Month: January 2022

Cooperation & Determining When Merely Verbal Disputes…

Cooperation and Determining When Merely Verbal Disputes are Worthwhile

Teresa Kouri Kissel

Merely verbal disputes are often thought to be disputes about language that are not worthwhile. Recent work suggests that some merely verbal disputes may not be problematic in this way (see, for example, Balcerak Jackson (2014), Belleri (2020) and Mankowitz (2021)). In this paper, I propose that this recent work misses one crucial point: interlocutors have to cooperate in the right kinds of ways in order for a dispute to be worthwhile. Using the question-under-discussion framework developed in Roberts (2012), I provide a form of cooperation which I show can distinguish between merely verbal disputes which are and are not worthwhile.

If this paper is correct that sometimes what makes disputes about language worthwhile is that the interlocutors are willing to cooperate in the right kinds of ways, then there is a critical upshot: interlocutors can control whether their dispute is worth their time. That is, if interlocutors decide to treat what each other is saying as true for the purposes of the conversation, or if they manage to come to some compromise about some things they are both willing to accept as true, then they can go from having a worthless dispute to having a worthwhile one.

Neo-Pragmatist Truth and Supervaluationism

Julian Schlöder

Deflationists about truth hold that the function of the truth predicate is to enable us to make certain assertions we could not otherwise make. Pragmatists claim that the utility of negation lies in its role in registering incompatibility. The pragmatist insight about negation has been successfully incorporated into bilateral theories of content, which take the meaning of negation to be inferentially explained in terms of the speech act of rejection. One can implement the deflationist insight in the pragmatist’s theory of content by taking the meaning of the truth predicate to be explained by its inferential relation to assertion. There are two upshots. First, a new diagnosis of the Liar, Revenges and attendant paradoxes: the paradoxes require that truth rules preserve evidence, but they only preserve commitment. Second, one straightforwardly obtains axiomatisations of several supervaluational hierarchies, answering the question of how such theories are to be naturally axiomatised. This is joint work with Luca Incurvati (Amsterdam).