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

Book Launch: Schizophrenia and Common Sense: explaining the relation between madness and social values with Thomas Fuchs

Schizophrenia and Common Sense: explaining the relation between madness and…

June 25, 2018

Workshop: Misunderstanding, disagreement, manipulation

The idea of the workshop is to explore the blurred…

June 22, 2018

Katharina Stevens, 18 June 2018, 14h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Argument-Design through Role-Taking"

June 18, 2018

Workshop: Communication and metaphors for health. An educational challenge

The workshop discusses the importance of communication and metaphors in…

June 01, 2018

Inês Hipólito, 30th May 11:00 - 12:00

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning RIP Seminar |"Perception as Cognition: Beyond…

May 30, 2018

Dima Mohammed, 28 May 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Proposals for the examination of networked…

May 28, 2018

Jakob Krebs, 16 May, 15h to 16h

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning RIP Seminar |"Pictorial Models, Imagination, and…

May 16, 2018

Mehmet Ali Üzelgün, 14 May 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Level, focus, and force of argumentative…

May 14, 2018

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

The 1st European Conference on Argumentation

International Conference | Argumentation and Reasoned Action

June 09, 2015


Faculdade de Direito Universidade Nova de Lisboa