I give a detailed account of the pragmatic structure of stipulations and argue that they are best analyzed as generating a shared inferential entitlement for speaker and audience, a license to censure those who give uptake (...)
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