The Grice Club


The Grice Club

The club for all those whose members have no (other) club.

Is Grice the greatest philosopher that ever lived?

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Griceiana galore

J. L. Speranza

New items in the club's areas of interest. Enjoy and comment so we start independent threads!

Aug 29th 2011 GMT
DIRECT SUBMISSIONJamin Asay (forthcoming). Truthmaking, Metaethics, and Creeping Minimalism. Philosophical Studies. (Direct link)
Creeping minimalism threatens to cloud the distinction between realist and anti-realist metaethical views. When anti-realist views equip themselves with minimalist theories of truth and other semantic notions, they are able to take on more and more of the doctrines of realism (such as the existence of moral truths, facts, and beliefs). But then they start to look suspiciously like realist views. I suggest that creeping minimalism is a problem only if moral realism is understood primarily as a semantic doctrine. I argue that moral realism is better understood instead as a metaphysical doctrine. As a result, we can usefully regiment the metaethical debate into one about moral truthmakers: in virtue of what are moral judgments true? I show how the notion of truthmaking has been simmering just below the surface of the metaethical debate, and how it reveals one metaethical view (quasi-realism) to be a stronger contender than the others.

Aug 28th 2011 GMT
J. Biro (forthcoming). What is 'That'? Analysis:-. (Direct link)
Davidson's paratactic account of indirect speech exploits the fact that ‘that’ can be either a demonstrative pronoun or a subordinating conjunction. Davidson thinks that the fact that it is plausible to think that it inherited the latter function from the former lends support to his account. However, in other languages the two functions are performed by unrelated words, which makes the account impossible to apply to them. I argue that this shows that, rather than revealing the underlying form of indirect reports, the account reflects only a quirk of English.

Aug 27th 2011 GMT
Ralph Wedgwood, Objective and Subjective 'Ought'. (Direct link)
Over the years, several philosophers have argued that deontic modals, like ‘ought’ and ‘should’ in English, and their closest equivalents in other languages, are systematically polysemous and context-sensitive. Specifically, one way in which these ‘ought’-concepts differ from each other is that some of these concepts are more “objective”, while others are more “subjective” or “information-relative”: when ‘ought’ expresses one of these more objective concepts, what an agent “ought” to do in a given situation may be determined by facts that neither the agent nor any of his friends and advisers either knows or is even in a position to know; when it expresses one of the more “subjective” concepts, what an agent “ought” to do is in some way more sensitive to the informational state that the agent (or his friends and advisers) find themselves in at the conversationally salient time. This essay first presents some linguistic evidence in favour of this view of ‘ought’, and then proposes a precise account of the truth-conditions of propositions involving these ‘ought’-concepts that will explain more clearly how exactly these concepts are related.

J. Beall (forthcoming). Dialetheists Against Pinocchio. Analysis:-. (Direct link)
This paper argues that, contrary to P. Eldridge-Smith, the so-called Pinocchio paradox affords no argument against ‘simply semantic dialetheism’.

Aug 26th 2011 GMT
DIRECT SUBMISSIONOfra Magidor (forthcoming). Strict Finitism and the Happy Sorites. Journal of Philosophical Logic. (Direct link)
Call an argument a ‘happy sorites’ if it is a sorites argument with true premises and a false conclusion. It is a striking fact that although most philosophers working on the sorites paradox find it at prima facie highly compelling that the premises of the sorites paradox are true and its conclusion false, few (if any) of the standard theories on the issue ultimately allow for happy sorites arguments. There is one philosophical view, however, that appears to allow for at least some happy sorites arguments: strict finitism in the philosophy of mathematics. My aim in this paper is to explore to what extent this appearance is accurate. As we shall see, this question is far from trivial. In particular, I will discuss two arguments that threaten to show that strict finitism cannot consistently accept happy sorites arguments, but I will argue that (given reasonable assumptions on strict finitistic logic) these arguments can ultimately be avoided, and the view can indeed allow for happy sorites arguments.

Aug 25th 2011 GMT
DIRECT SUBMISSIONClas Weber, Centered Communication. (Direct link)
According to an attractive account of belief, our beliefs have centered content. According to an attractive account of communication, we utter sentences to express our beliefs and share them with each other. However, the two accounts are in conflict. We have to either change our understanding of belief or modify our theory of communication. In this paper, I explore the consequences of holding on to the claim that beliefs have centered content. If we do in fact express the centered content of our beliefs, the content of the belief the hearer acquires cannot in general be identical to the content the speaker expresses. I sketch an alternative account of communication, the Recentering model, that accepts this consequence and explains how the expressed and the acquired content are related.

Aug 24th 2011 GMT
Ernest Lepore & Barry Loewer (2011). Meaning, Mind, and Matter: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. (Direct link | £27.55 new £29.95 used £33.25 direct from Amazon Amazon page)
Ernie Lepore and Barry Loewer present a series of papers in which they come to terms with three views that have loomed large in philosophy for several decades: ...

Aug 23rd 2011 GMT
Kent Bach, Saying, Meaning, and Implicating. (Direct link)
A speaker can say something without meaning it, by meaning something else or perhaps nothing at all. A speaker can mean something without saying it, by merely implicating it. These two truisms are reason enough to distinguish saying, meaning, and implicating. And that’s what we’ll do here, looking into what each involves and how they interconnect. The aim of this chapter is to clarify the notions of saying, meaning, and implicating and, with the help of some other distinctions, to dispel certain common misunderstandings.

Kent Bach, Context Dependence (Such as It Is). (Direct link)
All sorts of things are context-dependent in one way or another. What it is appropriate to wear, to give, or to reveal depends on the context. Whether or not it is all right to lie, harm, or even kill depends on the context. If you google the phrase ‘depends on the context’, you’ll get several hundred million results. This chapter aims to narrow that down. In this context the topic is context dependence in language and its use. It is commonly observed that the same sentence can be used to convey different things in different contexts. That is why people complain when something they say is ‘taken out of context’ and insist that it be ‘put into context’, because ‘context makes it clear’ what they meant. Indeed, it is practically a platitude that what a speaker means in uttering a certain sentence, as well as how her audience understands her, ‘depends on the context’. But just what does that amount to, and to what extent is it true?

Kent Bach, Meaning and Communication. (Direct link)
Words mean things, speakers mean things in using words, and these need not be the same. For example, if you say to someone who has just finished eating a super giant burrito at the Taqueria Guadalajara, “You are what you eat,” you probably do not mean that the person is a super giant burrito. So we need to distinguish the meaning of a linguistic expression – a word, phrase, or sentence – from what a person means in using it. To simplify matters, let us pretend that an utterance is always of a sentence (and, for mnemonic purposes, let our imagined s peaker be a s he and h earer be a h e).

Aug 22nd 2011 GMT
Nathan Salmon (forthcoming). Recurrence. Philosophical Studies:-. (Direct link)
Standard compositionality is the doctrine that the semantic content of a compound expression is a function of the semantic contents of the contentful component expressions. In 1954 Hilary Putnam proposed that standard compositionality be replaced by a stricter version according to which even sentences that are synonymously isomorphic (in the sense of Alonzo Church) are not strictly synonymous unless they have the same logical form. On Putnam’s proposal, the semantic content of a compound expression is a function of: (i) the contentful component expressions; and (ii) the expression’s logical form. Kit Fine recently expanded and modified Putnam’s idea into a sweeping theory in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. The present paper is a detailed critique of Fine’s “semantic relationism.” Fine’s notion of coordination is explained in terms of the familiar pragmatic phenomenon of recognition. A serious error in Fine’s formal disproof of standard Millianism is exposed. It is demonstrated furthermore that Church’s original criticism of Putnam’s proposal can be extended to Fine’s semantic relationism. Finally, it is also demonstrated that the positive position Fine proffers to supplant standard Millianism is in fact exactly equivalent to standard Millianism, so that Fine’s overall position not only does not displace standard Millianism but is in fact inconsistent.

AndráS. KertéSz (forthcoming). The 'Galilean Style in Science' and the Inconsistency of Linguistic Theorising. Foundations of Science. (Direct link)
Abstract Chomsky’s principle of epistemological tolerance says that in theoretical linguistics contradictions between the data and the hypotheses may be temporarily tolerated in order to protect the explanatory power of the theory. The paper raises the following problem: What kinds of contradictions may be tolerated between the data and the hypotheses in theoretical linguistics? First a model of paraconsistent logic is introduced which differentiates between week and strong contradiction. As a second step, a case study is carried out which exemplifies that the principle of epistemological tolerance may be interpreted as the tolerance of week contradiction. The third step of the argumentation focuses on another case study which exemplifies that the principle of epistemological tolerance must not be interpreted as the tolerance of strong contradiction. The reason for the latter insight is the unreliability and the uncertainty of introspective data. From this finding the author draws the conclusion that it is the integration of different data types that may lead to the improvement of current theoretical linguistics and that the integration of different data types requires a novel methodology which, for the time being, is not available. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-18 DOI 10.1007/s10699-011-9234-y Authors András Kertész, Department of German Linguistics, University of Debrecen, Pf. 47, 4010 Debrecen, Hungary Journal Foundations of Science Online ISSN 1572-8471 Print ISSN 1233-1821.