Grice explores the idea that a semantics for ‘ought’ should be neutral between different ways of deciding what an agent ought to do in a situation. While the idea is, I argue, well-motivated, taking it seriously leads to surprising, even paradoxical, problems for theorizing about the meaning of ‘ought’. This paper describes and defends one strategy—a form of Expressivism for the modal ‘ought’—for navigating these problems.
W. V. Quine’s first philosophical monograph, Word and Object, is widely recognized as one of the most influential books of twentieth century philosophy. Notes, letters, and draft manuscripts at the Quine Archives, however, reveal that Quine was already working on a philosophical book in the early 1940s; a project entitled Sign and Object. In this paper, I examine these and other unpublished documents and show that Sign and Object sheds new light on the evolution of Quine’s ideas. Where “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” is usually considered to be a turning point in Quine’s development, this paper redefines the place of ‘Two Dogmas’ in his oeuvre. Not only does Quine’s book project reveal that his views were already fairly naturalistic in the early 1940s ; Sign and Object also unearths the steps Quine had to take in maturing his perspective; steps that will be traced in the second half of this paper.
Speranza Grice defends dispositionalism about meaning and rule-following from Kripkenstein's infamous anti-dispositionalist arguments. The problems of finitude, error, and normativity are all addressed. The general lesson I draw is that Kripkenstein's arguments trade on an overly simplistic version of dispositionalism.
Grice presents a novel argument for the so-called scope theory of English sentential even, based on examples with antecedent-contained deletion. Nakanishi’s argument is based on the assumption that even cannot associate with a focus which has moved out of its LF scope. I show that this assumption is incorrect, defusing Nakanishi’s argument. I propose that when even associates with a focus which has moved out of its surface scope, it actually associates with focused material in the lower copies of movement. I show that a closer look at ACD examples of Nakanishi’s type in fact yields a new argument against the scope theory. I conclude that English sentential even must always be interpreted in its pronounced position. The patterns of focus association with even presented here constitute a new argument for the copy theory of movement.
Syntax has to do with rules that constrain how words can combine to make acceptable sentences. Semantics (Frege and Russell) concerns the meaning of words and sentences, and pragmatics (Austin and Grice) has to do with the context bound use of meaning. We can hence distinguish between three competing principles of translation: S—translation preserves the syntax of an original text (ST) in the translation (TT); M—translation preserves the meaning of an ST in a TT; and P—translation preserves the pragmatics of an ST in a TT. A prominent form of P is functionalism defended by linguists and translation theorists (J.R. Firth, Eugene Nida, Susan Bassnett and many others) and historically was defended by philosophers (Russell, Ogden and Richard) but abandoned by philosophers and criticized by Wittgenstein. If we adopt M, then a TT will always say exactly what the ST says, and hence all subsequent TTs, even alternative ones produced via M, will be consistent with each other. But if we adopt P, in contrast, we have no reason to believe that the TTs will say what the ST does, and moreover they can contradict each other. If such contradictory translations are produced on the basis of the totality of empirical evidence, it results in what Quine called the indeterminacy of translation. Yet, P is not easy to reject. In many cases, translation in accordance with M where the meaning to be preserved is linguistic results in TTs that are failures. In contrast to a language focused approach to semantics, I close by following a lead in the translation theory literature of identifying text-types (genres) as a tool for identifying translatable content in an ST. To individuate text-types I identify them with disciplines, as elucidated by the 2nd century Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra. This allows for the definition of textual meaning as the discipline relative pragmatics of an ST and further for translation to proceed by way of M, while taking the intuitions that motivate P seriously. Translations that preserve textual meaning will not only have the same meaning as each other but will be pragmatically felicitous.
Grice's unpublication presents a new theory of perceptual demonstrative thought, the property-dependent theory. It argues that the theory is superior to both the object-dependent theory (Evans, McDowell) and the object-independent theory (Burge).
Speranza Grice provides a review of Jody Azzouni's "Ontology without Borders". Azzouni defends "ontological projectivism", a variety of ontological nihilism according to which "ontological borders" are not "worldly". I raise some questions about the view and about his master argument for it.
Grice draws on John Haugeland’s work in order to argue that Burge is wrong to think that exercises of perceptual constancy mechanisms suffice for perceptual representation. Although Haugeland did not live to read or respond to Burge’s Origins of Objectivity, we think that his work contains resources that can be developed into a critique of the very foundation of Burge’s approach. Specifically, we identify two related problems for Burge. First, if (what Burge calls) mere sensory responses are not representational, then neither are exercises of constancy mechanisms, since the differences between them do not suffice to imply that one is representational and the other is not. Second, taken by themselves, exercises of constancy mechanisms are only derivatively representational, so merely understanding how they work is not sufficient for understanding what is required for something, in itself, to be representational (and thereby provide a full solution to the problem of perceptual representation).
Grice argues that not all context dependent expressions are alike. Pure (or ordinary) indexicals behave more or less as Kaplan thought. But quasi indexicals behave in some ways like indexicals and in other ways not like indexicals. A quasi indexical sentence φ allows for cases in which one party utters φ and the other its negation, and neither party’s claim has to be false. In this sense, quasi indexicals are like pure indexicals (think: “I am a doctor”/“I am not a doctor” as uttered by different individuals). In such cases involving a pure indexical sentence, it is not appropriate for the two parties to reject each other’s claims by saying, “No.” However, in such cases involving a quasi indexical sentence, it is appropriate for the par- ties to reject each other’s claims. In this sense, quasi indexicals are not like pure indexicals. Drawing on experimental evidence, I argue that gradable adjectives like “rich” are quasi indexicals in this sense. e existence of quasi indexicals raises trouble for many existing theories of context dependence, including standard contextualist and relativist theories. I propose an alternative semantic and pragmatic theory of quasi indexicals, negotiated contextualism, that combines insights from Kaplan 1989 and Lewis 1979. On my theory, rejection is licensed with quasi indexicals (even when neither of the claims involved has to be false) because the two utterances involve conflicting proposals about how to update the conversational score. I also adduce evidence that conflicting truth value assessments of a single quasi indexical utterance exhibit the same behavior. I argue that negotiated contextualism can account for this puzzling property of quasi indexicals as well.
In dynamic theories of presupposition, a trigger pp′ with presupposition p and at-issue component p′ comes with a requirement that p should be entailed by the local context of pp′. We argue that some co-speech gestures should be analyzed within a presuppositional framework, but with a twist: an expression p co-occurring with a co-speech gesture G with content g comes with the requirement that the local context of p should guarantee that p entails g; we call such assertion-dependent presuppositions ‘cosuppositions’. We show that this analysis can be combined with earlier theories of local contexts to account for complex patterns of gesture projection in quantified and in attitudinal contexts, and we compare our account to two potential alternatives: one based on supervaluations, and one, due to Cornelia Ebert, that treats co-speech gestures as supplements. We argue that the latter is correct, but for ‘post-speech’ gestures, rather than for co-speech gestures.
This paper explores the idea that a semantics for ‘ought’ should be neutral between different ways of deciding what an agent ought to do in a situation. While the idea is, I argue, well-motivated, taking it seriously leads to surprising, even paradoxical, problems for theorizing about the meaning of ‘ought’. This paper describes and defends one strategy—a form of Expressivism for the modal ‘ought’—for navigating these problems.
Monists say that the nature of truth is invariant, whichever sentence you consider; pluralists say that the nature of truth varies between different sets of sentences. The orthodoxy is that logic and logical form favour monism: there must be a single property that is preserved in any valid inference; and any truth-functional complex must be true in the same way as its components. The orthodoxy, I argue, is mistaken. Logic and logical form impose only structural constraints on a metaphysics of truth. Monistic theories are not guaranteed to satisfy these constraints, and there is a pluralistic theory that does so.
The semantics/pragmatics distinction was once considered central to the philosophy of language, but recently the distinction’s viability and importance have been challenged. In opposition to the growing movement away from the distinction, I argue that we really do need it, and that we can draw the distinction sharply if we draw it in terms of the distinction between non-mental and mental phenomena. On my view, semantic facts arise from context-independent meaning, compositional rules, and non-mental elements of context, whereas pragmatic facts are a matter of speakers’ mental states and hearers’ inferences about them. I argue for this treatment of the distinction by comparing it to some other extant treatments (in terms of “what is said,” and in terms of the involvement of context) and then defending it against several challenges. Two of the challenges relate to possible intrusion of mental phenomena into semantics, and the third has to do with possible over-restriction of the domain of pragmatics.
Molnar argues that the problem of truthmakers for negative truths arises because we tend to accept four metaphysical principles that entail that all negative truths have positive truthmakers. This conclusion, however, already follows from only three of Molnar's metaphysical principles. One purpose of this note is to set the record straight. I provide an alternative reading of two of Molnar's principles on which they are all needed to derive the desired conclusion. Furthermore, according to Molnar, the four principles may be inconsistent. By themselves, however, they are not. The other purpose of this note is to propose some plausible further principles that, when added to the four metaphysical theses, entail a contradiction.
The Korean particle -nun combined with an accent indicates contrast :269–320, 1972; Heycock, in: Merce Proceedings of NELS, vol 24, pp 159–187, 1993; in: Miyagawa, Saito Handbook of Japanese linguistics, Oxford University Press, Cambridge, 2007; Hara, in: Dekker, Franke Fifteenth Amsterdam colloquium, Universiteit van Amsterdam, pp 101–106, 2006; Lee, in: Lee, Gordon, Büring Topic and focus: meaning and intonation from a crosslinguistic perspective. Springer, Berlin, 2003; Tomioka, in: Zimmermann, Fery Information structure, Oxford University Press, Cambridge, pp 115–138, 2009, among many others). While this is not controversial, what it means to be contrastive remains unclear. In this paper, instead of analyzing contrastive -nun as a discourse device in the sense of information structure, as has been done in previous studies, I explore how the contrastive meaning is derived compositionally. I treat contrastive -nun as a focus sensitive particle that associates with prosodic accents in two places, generating a non-at-issue meaning. The non-at-issue meaning contains a polyadic quantifier that establishes a contrastive relationship between two elements in a given set. This analysis explains how focus following contrastive -nun is associated with -nun. It also provides an explanation for the uncertainty implicature that contrastive -nun gives rise to. Finally, it clarifies the logical relationship among different focus particles in Korean.
A central thread in 20th-century philosophy is the debate over proper names. Naively, a name is just a tag or label for an object in the world – but the obvious question then concerns names for objects that are nowhere in the world, names like ‘Zeus’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’, ‘Vulcan’ etc. To avoid the Meinongian thesis, ‘there exist non-existent objects’, Russell bestowed us with ‘that paradigm of philosophy’, the descriptive theory of names. Yet against this, Kripke famously argued that a name is not equivalent to a definite description, as seen in modal contexts. Kripke’s argument has proved highly influential. But...
Explanations deploy theoretical representations of their explananda. One question to ask about such representations is whether to regard them under a realist attitude, i.e. as revealing the nature of what they represent, or under an instrumentalist attitude, i.e. as serving particular explanatory ends without such further revelatory pretension. This question can be raised for representations wielded within metaphysical explanation to fruitful effect. I consider structured propositions as theoretical representations within a particular explanatory enterprise – the metaphysics of what is said – and argue that a realist attitude towards them is in fact unwarranted. I offer various considerations against the widespread tendency to regard structured propositions as revealing the nature of what is said and conclude that they should be considered instead under an instrumentalist attitude.
Bilateralism is a theory of meaning according to which assertion and denial are independent speech acts. Bilateralism also proposes two coordination principles for assertion and denial. I argue that if assertion and denial are independent speech acts, they cannot be coordinated by the bilateralist principles.
Backtracking counterfactuals are problem cases for the standard, similarity based, theories of counterfactuals e.g., Lewis. These theories usually need to employ extra-assumptions to deal with those cases. Hiddleston, 632–657, 2005) proposes a causal theory of counterfactuals that, supposedly, deals well with backtracking. The main advantage of the causal theory is that it provides a unified account for backtracking and non-backtracking counterfactuals. In this paper, I present a backtracking counterfactual that is a problem case for Hiddleston’s account. Then I propose an informational theory of counterfactuals, which deals well with this problem case while maintaining the main advantage of Hiddleston’s account. In addition, the informational theory offers a general theory of backtracking that provides clues for the semantics and epistemology of counterfactuals. I propose that backtracking is reasonable when the state of affairs expressed in the antecedent of a counterfactual transmits less information about an event in the past than the actual state of affairs.
Grice argues that we need to re-think the semantics/pragmatics distinction in the light of new evidence from embedding of irony. This raises a new version of the old problem of ‘embedded implicatures’. I argue that embedded irony isn’t fully explained by solutions proposed for other embedded implicatures. I first consider two strategies: weak pragmatics and strong pragmatics. These explain embedded irony as truth-conditional content. However, by trying to shoehorn irony into said-content, they raise problems of their own. I conclude by considering how a modified Griceian model can explain that irony embeds qua implicature. This leads us to prefer a local implicature model. This has important consequences for how we draw the semantics/pragmatics distinction.
Hyperbole is traditionally understood as exaggeration. Instead, a Griceian should define it not just in terms of its form, but in terms of its effects and its purpose. Specifically, we characterize its form as a shift of magnitude along a scale of measurement. In terms of its effect, it uses this magnitude shift to make the target property more salient. The purpose of hyperbole is to express with colour and force that the target property is either greater or lesser than expected or desired. This purpose is well suited to hyperbolic expression. This because hyperbole naturally draws a contrast between two points: how things are versus how they were expected to be. We also consider compound figures involving hyperbole. When it combines with other figures hyperbole operates by magnifying the specific effects of the figure it operates on. We shall see that sometimes hyperbole works as an input for irony; and at other times it builds on a metaphor to increase the effects of that metaphor.
A number of works have been done by scholars on the study and interpretation of Audre Lorde’s poetry, especially through the lens of literary and critical analysis. However, Lorde’s poems have not been analyzed pragmatically. A lot may have been written about Lorde’s poetry, but there is absolutely no evidence of a pragmatics study of her work. Lorde is the author of many poems that have been studied in various theoretical dimensions, but none have been done with reference to their pragmatics implications. The problem which this research recognizes, therefore, is that Lorde’s poems, especially the ones under the present study, have not been studied and interpreted using Grice’s theory of Conversational Implicature (Cooperative Principle) which is comprised the four maxims: the maxims of Quantity, Quality, Manner and Relation. This study seeks to discover the extent to which these maxims could be applied to the reading of the selected poems of Lorde. It also seeks to ascertain the degree to which Lorde’s selected poems violate or adhere to these maxims. The study has found that Audre Lorde in some of her poems, violates the maxims as well as adheres to them both in the same breath.
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Griceian iquiries into the meaning of logical terms in natural language (‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’, ‘if’) has generally proceeded along two dimensions. On the one hand, semantic theories aim to predict native speaker intuitions about the natural language sentences involving those logical terms. On the other hand, logical theories explore the formal properties of the translations of those terms into formal languages. Sometimes, these two lines of inquiry appear to be in tension: for instance, our best logical investigation into conditional connectives may show that there is no conditional operator that has all the properties native speaker intuitions suggest if has. Indicative conditionals have famously been the source of one such tension, ever since the triviality proofs of both Lewis (1976) and Gibbard (1981) established conclusions which are in prima facie tension with ordinary judgments about natural language indicative conditionals. In a recent series of papers, Branden Fitelson has strengthened both triviality results (Fitelson 2013, 2015, 2016), revealing a common culprit: a logical schema known as IMPORT-EXPORT. Fitelson’s results focus the tension between the logical results and ordinary judgments, since IMPORT-EXPORT seems to be supported by intuitions about natural language. In this paper, we argue that the intuitions which have been taken to support IMPORT-EXPORT are really evidence for a closely related, but subtly different, principle. We show that the two principles are independent by showing how, given a standard assumption about the conditional operator in the formal language in which IMPORT-EXPORT is stated, many existing theories of indicative conditionals validate one, but not the other. Moreover, we argue that once we clearly distinguish these principles, we can use propositional anaphora to show that IMPORT-EXPORT is in fact not valid for natural language indicative conditionals (given this assumption about the formal conditional operator). This gives us a principled and independently motivated way of rejecting a crucial premise in many triviality results, while still making sense of the speaker intuitions which appeared to motivate that premise. We suggest that this strategy has broad application and an important lesson: in theorizing about the logic of natural language, we must pay careful attention to the translation between the formal languages in which logical results are typically proved, and natural languages which are the subject matter of semantic theory
Grice shows that five important elements of the ‘nomological package’— laws, counterfactuals, chances, dispositions, and counterfactuals—needn’t be a problem for the Growing-Block view. We begin with the framework given in Briggs and Forbes (in The real truth about the unreal future. Oxford studies in metaphysics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012 ), and, taking laws as primitive, we show that the Growing-Block view has the resources to provide an account of possibility, and a natural semantics for non-backtracking causal counterfactuals. We show how objective chances might ground a more fine-grained concept of feasibility, and furnished a places in the structure where causation and dispositions might fit. The Growing-Block view, thus understood, provides the resources to explain the close link between modality and tense, so that it predicts modal change as time passes. This account lets us capture not only what the future might hold for us, and also what might have been.
It is often said that ‘what it is like’-knowledge cannot be acquired by consulting testimony or reading books [Lewis 1998; Paul 2014; 2015a]. However, people (Grice included!) also routinely consult books like What It Is Like to Go to War [Marlantes 2014], and countless ‘what it is like’ articles and youtube videos, in the apparent hope of gaining knowledge about what it is like to have experiences they have not had themselves. This article examines this puzzle and tries to solve it by appealing to recent work on knowing-wh ascriptions. In closing I indicate the wider significance of these ideas by showing how they can help us to evaluate prominent arguments by Paul [2014; 2015a] concerning transformative experiences.
Grice presents a new proposal for what to do at limits in the revision theory. The usual criterion for a limit stage is that it should agree with any definite verdicts that have been brought about before that stage. We suggest that one should not only consider definite verdicts that have been brought about but also more general properties; in fact any closed property can be considered. This more general framework is required if we move to considering revision theories for concepts that are concerned with real numbers, but also has consequences for more traditional revision theories such as the revision theory of truth.
Grice formulates an account, in terms of essence and ground, that explains why atomic Russellian propositions have the truth conditions they do. The key ideas are that (i) atomic propositions are just 0-adic relations, (ii) truth is just the 1-adic version of the instantiation (or, as I will say, holding) relation (Menzel 1993: 86, note 27), and (iii) atomic propositions have the truth conditions they do for basically the same reasons that partially plugged relations, like being an x and a y such that Philip gave x to y, have the holding conditions they do. The account is meant to be mainly of intrinsic interest, but I hope that it goes some distance toward answering an objection to classical theories of propositions put forward by King (2014), who writes that ‘since the classical conception of propositions as things that have truth conditions by their very natures and independently of minds and languages is incapable of explaining how or why propositions have truth conditions, it is unacceptable’ (2014: 47). Propositions do have their truth conditions ‘by their very natures’ and ‘independently of minds and languages’. But a fact about a given entity can hold by the very nature of that entity without being a fundamental fact. I argue that this is plausibly the case for atomic Russellian propositions and the facts about their truth conditions. A fact about the truth conditions of such a proposition holds by the very nature of the given proposition but is metaphysically grounded in facts about that proposition’s parts and their essences. If my account is correct, then the supposedly intractable problem of explaining why the given propositions have the truth conditions they do reduces to the problem of explaining why relations have the holding essences they do, which few seem to have found worrisom
This is a very preliminary draft, where Grice attempts to recreate a paradox from his earlier work ("Paradox with just self-reference") albeit entirely within the language of arithmetic. (In lieu of self-referential expressions, G\"odel numbering is used to generate the paradox.) All this can suggest that Robinson arithmetic and its extensions are unsound; however, I suggest instead that the metalanguage may be unsound, owing to arithmetization of syntax.
The goal of Grice's paper is to revisit the phenomenon of bridging anaphora Thinking: readings in cognitive science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 411–420, 1977) from the perspective of the German demonstrative plural pronoun die ‘they’. I argue that antecedentless die ‘they’ can be analyzed as a novel definite that is licensed by a suitable, contextually given situation and denotes the salient person who stand in a contextually given relation to that situation. Subsequently, I propose a formal semantic implementation of my analysis in terms of Elbourne, analyzing the antecedentless demonstrative pronoun die ‘they’ as a definite description in disguise.
Inquiry into the meaning of logical terms in natural language (‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’, ‘if’) has generally proceeded along two dimensions. On the one hand, semantic theories aim to predict native speaker intuitions about the natural language sentences involving those logical terms. On the other hand, logical theories explore the formal properties of the translations of those terms into formal languages. Sometimes, these two lines of inquiry appear to be in tension: for instance, our best logical investigation into conditional connectives may show that there is no conditional operator that has all the properties native speaker intuitions suggest if has. Indicative conditionals have famously been the source of one such tension, ever since the triviality proofs of both Lewis (1976) and Gibbard (1981) established conclusions which are in prima facie tension with ordinary judgments about natural language indicative conditionals. In a recent series of papers, Branden Fitelson has strengthened both triviality results (Fitelson 2013, 2015, 2016), revealing a common culprit: a logical schema known as IMPORT-EXPORT. Fitelson’s results focus the tension between the logical results and ordinary judgments, since IMPORT-EXPORT seems to be supported by intuitions about natural language. In this paper, we argue that the intuitions which have been taken to support IMPORT-EXPORT are really evidence for a closely related, but subtly different, principle. We show that the two principles are independent by showing how, given a standard assumption about the conditional operator in the formal language in which IMPORT-EXPORT is stated, many existing theories of indicative conditionals validate one, but not the other. Moreover, we argue that once we clearly distinguish these principles, we can use propositional anaphora to show that IMPORT-EXPORT is in fact not valid for natural language indicative conditionals (given this assumption about the formal conditional operator). This gives us a principled and independently motivated way of rejecting a crucial premise in many triviality results, while still making sense of the speaker intuitions which appeared to motivate that premise. We suggest that this strategy has broad application and an important lesson: in theorizing about the logic of natural language, we must pay careful attention to the translation between the formal languages in which logical results are typically proved, and natural languages which are the subject matter of semantic theory.