Understanding Each Other: Contextualism, Relativism, and the Role of Interpretation

Erich Rast



The project is a continuation of existing work on the interpretation of semantically incomplete utterances. My main goal is to further develop the interpretation by plausibility approach, which is an alternative to recent contextualist and relativist accounts to the truth-conditional meaning of natural language utterances such as 'Licorice is tasty.' The interpretation-based approach brings together two previously unconnected lines of research in the Philosophy of Language and Formal Epistemology: The missing ingredient (tasty for whom?) is inferred by the hearer on the basis of some minimal semantic content derived from his 'mental lexicon', his prior beliefs and communicative assumptions, and his presumed ability to subjectively assess different possible scenarios according to how plausible they are. The inference occurs prior to the kind of deep interpretation whose result is speech act content and for which existing Gricean and relevance-theoretic models exist, and the approach does not compete with these but rather supplements them. It may be taken as one more piece in the toolset of formal pragmatics. The approach will be evaluated and contrasted with traditional contextualist accounts based on D. Kaplan's work and with recent assessment-based truth-relativism. The investigation will specifically focus on predicates of personal taste and moral and aesthetic value judgments, as they have recently been discussed by P. Lasersohn, M. Koelbel, J. MacFarlane. The project will therefore also touch foundational issues in aesthetics and ethics.

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All Events

Virtualism and the Mind: Rethinking Presence, Representation and the Self

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning Workshop "Virtualism and the Mind"

April 23, 2018

João Leite, 16 April 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "An Online Social Debating System"

April 16, 2018

Klaus Gärtner, 20 Mar, 2018, 14.30h to 15.30h

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning RIP Seminar |"4E Cognition: Radical or…

March 20, 2018

Javier Gonzalez de Prado Salas, 19 March 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Reasoning as a self-doubter"

March 19, 2018

Erich Rast, 16.3., Sala 1.05 ID, 16h

Value Seminar Session with Erich Rast, Sala 1.05 ID 16h

March 16, 2018

Value Seminar Marcin Lewiński, Sala 105 ID 16h

Value Seminar with Marcin Lewiński, Sala 1.05 ID 16h

March 09, 2018

Value Seminar Dima Mohammed, Sala 105 ID 16h

Value Seminar with Dima Mohammed, Sala 1.05 ID 16h

March 02, 2018

Paul Smart, 28 Feb, 2018, 17h to 18h

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning RIP Seminar |"Dream Machines: Predictive Processing,…

February 28, 2018

Maciej Witek, 5 March 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Illocution and accommodation in the functioning…

February 20, 2018

Paula Olmos, 19 February 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Narratives in Scientific Justificatory Practice"

February 19, 2018

Stéphane Dias, 5 February 2018, 17h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Communicative agency - an enterprise in…

February 05, 2018

Discussing Davidson Colloquium, 26 JAN 2018, 10:30 - 18:00

International colloquium | The philosophy of Donald Davidson

January 26, 2018

Andri Christodoulou, 11 Dec 2017, 16h30

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Using argumentation as a tool for…

December 11, 2017

Elisabetta Montanari, 27 Nov 2017, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Learning Consistency Via Argumentation"

November 27, 2017

Dina Mendonça, Fr 27 Nov 17 Sala 606 TB, 16h

Dina Mendonça on the Role of Reflexivity and Meta-Emotions in…

November 24, 2017

The 1st European Conference on Argumentation

International Conference | Argumentation and Reasoned Action

June 09, 2015


Faculdade de Direito Universidade Nova de Lisboa