The Grice Club

Welcome

The Grice Club

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

Is Grice the greatest philosopher that ever lived?

Search This Blog

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Disimplicature

Speranza

The purpose of this Grice's unpublication is to argue that not all instances of expressive language suffer alike from the problem of descriptive ineffability. Descriptive ineffability refers to the problem that speakers are never fully satisfied when they are asked to paraphrase sentences containing expressive terms such as ‘damn’ using only descriptive terms. It is commonly assumed that descriptive ineffability is an important feature of all kinds of expressive language – derogatory language just as commendatory or valorizing language. However, Grice finds that majoratives, i.e. the positive counterpart to negative expressives (pejoratives), do not exhibit the characteristic of descriptive ineffability. This finding is important both to clarify what kind of data competing theories of expressives have to explain and to shed further light on the wider phenomenon of ineffability.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice's unpublication is an opinionated exploration of the constraints that modal discourse imposes on the theory of assertion. Primary focus is on the question whether modal discourse challenges the traditional view that all assertions have propositional content. This question is tackled largely with reference to discourse involving epistemic modals, although connections with other flavors of modality are noted along the way.

Disimplicature

Speranza

There is an emerging skepticism about the existence of testimonial knowledge-how (Hawley (2010)1, Poston (2016), Carter and Pritchard (2015a)). 

This is unsurprising for Grice since a number of influential approaches to knowledge-how struggle to accommodate testimonial knowledge how. Nonetheless, this scepticism is misguided. This paper establishes that there are cases of easy testimonial knowledge-how. It is structured as follows: First, a case is presented in which an agent acquires knowledge-how simply by accepting a speaker’s testimony. Second, it is argued that this knowledge-how is genuinely testimonial. Next, Poston’s (2016) arguments against easy testimonial knowledge-how are considered and rejected. The implications of the argument differ for intellectualists and anti-intellectualists about knowledge-how. The intellectualist must reject widespread assumptions about the communicative preconditions for the acquisition of testimonial knowledge. The Anti-intellectualist must find a way of accommodating the dependence of knowledge-how on speaker reliability. It is not clear how this can be done.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Perhaps we need a good review article (15,000 words) of Putnam's Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity, (Harvard, 2016).

Disimplicature

Speranza

Semantic paradoxes like the liar are notorious challenges to truth theories -- Grice loved them, since he thought he was "very paradoxical at heart."

A paradox can be phrased with minimal resources and minimal assumptions. It is not surprising, then, that the liar is also a challenge to minimalism about truth. Horwich deals swiftly with the paradox, after discriminating between other strategies for avoiding it without compromising minimalism. He dismisses the denial of classical logic, the denial that the concept of truth can coherently be applied to propositions, and the denial that the liar sentence expresses a proposition, but he endorses the denial that the liar is an acceptable instance of the equivalence schema. This paper has two main parts. It first shows that Horwich’s preferred denial is also problematic. As Simmons, Beall and Armour-Garb, and Asay argued, the solution is ad hoc, faces a possible loss of expressibility, and is ultimately unstable. Finally, the paper explores a different combination of possibilities for minimalism: treating the truth-predicate as context-dependent, rejecting the notion that the liar expresses a proposition, and reinterpreting negation in some contexts as metalinguistic denial. The paper argues that these are preferable options, but signposts possible dangers ahead.

Disimplicature

Speranza

In Between Logic and the World, Bernhard Nickel distinguishes two tasks in understanding generics. 

And he thinks he is Griceian, or a Griceian, strictly.

The first task is to give a compositional semantics—ideally, one that coheres with independent theories of semantic phenomena like plurality and conjunction. Between Logic and the World undoubtedly makes a substantial contribution to this task. Nickel argues that his proposed semantics allows us to understand logically complex generics as well as generics containing gradable terms. The second task is to give a theory of metaphysical genericity. Nickel explains this with an analogy. Just as there is a metaphysical phenomenon underlying the meaning of modals—modality—there is one underlying the meaning of generics—genericity. Just as a semantic theory of modals and a metaphysical theory of modality will constrain and illuminate each other, so too will a semantic theory of generics and a metaphysical theory of genericity.Nickel’s ability to thoughtfully connect issues...

Disimplicature

Speranza

Propositions are posited to perform a variety of explanatory roles. 

Grice avoided them like the rats, and preferred to speak of 'propositional complexes,' instead.

One important role is being what is designated by a dedicated linguistic expression like a that-clause. In this paper, the case that propositions are needed for such a role is bolstered by defending that there are other expressions dedicated to designating propositions. In particular, it is shown that natural language has anaphors for propositions. Complement so and the response markers yes and no are argued to be such expressions

Disimplicature

Speranza

The debate about the nature of knowledge-how is standardly thought to be divided between intellectualist views, which take knowledge-how to be a kind of propositional knowledge, and anti-intellectualist views, which take knowledge-how to be a kind of ability. In this paper, I explore a compromise position—the interrogative capacity view—which claims that knowing how to do something is a certain kind of ability to generate answers to the question of how to do it. This view combines the intellectualist thesis that knowledge-how is a relation to a set of propositions with the anti-intellectualist thesis that knowledge-how is a kind of ability. I argue that this view combines the positive features of both intellectualism and anti-intellectualism.

Grice knew this because he knew how to deal with Ryle!

Disimplicature

Speranza

According to traditional logical expressivism, logical operators allow speakers to explicitly endorse claims that are already implicitly endorsed in their discursive practice — endorsed in virtue of that practice’s having instituted certain logical relations. 

By traditional expressivism I mean Grice.

But Grice proposes a different version of logical expressivism, according to which the expressive role of logical operators is explained without invoking logical relations at all, but instead in terms of the expression of discursive-practical attitudes. In defense of this alternative, Grice presents a deflationary account of the expressive role of vocabulary by which we ascribe logical relations.

Disimplicature

Speranza

In §93 of The Principles of Mathematics, Bertrand Russell observes that “the variable is a very complicated logical entity, by no means easy to analyze correctly”. 

Grice found that funny!

Russell's assessment is borne out by the fact that even now we have no fully satisfactory understanding of the role of variables in a compositional semantics for first-order logic. In standard Tarskian semantics, variables are treated as meaning-bearing entities; moreover, they serve as the basic building blocks of all meanings, which are constructed out of variable assignments. But this has disquieting consequences, including Fine’s antinomy of the variable and an undue dependence of meanings on language. Here I develop an alternative, Fregean version of predicate logic that uses the traditional quantifier–variable apparatus for the expression of generality, possesses a fully compositional, non-representational semantics, and is not subject to the antinomy of the variable. 

The advantages of Fregean over Tarskian predicate logic are due to the former’s treating variables not as meaningful lexical items, but as mere marks of punctuation, similar to parentheses. I submit that this is indeed how the variables of predicate logic should be construed.

Disimplicature

Speranza

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. 

Grice begins 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.

Disimplicature

Speranza

It is often said that ‘what it is like’-knowledge cannot be acquired by consulting testimony or reading books [Lewis 1998; Paul 2014; 2015a]. 

Or dictionaries! ("I don't care what the dictionary says!" -- Grice)


However, people 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. 

Grice examines this puzzle and tries to solve it by appealing to recent work on knowing-wh ascriptions. 

In closing Grice indicates the wider significance of these ideas by showing how they can help us to evaluate prominent arguments by Paul [2014; 2015a] concerning transformative experiences.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice presents a 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. 

Grice suggests 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.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Disimplicature

Speranza

On the standard view for something to exist is for one thing to exist: in slogan form, to be is to be countable, at least for Grice.

E.J. Lowe argues something can exist without being countable as one, however. His primary example is homogenous “stuff,” i.e., qualitatively uniform and infinitely divisible matter. Lacking nonarbitrary boundaries and being everywhere the same, homogenous stuff lacks a principle of individuation that would yield countably distinct constituents. So, for Lowe, homogenous stuff is strongly uncountable. Olson rejects Lowe’s view and defends the orthodox connection between existence and number. He argues that if there is any stuff, there is a number of portions of stuff. Sider also rejects a stuff ontology, claiming it is incompatible with his preferred view that the familiar quantifiers of predicate logic carve at nature’s joints. Against these arguments, I defend the uncountability of stuff and the possibility of existence without countability. If to be is to be countable, more is needed than the arguments that Olson and Sider provide.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Mandarin, Grice knew, focus particles systematically have heterogeneous uses. By examining details of two focus particles jiu ‘only’ and dou ‘even’, this paper explores the hypothesis that varieties of alternatives give rise to systematic ‘ambiguities’. Specifically, by positing sum-based alternative sets and atom-based ones, it maintains unambiguous semantics of jiu as onlyweak and dou as even, while deriving their variability through interaction with alternatives. Independently motivated analyses of distributive/collective readings and contrastive topics, combined with varieties of alternatives, deliver the full range of facts concerning jiu and dou. Theoretically, the paper illustrates an integration of Link, Landman’s theory of pluralites into Rooth’s alternative semantics.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Alethic pluralism holds that there are many truth properties. The view has been challenged, even by Grice, to make sense of the notion of logical validity, understood as necessary truth preservation, when inferences involving different areas of discourse are concerned. I argue that the solution proposed by Edwards to solve the analogous problem of mixed compounds can straightforwardly be adapted to give alethic pluralists also a viable account of validity.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Alethic pluralism holds, for Grice, that there are many truth properties. The view has been challenged to make sense of the notion of logical validity, understood as necessary truth preservation, when inferences involving different areas of discourse are concerned. I argue that the solution proposed by Edwards to solve the analogous problem of mixed compounds can straightforwardly be adapted to give alethic pluralists also a viable account of validity.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Alethic pluralism holds, for Grice, that there are many truth properties. The view has been challenged to make sense of the notion of logical validity, understood as necessary truth preservation, when inferences involving different areas of discourse are concerned. I argue that the solution proposed by Edwards to solve the analogous problem of mixed compounds can straightforwardly be adapted to give alethic pluralists also a viable account of validity.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The challenge for alethic pluralists to maintain a standard, truth-functional account of the logical operators has received some attention, especially  by Grice. In this paper, I consider a related but more fundamental challenge, to maintain a compositional account of the logical operators, which has received much less attention. I argue that, given natural assumptions, pluralists cannot answer this challenge.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Recent work in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2010a; Clark 2010b; Palermos 2014) can help to explain why, alla Grice, certain kinds of assertions—made on the basis of information stored in our gadgets rather than in biological memory—are properly criticisable in light of misleading implicatures, while others are not.


Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice's essay clarifies quantifier variance and uses it to provide a theory of indefinite extensibility that I call the variance theory of indefinite extensibility. The indefinite extensibility response to the set-theoretic paradoxes sees each argument for paradox as a demonstration that we have come to a different and more expansive understanding of ‘all sets’. But indefinite extensibility is philosophically puzzling: extant accounts are either metasemantically suspect in requiring mysterious mechanisms of domain expansion, or metaphysically suspect in requiring nonstandard assumptions about mathematical objects. Happily, the view of quantifier meanings that underwrites quantifier variance can be used to provide an account of indefinite extensibility that is both metasemantically and metaphysically satisfying. Section 1 introduces the puzzle of indefinite extensibility; section 2 develops and clarifies the metasemantics of quantifier variance; section 3 solves section 1's puzzle of indefinite extensibility by applying section 2's account of quantifier meanings; and section 4 compares the theory developed in section 3 to several other theories in the literature.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice's unpublication is concerned with how a simple metalanguage might coevolve with a simple descriptive base language in the context of interacting Skyrms–Lewis signaling games Lewis. We will first consider a metagame that evolves to track the successful and unsuccessful use of a coevolving base language, then we will consider a metagame that evolves a truth predicate for expressions in a coevolving base language. We will see how a metagame that tracks truth provides an endogenous way to break the symmetry between indicative and imperative interpretations of the base language. Finally, we will consider how composite signaling games provide a way to characterize alternative pragmatic notions of truth.



Disimplicature

Speranza

Scott Soames has recently argued, alla Grice, that the fact that lawmakers and other legal practitioners regard vagueness as having a valuable power-delegating function gives us good reason to favor one theory of vagueness over another. If Soames is right, then facts about legal practice can in an important sense adjudicate between rival theories of vagueness. I argue that due to what I call the “Gappiness Problem” – raised by recent critics of the “communicative-content theory of law” – we have to give up the one premise of Soames’s argument that he seems to take to be uncontroversial: that the legal content of a statute or constitutional clause is identical with, or constituted by, its communicative content. I provide a sketch of my own account of legal content and show how it provides a response to the Gappiness Problem. This account, however, does not suffice to vindicate Soames’s argument. I conclude by arguing that my point about Soames’s argument is generalizable.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Philosophical accounts of scientific explanation are broadly divided, alla Grice, into ontic and epistemic views. This paper explores the idea that the lexical ambiguity of the verb to explain and its nominalisation supports an ontic conception of explanation. I analyse one argument which challenges this strategy by criticising the claim that explanatory talk is lexically ambiguous, 375–394, 2012). I propose that the linguistic mechanism of transfer of meaning, 109–132, 1995) provides a better account of the lexical alternations that figure in the systematic polysemy of explanatory talk, and evaluate the implications of this proposal for the debate between ontic and epistemic conceptions of scientific explanation.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The psychological study of reasoning with quantifiers has predominantly focused on inference patterns studied by Aristotle about two millennia ago. Modern logic has shown a wealth of inference patterns involving quantifiers that are far beyond the expressive power of Aristotelian syllogisms, and whose psychology should be explored. We bring to light a novel class of fallacious inference patterns, some of which are so attractive that they are tantamount to cognitive illusions. In tandem with recent insights from linguistics that quantifiers like “some” are treated as wh-questions, these illusory inferences are predicted by the erotetic theory of reasoning, which postulates that a process akin to question asking and answering is behind human inference making.

Disimplicature

Speranza

It is argued that although George Bealer's influential ‘Self-Consciousness argument’ refutes, alla Grice, standard versions of reductive functionalism (RF), it fails to generalize in the way Bealer supposes. To wit, he presupposes that any version of RF must take the content of ‘pain’ to be the property of being in pain (and so on), which is expressly rejected in independently motivated versions of conceptual role semantics (CRS). Accordingly, there are independently motivated versions of RF, incorporating CRS, which avoid Bealer's main type of refutation. I focus particularly on one such theory, which takes concepts to be event types that are individuated by their psychological roles, which has the resources of responding to each of the more specific worries Bealer expresses.

Disimplicature

Speranza

What do you know when you know what a sentence means? 

Does Grice know?

According to some theories, understanding a sentence is, in part, knowing its truth-conditions. Dorit Bar-On, Claire Horisk, and William Lycan have defended such theories on the grounds of an “epistemic determination argument”. That argument turns on the ideas that understanding a sentence, along with knowledge of the non-linguistic facts, suffices to know its truth-value, and that being able to determine a sentence’s truth-value given knowledge of the non-linguistic facts is knowing its truth-conditions. I argue that the EDA withstands the objections recently raised by Daniel Cohnitz and Jaan Kangilaski, but fails for other reasons. It equivocates between a fine-grained and a coarse grained conception of “facts.”.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice presents a set of experiments investigating how English- and Japanese-speaking children interpret Measure Phrase comparatives. We show that despite overt cues to the comparative interpretation, children representing both languages diverge from their adult counterparts in that they access a non-adult-like ‘absolute measurement’ interpretation. We propose to account for their response pattern by appealing to proposals by Svenonius and Kennedy and Sawada and Grano that Meas in the head of the DegP, which houses the differential, selects for an absolute minimal value: zero. We argue that young children appeal to this absolute zero minimum in lieu of the correct derived standard, and must learn to override this value by appealing to the context to set the standard of comparison when interpretation requires them to do so.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice proposes a semantics for a class of English predicates characteristically associated with possibility. The central idea is that such predicates are typically associated with an ordering source, and that differences among them are due to differences in their ordering sources. The ‘dispositional predicates’ that have been central to philosophical discussions are shown to be derivable as a special case from this more general class.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice proposes a novel hybrid metanormative theory. According to this theory, speakers making normative claims express both cognitive and motivational attitudes in virtue of the constitutive norms of the particular speech acts they perform. This view has four principal virtues: it is consistent with traditional semantic theories, it supports a form of motivational judgment internalism that does justice to externalist intuitions, it illuminates the connection between normative language and normative thought, and it explains how speakers can express different conative states when speaking in different normative domains. In the first section, I discuss the theories of Stephen Finlay and David Copp. I show that they each come very close to having it both ways but ultimately fail. Understanding the shortcomings of these views is instrumental to a clear presentation of my own Hybrid Speech Act theory in section two. In the final section, I demonstrate how my view achieves its four advantages.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Since Fodor 1970, negation alla Grice has worn a Homogeneity Condition to the effect that homogeneous predicates, ) denote homogeneously—all or nothing —to characterize the meaning of – when uttered out-of-the blue, in contrast to –:The mirrors are smooth. The mirrors are not smooth. The mirrors circle the telescope’s reflector. The mirrors do not circle the telescope’s reflector. It has been a problem for philosophical logic and for the semantics of natural language that – appear to defy the Principle of Excluded Middle while – do not—Smooth ¬Smooth Circle ¬Circle. An impoverished logical form – has been the occasion to embellish all else—Boolean algebra, lexical presuppositions, Strongest Meaning Hypothesis, trivalence, supervaluation, double strengthening, etc., enriching the semantics and pragmatics with what remains a special theory of negation, which may be dismissed when the logical syntax and semantics of negation reflects that negated sentences are also tensed sentences.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Cappelen and Dever have recently defended the view, alla Grice, that indexicals are not essential: They do not signify anything philosophically deep and we do not need indexicals for any important philosophical work. This paper contests their view from the point of view of an account of intentional agency. It argues that we need indexicals essentially when accounting for what it is do something intentionally and, as a consequence, intentional action, and defends a view of intentional action as a possible conclusion of practical reasoning where the indexical is essential for the content of such a conclusion.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice investigates the claim that truth is a relational property. What does this claim really mean? What is its import?—Is it a basic feature of the concept of truth; or a distinctive feature of the correspondence theory of truth; or even both? After introducing some general ideas about truth, I begin by highlighting an ambiguity in current uses of the term ‘relational property’ in the truth debate, and show that we need to distinguish two separate ideas: that truth is a relational property, and that truth is an extrinsic property. I go on to examine what both of these ideas are in more detail, and consider what would need to hold for truth to be in either of these categories. I then discern where all the main competitors in the truth debate stand on these issues. In doing so we learn more about these views and what they entail, and build a general picture of what stances different theories of truth take on whether truth is extrinsic or relational. Moreover, in doing this we will be able to answer one of the questions with which we began: whether truth’s being extrinsic or relational is something that, if accepted, lends support to the correspondence theory of truth. We will see that this is not so, and discern some interesting variations between various theories of truth on the issues of whether truth is extrinsic or relational. Following this we will be in a better position to judge whether the notions of extrinsicality or relationality are basic features of the concept of truth. In the final part of the paper I argue that, even if we are not in a position to conclude that they are basic features, they are features that any prospective theory of truth needs to take seriously.

Disimplicature

Speranza

It has been claimed that pragmatic effects that arise in embedded clauses pose a problem for the Gricean reasoning procedure. 

It may be maintained, however, that the real issue these phenomena raise for Grice, as he himself acknowledged, is their violation of his saying/implicating distinction. 


While these effects can be accounted for by Gricean reasoning, which Mandy Simons clearly demonstrates, there is no way round this latter problem other than a major revision of Grice’s notion of ‘saying’ and hence of the saying/implicating distinction.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The pragmatic framework developed by H.P. Grice in “Logic and Conversation” explains how a speaker can mean something more than, or different from, the conventional meaning of the sentence she utters. But it has been argued that the framework cannot give a similar explanation for cases where these pragmatic effects impact the understood content of an embedded clause, such as the antecedent of a conditional, a clausal disjunct, or the clausal complement of a verb. In this paper, I show that such an explanation is available. One of the central arguments of the paper is that in a significant subset of cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of a global pragmatic requirement. In these cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of ‘acting locally’ to resolve a potential global pragmatic violation. These cases do not require us to posit application of pragmatic principles to the contents of embedded clauses. The account does, though,...

Disimplicature

Speranza

Renewed worries of the Griceian kind about the unity of the proposition have been taken as a crucial stumbling block for any traditional conception of propositions. These worries are often framed in terms of how entities independent of mind and language can have truth conditions: why is the proposition that Desdemona loves Cassio true if and only if she loves him? I argue that the best understanding of these worries shows that they should be solved by our theory of truth and not our theory of content. Specifically, I propose a version of the redundancy theory according to which ‘it is true that Desdemona loves Cassio’ expresses the same proposition as ‘Desdemona loves Cassio’. Surprisingly, this variant of the redundancy theory treats ‘is true’ as an ordinary predicate of the language, thereby defusing many standard criticisms of the redundancy theory.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice discusses a phenomenon we call perspectival plurality, which has gone largely unnoticed in the current debate between relativism and contextualism about predicates of personal taste. According to perspectival plurality, the truth value of a sentence containing more than one PPT may depend on more than one perspective. Prima facie, the phenomenon engenders a problem for relativism and can be shaped into an argument in favor of contextualism. We explore the consequences of perspectival plurality in depth and assess several possible responses on behalf of advocates of relativism.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice's focus is is on the early Wittgenstein's conception of truth: the Disquotational Schema is shown to be derivable from the semantic and ontological principles of the picture theory. Then, the article scrutinises the way the Disquotational Schema provides the basis for what the later Wittgenstein takes as a philosophically appropriate description of the practice of making assertions. The general abstract notion of truth makes room for a situated notion of warranted assertibility as the key-notion. Last, the issue of how Wright's Argument from Informational Neutrality could be neutralised from the later Wittgenstein's viewpoint is dealt with.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice's article analyzes the foreign language teaching approaches in the studying process of social and cultural sciences such as social philosophy, political science, cultural studies, psychology, sociology, history and others that possess a number of units and structural elements of the social and humanitarian sciences; The article defines the importance of facing to the cultural and geocultural values during the foreign languages studying and reveals its significance. Each of the above sciences studies the specific features of geoculture which can extend our knowledge by the means of foreign language on the one hand and to master the foreign language with the help of the mentioned subjects from the other hand.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice's argues that deflationism is incompatible with the phenomenon of referential indeterminacy. This puts the deflationist in the difficult position of having to deny the possibility of what otherwise seems like a manifest and theoretically important phenomenon. Section 1 provides background on deflationism. Section 2 considers an intuitive argument by Stephen Leeds to the effect that deflationism precludes RI; the essay argues that this argument does not succeed. The rest of the essay presents its own, distinct argument for the incompatibility of deflationism and RI. Section 3 argues that direct RI—RI that is not simply a derivative of some other, nonreferential instance of indeterminacy—is strictly incompatible with deflationism. Section 4 considers a couple of different ways the deflationist might try to achieve indirect RI—via indeterminate identity and indeterminate synonymy—and argues that each is unsatisfactory.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Mandarin, as Grice knew, focus particles systematically have heterogeneous uses. By examining details of two focus particles jiu ‘only’ and dou ‘even’, this paper explores the hypothesis that varieties of alternatives give rise to systematic ‘ambiguities’. Specifically, by positing sum-based alternative sets and atom-based ones, it maintains unambiguous semantics of jiu as onlyweak and dou as even, while deriving their variability through interaction with alternatives. Independently motivated analyses of distributive/collective readings and contrastive topics, combined with varieties of alternatives, deliver the full range of facts concerning jiu and dou. Theoretically, the paper illustrates an integration of Link, Landman’s theory of pluralites into Rooth’s alternative semantics.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice develops a contextualist account of certain recalcitrant embedding phenomena with epistemic modals. I focus on three prominent objections to contextualism from embedding: first, that contextualism mischaracterizes subjects’ states of mind; second, that contextualism fails to predict how epistemic modals are obligatorily linked to the subject in attitude ascriptions; and third, that contextualism fails to explain the persisting anomalousness of so-called “epistemic contradictions” in suppositional contexts. Contextualists have inadequately appreciated the force of these objections. Drawing on a more general framework for implementing a contextualist theory, I argue that we can derive the distinctive embedding behavior of epistemic modals from a particular contextualist interpretation of a standard semantics for modals, general mechanisms of local interpretation, and typical features of discourse contexts. Examining embedding phenomena with epistemic modals raises difficult broader issues about conventionalization and pragmatic reasoning, the varieties of context-sensitive language, and the roles of context in interpretation. The paper concludes by briefly examining how the proposed contextualist account compares with certain relativist/expressivist accounts.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Frege’s remarks about the first-person pronoun in Der Gedanke, that Grice adored, have elicited numerous commentaries, but his insight has not been fully appreciated or developed. Commentators have overlooked Frege’s reasons for claiming that there are two distinct first-person senses, and failed to realize that his remarks easily generalize to all indexicals. I present a perspectival theory of indexicals inspired by Frege’s claim that all indexical types have a dual meaning which, in turn, leads to a duality of senses expressed by indexical tokens. Keywords : Indexicals; First Person; Perspective; Senses La doppia natura degli indessicali: una posizione fregeana Riassunto : Le osservazioni di Frege sul pronome di prima persona contenute in Der Gedanke hanno sollevato numerosi commenti, ma le sue intuizioni non sono state pienamente comprese o sviluppate. I commentatori di Frege hanno trascurato le ragioni per le quali egli sosteneva che ci sono due distinti sensi della prima persona e non hanno colto come queste sue osservazioni possono essere facilmente estese a tutti gli indessicali. Intendo presentare qui una posizione prospettivista sugli indessicali, ispirata dall’affermazione di Frege per cui tutti i tipi di indessicali hanno un doppio significato che, a sua volta, porta a una doppia natura dei sensi espressi dalle occorrenze indessicali. Parole chiave : Indessicali; Prima persona; Prospettiva; Sensi.

Disimplicature

Speranza

For Grice, the open-ended character of natural languages calls for the hypothesis that humans are endowed with a recursive procedure generating sentences which are hierarchically organized. 

Structural relations such as c-command, expressed on hierarchical sentential representations, determine all sorts of formal and interpretive properties of sentences. The relevant computational principles are well beyond the reach of conscious introspection, so that studying such properties requires the formulation of precise formal hypotheses, and empirically testing them. This article illustrates all these aspects of linguistic research through the discussion of non-coreference effects. The article argues in favor of the formal linguistic approach based on hierarchical structures, and against alternatives based on vague notions of “analogical generalization”, and/or exploiting mere linear order. In the final part, the issue of cross-linguistic invariance and variation of non-coreference effects is addressed. Keywords: Linguistic Knowledge; Morphosyntactic Properties; Unconscious Computations; Coreference; Linguistic Representations Conoscenza linguistica e computazioni inconsce Riassunto: Il carattere aperto del linguaggio naturale avvalora l’ipotesi che gli esseri umani siano dotati di una procedura ricorsiva che genera frasi gerarchicamente organizzate. Relazioni strutturali come il c-comando, espresse su rappresentazioni frasali gerarchiche, determinano tutte le proprietà formali e interpretative delle frasi. I principi computazionali rilevanti sono totalmente al di fuori della portata della coscienza introspettiva e così lo studio di tali proprietà richiede la formulazione di precise ipotesi formali e la loro verifica sperimentale. Questo articolo illustra tutti questi aspetti della ricerca linguistica, esaminando gli effetti di non-coreferenza. Si argomenta in favore dell’approccio linguistico formale basato su strutture gerarchiche e contro alternative basate su vaghe nozioni di “generalizzazione analogica” e/o che impiegano il semplice ordine lineare. Nella parte finale si affronta il tema dell’invarianza e della variazione cross-linguistica degli effetti di non-coreferenza. Parole chiave: Conoscenza linguistica; Proprietà morfosintattiche; Computazioni inconsce; Coreferenzialità; Rappresentazioni linguistiche.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Griceian participants attempted to solve a modified version of Wason's selection task. 

Variables were: sizes of the sets referenced by a specified assertion, form of the assertion, thematic content of the assertion, and the need for sampling or not. In Experiment 1, participants were given enough information to determine the truth or falsity of the specified assertion with certainty; in Experiment 2, they had to rely on sampling and could not determine the assertion's truth or falsity with certainty. Performance was better in Experiment 1 than in Experiment 2, but in both cases much better than what is typically obtained with the conventional selection task. The results support the hypothesis that performance of the selection task is sensitive to the sizes of the sets involved, add credence to the conclusion that framing the task in a thematically meaningful way can facilitate performance, and demonstr...

Disimplicature

Speranza

Though it is often claimed, even by Grice, that some general terms are rigid designators, it has turned out to be difficult to give a satisfying definition that avoids making all general terms rigid, and even if a non-rigid reading is available, makes that non-rigid reading matter. Several authors have attempted to develop examples that meet the trivialization challenge, with Martí and Martínez-Fernández providing what is, perhaps, the most convincing strategy. I show that the type of example Martí and Martínez-Fernández offer nevertheless fails to meet the trivialization challenge and, accordingly, that we should still have serious doubts about whether continuing the search for a non-trivial definition of general term rigidity would be fruitful.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Why do utterances of counterfactual conditionals typically, but not universally, convey the message that their antecedents are false? 

Should Grice worry?

I demonstrate that two common theoretical commitments–commitment to the existence of scalar implicature and of informative presupposition—can be supplemented with an independently motivated theory of the presuppositions of competing conditional alternatives to jointly predict this information when and only when it appears. The view works best if indicative and counterfactual conditionals have a closely related semantics, so I conclude by undermining two familiar arguments for a nonunified semantics of indicative and counterfactual conditionals.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice considers the problem of reflective knowledge faced by views that treat sensitivity as a necessary condition for knowledge, or as a major ingredient of the concept, as in the analysis I advance in Scepticism and Reliable Belief. I present the problem as concerning the correct analysis of SATs — beliefs to the effect that one of my current beliefs is true. I suggest that a plausible analysis of SATs should treat them as neither true nor false when they ascribe truth to a non-existent belief. I argue that the problem is inescapable if we construe SATs as ascribing the property of truth to a belief. Deflationism manages to avoid the problem of reflective knowledge, but it does so by violating alethic priority — the principle that our account of representation must be built on our account of truth. I argue that we can avoid the problem of reflective knowledge while preserving alethic priority with a pragmatist account of truth — according to which truth is explicated in terms of the rules that govern the practice of assessing judgments and related items as true or false.

Disimplicature

Speranza

It is argued that although George Bealer's influential ‘Self-Consciousness argument’ refutes standard versions of reductive functionalism (RF), it fails to generalize in the way Bealer, alla Grice, supposes. To wit, he presupposes that any version of RF must take the content of ‘pain’ to be the property of being in pain (and so on), which is expressly rejected in independently motivated versions of conceptual role semantics (CRS). Accordingly, there are independently motivated versions of RF, incorporating CRS, which avoid Bealer's main type of refutation. I focus particularly on one such theory, which takes concepts to be event types that are individuated by their psychological roles, which has the resources of responding to each of the more specific worries Bealer expresses.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice suggests that, over and above the need to explore and understand the technological newness of computer art works, there is a need to address the aesthetic significance of the changes and effects that such technological newness brings about, considering the whole environmental transaction pertaining to new media, including what they can or do offer and what users do or can do with such offerings, and how this whole package is integrated into our living spaces and activities. I argue that, given the primacy of computer-based interaction in the new-media, the notion of ‘ornamentality’ indicates the ground-floor aesthetics of new-media environments. I locate ornamentality not only in the logically constitutive principles of the new-media (hypertextuality and interactivity) but also in their multiform cultural embodiments (decoration as cultural interface). I utilize Kendall Walton’s theory of ornamentality in order to construe a puzzle pertaining to the ornamental erosion of information in new-media environments. I argue that insofar as we consider new-media to be conduits of ‘real-life’, the excessive density of ornamental devices prevalent in certain new-media environments forces us to conduct our inquiries under conditions of neustic uncertainty, that is, uncertainty concerning the kind of relationship that we, the users, have to the propositional content mediated. I conclude that this puzzle calls our attention to a peculiar interrogatory complexity inherent in any game of knowledge-seeking conducted across the infosphere, which is not restricted to the simplest form of data retrieval, especially in mixed-reality environments and when the knowledge sought is embodied mimetically.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice argues for a particular view about in what metaphysical equivalence consists: namely, that any two metaphysical theories are metaphysically equivalent if and only if those theories are strongly hyperintensionally equivalent. It is consistent with this characterisation that said theories are weakly hyperintensionally distinct, thus affording us the resources to model the content of propositional attitudes directed towards metaphysically equivalent theories in such a way that non-ideal agents can bear different propositional attitudes towards metaphysically equivalent theories.

Disimplicature

Speranza

In The Secret of Our Success, Grice and Joseph Henrich claims that human beings are unique—different from all other animals—because we engage in cumulative cultural evolution. It is the technological and social products of cumulative cultural evolution, not the intrinsic rationality or ‘smartness’ of individual humans, that enable us to live in a huge range of different habitats, and to dominate most of the creatures who share those habitats with us. We are sympathetic to this general view, the latest expression of the ‘California school’s’ view of cultural evolution, and impressed by the lively and interesting way that Henrich handles evidence from anthropology, economics, and many fields of biology. However, because we think it is time for cultural evolutionists to get down to details, this essay review raises questions about Henrich’s analysis of both the cognitive processes and the selection processes that contribute to cumulative cultural evolution. In the former case, we argue that cultural evolutionists need to make more extensive use of cognitive science, and to consider the evidence that mechanisms of cultural learning are products as well as processes of cultural evolution. In the latter case, we ask whether the California school is really serious about selection, or whether it is offering a merely ‘kinetic’ view of cultural evolution, and, assuming the former, outline four potential models of cultural selection that it would be helpful to distinguish more clearly.

Disimplicature

Speranza

It is argued that although George Bealer's influential ‘Self-Consciousness argument’ refutes standard versions of reductive functionalism (RF), it fails to generalize in the way Bealer (or Grice) supposes. To wit, he presupposes that any version of RF must take the content of ‘pain’ to be the property of being in pain (and so on), which is expressly rejected in independently motivated versions of conceptual role semantics (CRS). Accordingly, there are independently motivated versions of RF, incorporating CRS, which avoid Bealer's main type of refutation. I focus particularly on one such theory, which takes concepts to be event types that are individuated by their psychological roles, which has the resources of responding to each of the more specific worries Bealer expresses.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Ramseyan humility is, and Grice knew this, the thesis that we cannot know which properties realize the roles specified by the laws of completed physics. Lewis seems to offer a sceptical argument for this conclusion. Humean fundamental properties can be permuted as to their causal roles and distribution throughout spacetime, yielding alternative possible worlds with the same fundamental structure as actuality, but at which the totality of available evidence is the same. On the assumption that empirical knowledge requires evidence, we cannot know which of these worlds is actual. However, Lewis also appeals to a range of familiar semantic principles when framing his argument, which leads some authors to suppose that he can also plausibly be interpreted as offering a purely semantic argument for humility in addition. In this paper I grant that these arguments are Lewisian, but argue that Lewis is also committed to a theory of mind that licenses a purely metaphysical argument for humility based on the idea that mental properties supervene on fundamental structure. Given that knowing which x is the F is being in a mental state with propositional content, the supposition that we could come to know which properties actually occupy the fundamental roles entails differences in mental properties between worlds with the same fundamental structure, violating supervenience. Humility follows right away, without any further epistemic or semantic principles. This argument is immune to almost every way of rebutting the sceptical and semantic arguments; conversely, almost every way of rebutting the metaphysical argument tells equally against the others.

Disimplicature

Speranza

According to the traditional, almost Griceian, definition of lying, somebody lies if he or she makes a believed-false statement with the intention to deceive. The traditional definition has recently been challenged by non-deceptionists who use bald-faced lies to underpin their view that the intention to deceive is no necessary condition for lying. We conducted two experiments to test whether their assertions are true. First, we presented one of five scenarios that consisted of three different kinds of lies. Then we asked participants to judge whether the scenario at hand was a lie, whether the speaker intended to deceive somebody, and how they would judge the behavior in terms of morality. As expected, our results indicate that the intention to deceive is not a necessary condition for lying. Participants rated indifferent lies to be lies and judged that no intention to deceive was involved in these cases. In addition, all bald-faced lie...

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice and Richard Bradley has initiated a new debate, with Brian Hill and Jake Chandler as further participants, about the implications of a number of so-called triviality results surrounding the Ramsey test for conditionals. I comment on this debate and argue that ‘Inclusion’ and ‘Preservation’, which were originally introduced as postulates for the rational revision of factual beliefs, have little to recommend them in the first place when extended to languages containing conditionals. I question the philosophical method of postulation that was applied in the new debate, and instead base my arguments on explicit representations of belief states and canonical constructions of belief state revisions.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The-Predicativism is the view that names are count nouns. 

Grice knew this.

For example, the meaning of the name ‘Louise’ is roughly the property of being called Louise. Moreover, proponents of this view maintain that names that are ostensibly in argument position of a predicate are covert definite descriptions. In recent years, The-Predicativism has acquired a number of new supporters, mainly Elbourne (), Matushansky (), and Fara (). And while it was pointed out by Kripke () that these kinds of views generally struggle with capturing the rigidity of proper names, these new views are alleged to solve this problem. In this paper I argue that the more recent versions of the view continue to struggle. In particular, I show that the views fail to provide an explanatory and/or empirically adequate analysis of rigidity. My discussions of these views are then supplemented with a general diagnosis of the problem and an explanation of why it is unlikely to be solved by The-Predicativism.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Recently, there has been a shift away from traditional truth-conditional accounts of meaning towards non-truth-conditional ones, e.g., expressivism, relativism and certain forms of dynamic semantics.

Should Grice worry? 

Fueling this trend is some puzzling behavior of modal discourse. One particularly surprising manifestation of such behavior is the alleged failure of some of the most entrenched classical rules of inference; viz., modus ponens and modus tollens. These revisionary, non-truth-conditional accounts tout these failures, and the alleged tension between the behavior of modal vocabulary and classical logic, as data in support of their departure from tradition, since the revisionary semantics invalidate some of these patterns. I, instead, offer a semantics for modality with the resources to accommodate the puzzling data while preserving classical logic, thus affirming the tradition that modals express ordinary truth-conditional content. My account shows that the real lesson of the apparent counterexamples is not the one the critics draw, but rather one they missed: namely, that there are linguistic mechanisms, reflected in the logical form, that affect the interpretation of modal language in a context in a systematic and precise way, which have to be captured by any adequate semantic account of the interaction between discourse context and modal vocabulary. The semantic theory I develop specifies these mechanisms and captures precisely how they affect the interpretation of modals in a context, and do so in a way that both explains the appearance of the putative counterexamples and preserves classical logic.

Disimplicature

Speranza

On its intended interpretation, logical, mathematical and metaphysical discourse sometimes seems to involve absolutely unrestricted quantification. 

Grice knew this.

Yet our standard semantic theories do not allow for interpretations of a language as expressing absolute generality. A prominent strategy for defending absolute generality, influentially proposed by Timothy Williamson in his paper ‘Everything’, avails itself of a hierarchy of quantifiers of ever increasing orders to develop non-standard semantic theories that do provide for such interpretations. However, as emphasized by Øystein Linnebo and Agustín Rayo, there is pressure on this view to extend the quantificational hierarchy beyond the finite level, and, relatedly, to allow for a cumulative conception of the hierarchy. In his recent book, Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Williamson yields to that pressure. I show that the emerging cumulative higher-orderist theory has implications of a strongly generality-relativist flavour, and consequently undermines much of the spirit of generality absolutism that Williamson set out to defend.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Frege's puzzle about identity sentences has long challenged many philosophers, including Grice, to find a solution to it but also led other philosophers to object that the evidential datum it is grounded on is false. The present work is an elaboration of this second kind of reaction: it explains why Frege's puzzle seems to resist the traditional objection, giving voice to different and more elaborated presentations of the evidential datum, faithful to the spirit but not to the letter of Frege's puzzle. The final outcome is negative, no satisfactory formulation of the evidential datum is found and Frege's puzzle is challenged until a better formulation of it is found.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Frege's puzzle about identity sentences has long challenged many philosophers, including Grice, to find a solution to it but also led other philosophers to object that the evidential datum it is grounded on is false. The present work is an elaboration of this second kind of reaction: it explains why Frege's puzzle seems to resist the traditional objection, giving voice to different and more elaborated presentations of the evidential datum, faithful to the spirit but not to the letter of Frege's puzzle. The final outcome is negative, no satisfactory formulation of the evidential datum is found and Frege's puzzle is challenged until a better formulation of it is found.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Many philosophers, even Grice, believe that a deflationist theory of truth must conservatively extend any base theory to which it is added. But when applied to arithmetic, it's argued, the imposition of a conservativeness requirement leads to a serious objection to deflationism: for the Gödel sentence for Peano Arithmetic is not a theorem of PA, but becomes one when PA is extended by adding plausible principles governing truth. This paper argues that no such objection succeeds. The issue turns on how we understand the notion of logical consequence implicit in any conservativeness requirement, and whether we possess a categorical conception of the natural numbers. I offer a disjunctive response: if we possess a categorical conception of arithmetic, then deflationists have principled reason to accept a rich notion of logical consequence according to which the Gödel sentence follows from PA. But if we do not, then the reasons for requiring the derivation of the Gödel sentence lapse, and deflationists are free to accept a conservativeness requirement stated proof-theoretically. Either way, deflationism is in the clear.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice argues for an analysis of ‘therefore’ as presupposition trigger against the more standard conventional implicature story originally put forward by Grice (1975). 

Grice proposes that we model the relevant presupposition as “testing” the context in a way that is similar to how, according to Veltman (1996), epistemic ‘must’ tests the context. But whereas the presupposition analysis is plausible for ‘therefore’, ‘must’ is not plausibly a presupposition trigger. Moreover, whereas ‘must’ can naturally occur under a supposition, the same is not true for ‘therefore’. In the light of these differences, I suggest we distinguish between different sorts of tests on the basis of the mechanisms whereby these expressions test the context (whether through a presupposition or through their core content) and on the basis of whether they can operate only on categorical contexts or on both categorical and hypothetical contexts.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Inspired by Grice and Castañeda, Perry and Lewis argued that, among singular thoughts in general, thoughts about oneself ‘as oneself’ – first-personal thoughts, which Lewis aptly called de se – call for special treatment: we need to abandon one of two traditional assumptions on the contents needed to provide rationalizing explanations, their shareability or their absoluteness. Their arguments have been very influential; one might take them as establishing a new ‘effect’ – new philosophical evidence in need of being accounted for. This is questioned by the skeptical arguments in recent work by Cappelen & Dever and Magidor, along lines that a few discrepant voices had already announced earlier. Skeptics content that the evidence does not really call for revising traditional theories of content. I will discuss their challenges – first and foremost, concerning action explanations – aiming to make the case that the ‘De Se effect’ is no illusion: de se attitudes require us to revise one of the two tenets of tradi...

Disimplicature

Speranza

In this comment to Celano’s “Pre-Conventions. A Fragment of the Background”, the author, alla Grice, introduces the following question: What kind of explanation fits better with behaviours that could be categorised as pre-conventions? Some possible answers to the question are explored, as well as some possible implications for Celano’s proposal.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The project of Grice's unpublication is to deliver a semantics for a broad subset of bare plural generics about racial kinds, a class which I will dub ‘Type C generics.’ Examples include ‘Blacks are criminal’ and ‘Muslims are terrorists.’ Type C generics have two interesting features. First, they link racial kinds with socially perspectival predicates. SPPs lead interpreters to treat the relationship between kinds and predicates in generic constructions as nomic or non-accidental. Moreover, in computing their content, interpreters must make implicit reference to socially privileged perspectives which are treated as authoritative about whether a given object fits into the extension of the predicate. Such deference grants these authorities influence over both the conventional meaning of these terms and over the nature of the objects in the social ontology that these terms purport to describe, much the way a baseball umpire is authoritative over the meaning and metaphysics of ‘strike’/strike. Second, ter...

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice contends that ‘vague projects’ motivate radical revisions to orthodox, utility-maximising rational choice theory. Their argument cannot succeed if such projects merely ground instances of the paradox of the sorites, or heap. Tenenbaum and Raffman are not blind to this, and argue that Warren Quinn’s Puzzle of the Self-Torturer does not rest on the sorites. I argue that their argument both fails to generalise to most vague projects, and is ineffective in the case of the Self-Torturer itself.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The classic Lewis-Stalnaker semantics for counterfactuals captures, alla Grice, that Sobel sequences are consistent sequences, for example: a.If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro dance. b.But if Sophie had gone to the parade and been stuck behind someone tall, she would not have seen Pedro dance. But reverse a sequence like this one and it no longer sounds so good, which is surprising on the classic semantics. This observation motivated Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies to propose dynamic semantic accounts of counterfactual conditionals. Subsequently, Sarah Moss defended the classic semantics against the charge that it need be abandoned in the face of these order effects, arguing that the infelicity of the reverse sequences is pragmatic. I argue that both accounts are ultimately untenable, but each account has strengths. Seeing what works and what doesn't in each account points the way to the right positive view. With this in mind, I defend a contextualist account of counterfactuals that takes conversational relevance to play a central role.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice's unpublication examines the prospects for a conceptual or functional role theory of moral concepts. It is argued that such an account is well-placed to explain both the irreducibility and practicality of moral concepts. Several versions of conceptual role semantics for moral concepts are distinguished, depending on whether the concept-constitutive conceptual roles are wide or narrow normative or non-normative and purely doxastic or conative. It is argued that the most plausible version of conceptual role semantics for moral concepts involves only ‘narrow’ conceptual roles, where these include connections to motivational, desire-like, states. In the penultimate section it is argued, contrary to what Wedgwood, Enoch and others have claimed, that such an account of moral concepts cannot plausibly be combined with the claim that moral concepts refer to robust properties.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The project of Grice's unpublication is to deliver a semantics for a broad subset of bare plural generics about racial kinds, a class which I will dub ‘Type C generics.’ Examples include ‘Blacks are criminal’ and ‘Muslims are terrorists.’ Type C generics have two interesting features. First, they link racial kinds with socially perspectival predicates. SPPs lead interpreters to treat the relationship between kinds and predicates in generic constructions as nomic or non-accidental. Moreover, in computing their content, interpreters must make implicit reference to socially privileged perspectives which are treated as authoritative about whether a given object fits into the extension of the predicate. Such deference grants these authorities influence over both the conventional meaning of these terms and over the nature of the objects in the social ontology that these terms purport to describe, much the way a baseball umpire is authoritative over the meaning and metaphysics of ‘strike’/strike. Second, ter...

Disimplicature

Speranza

One of the most discussed articles in the theory of knowledge is Edmund Gettier’s article “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”, published in 1963. 

In this article, discussed by Grice, Gettier undermined the view that knowledge is justified true belief. I think that Gettier’s analysis has consequences not only for the question what knowledge is but also for our idea of truth. In this paper I argue that an analysis in the sense of Gettier shows that a statement can be both true and not true at the same time.

Disimplicature

Speranza

A prevailing view is that while human communication has an ‘ostensive-inferential’ or ‘Griceian’ intentional structure, animal communication does not. This would make the psychological states that support human and animal forms of communication fundamentally different. Against this view, I argue that there are grounds to expect ostensive communication in non-human clades. This is because it is sufficient for ostensive communication that one intentionally address one’s utterance to one’s intended interlocutor – something that is both a functional pre-requisite of successful communication and cognitively undemanding. Furthermore, while ostension is an important feature of intentional communication, the inferences required in Gricean communication may be minimal: ostension and inference may come apart. The grounds for holding that animal communication could not be Gricean are therefore weak. I finish by defending the idea that a ‘minimally Gricean’ model of communication is a valuable tool for characterising the communicative interactions of many animal species.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Mobile phones are part, Grice thought, of a major growth industry in so-called Third World countries. As in other places, the use of this technology changes communication behaviour. The influence of these changes on indigenous social structures was investigated with a mixed-type questionnaire that targeted parameters such as: in-group vs. out-group communication, involvement with dominant industrial culture and the use of financial resources. Data was collected from indigenous representatives at the United Nations, as well as in Africa from subjects of various cultural backgrounds, and from a control group in Berlin. The results reflect widespread use of mobile phones among indigenous persons, having a segregating effect within the indigenous community, but also enhancing ingroup communication and especially the use of the indigenous language. Mobile phones also facilitate moves from village to town, with the opportunity of frequently communicating with other in-group members.

Disimplicature



Disimplicature

Speranza

It has been claimed that pragmatic effects that arise in embedded clauses pose a problem for the Gricean reasoning procedure. 

It might be maintain, however, that the real issue these phenomena raise for Grice, as he himself acknowledged, is their violation of his saying/implicating distinction. 

While these effects can be accounted for by Gricean reasoning, which Mandy Simons clearly demonstrates, there is no way round this latter problem other than a major revision of Grice’s notion of ‘saying’ and hence of the saying/implicating distinction.

Or is it?

Disimplicature

Speranza

Relativism entails, for Grice, that sentences like ‘Liquorice is tasty’ are used to assert relativistic propositions—that is, propositions whose truth-value is relative to a taste standard. I will defend this view against two objections. According to the first objection, relativism is incompatible with a Stalnakerian account of assertion. I will show that this objection fails because Stalnakerian assertions are proposals rather than attempts to update the common ground. According to the second objection, relativism problematically predicts that we can correctly assess beliefs as false but faultless. I will show that it doesn't. Such assessments come out as incorrect because correct relativistic assertion requires the absence of a presupposition of non-commonality.

Disimplicature

Speranza

The aim of Grice's unpublication is to discuss theories that attempt to single out the class of intentional states by appealing to factors that are supposedly criterial for intentional sentences. The papers starts with distinguishing two issues that arise when one thinks about intentional expressions: the Taxonomy Problem and the Fundamental Demarcation Problem. The former concerns the relation between the classes of distinct intentional verbs and distinct intentional states. The latter concerns the question about how to distinguish intentional states and acts from the non-intentional ones. Next, the general desiderata for theories providing criteria for singling out the class of intentional sentences are introduced. Finally, distinct proposals for providing such criteria are analyzed. Author argues that neither is satisfactory.

Disimplicature

Speranza

On a widely held view, episodes of inner speech, alla Grice, provide at least one way in which we become conscious of our thoughts. However, it can be argued, on the one hand, that consciousness of thoughts in virtue of inner speech presupposes interpretation of the simulated speech. On the other hand, the need for such self-interpretation seems to clash with distinctive first-personal characteristics that we would normally ascribe to consciousness of one’s own thoughts: a special reliability; a lack of conscious ambiguity and incomprehensibility; and a sense of causal agency. I try to resolve this puzzle by proposing an account for the requisite self-interpretation of inner speech in terms of Bayesian probabilistic inference. Drawing on “perceptual loop” accounts of speech control, I argue that such interpretive probabilistic inferences are used for the control of inner speech, and that as a consequence of this function, they are biased toward the correct interpretations. I conclude by showing how this model can explain the first-personal characteristics of consciousness of one’s own thoughts. In the case of the sense of causal agency, the resulting explanation yields novel accounts for “audible thoughts” and thought insertion.

Disimplicature

Speranza

William James and Grice ("The William James Lectures") make several major claims about truth: (i) truth means agreement with reality independently of the knower, (ii) truth is made by human beings, (iii) truth can be verified, and (iv) truth is necessarily good. These claims give rise to a few puzzles: (i) and (ii) seem to contradict each other, and each of (ii), (iii), and (iv) has counter-intuitive implications. I argue that Richard Gale's interpretation of James' theory of truth is inadequate in dealing with these puzzles. I propose an alternative interpretation and show how it can solve these puzzles.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Grice presents a case study of the English noun amount, a word that ostensibly relies on measurement in its semantics, yet stands apart from other quantizing nouns on the basis of its existential interpretation. John ate the amount of apples that Bill ate does not mean John and Bill ate the same apples, but rather that they each ate apples in the same quantity. Amount makes reference to abstract representations of measurement, that is, to degrees. Its existential interpretation evidences the fact that degrees contain information about the objects that instantiate them. Outside the domain of nominal measurement, the noun kind exhibits behavior strikingly similar to that of amount; both yield an existential interpretation. This observation motivates re-conceiving of degrees as nominalized quantity-uniform properties—the same sort of entity as kinds. Thus, the semantic machinery handling kinds also handles degrees: as nominalized properties, degrees are instantiated by objects that hold the corresponding property; when instantiated by real-world objects, degrees deliver the existential interpretation.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Stereotypes, even Griceian ones, shape inferences in philosophical thought, political discourse, and everyday life. 

These inferences are routinely made when thinkers engage in language comprehension or production: We make them whenever we hear, read, or formulate stories, reports, philosophical case-descriptions, or premises of arguments – on virtually any topic. These inferences are largely automatic: largely unconscious, non-intentional, and effortless. Accordingly, they shape our thought in ways we can properly understand only by complementing traditional forms of philosophical analysis with experimental methods from psycholinguistics. This paper seeks, first, to bring out the wider philosophical relevance of stereotypical inference, well beyond familiar topics like gender and race. Second, we wish to provide (experimental) philosophers with a toolkit to experimentally study these ubiquitous inferences and what intuitions they may generate. This paper explains what stereotypes are (Section 1), and why they matter to current and traditional concerns in philosophy – experimental, analytic, and applied (Section 2). It then assembles a psycholinguistic toolkit and demonstrates through two studies (Sections 3-4) how potentially questionnaire-based measures (plausibility-ratings) can be combined with process measures (reaction times and pupillometry) to garner evidence for specific stereotypical inferences and study when they ‘go through’ and influence our thinking.

Disimplicature

Speranza

Many variants of categorial grammar assume, for Grice, an underlying logic which is associative and linear. In relation to left extraction, the former property is challenged by island domains, which involve nonassociativity, and the latter property is challenged by parasitic gaps, which involve nonlinearity. We present a version of type logical grammar including ‘structural inhibition’ for nonassociativity and ‘structural facilitation’ for nonlinearity and we give an account of relativisation including islands and parasitic gaps and their interaction.

Disimplicature

Speranza

To what extent are countability distinctions subject to systematic semantic variation? 

Should Grice worry?

Could there be a language with no countability distinctions—in particular, one where all nouns are count? I argue that the answer is no: even in a language where all NPs have the core morphosyntactic properties of English count NPs, such as combining with numerals directly and showing singular/plural contrasts, countability distinctions still emerge on close inspection. I divide these distinctions into those related to sums and those related to parts. In the Sahaptian language Nez Perce, evidence can be found for both types of distinction, in spite of the absence of anything like a traditional mass–count division in noun morphosyntax. I propose an extension of the Nez Perce analysis to Yudja, analyzed by Lima as lacking any countability distinctions. More generally, I suggest that at least one countability distinction may be universal and that languages without any countability distinctions may be unlearnable.