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Explicatures, speech-act pluralism and the attitude of holding a sentence true

Conference contribution
Authors Stellan Petersson
Published in PhiLang2013. Third international conference on philosophy of language and linguistics. Lodz, Poland, 9-11 May 2013. Book of abstracts. Ed. byWiktor Pskit & Ryszard Rasiński ;
ISBN 978-83-7525-844-8
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords speech-act pluralism, relevance theory, Donald Davidson, explicatures
Subject categories Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


The use of locutions such that ‘said that’ in arguments for contextualism has been criticised. Cappelen & Lepore (2005) argue that there is not a single proposition that captures what a speaker said by an utterance of a sentence in a given context of utterance. The truth of an indirect report, where the verb ‘say’ is used, is dependent on facts about the context of the report, and there is an indefinite number of true reports of a given utterance of a sentence (in a given context). In this talk, I will discuss the epistemology of arguments for explicatures (Hall & Carston 2012). I will argue that the paradigmatic form of arguments for the existence of explicatures is warranted, if we think of such arguments as evaluations of counterfactuals, in the sense of Williamson (2008). The counterfactuals should not, however, contain the verb ‘say’, but they should contain the Davidsonian notion of ‘the attitude of holding a sentence true (at a time)’ (Davidson 1974).

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