On the Status of Ostensible Intuitions

Peter Unger

in Philosophical Relativity

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195155532
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833818 | DOI:
On the Status of Ostensible Intuitions

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Examines the objection to semantic relativity (and ipso facto to philosophical relativity) from our semantic intuitions, that takes common sense responses to questions about semantic content to support contextualism over invariantism, and takes the best explanation for such responses to be that they reflect objective deterministic facts regarding semantic content. Despite the acknowledged question‐begging nature of such an objection, it is deemed persuasive enough to warrant deeper analysis. The strengthened attack against invariantism (and in support of contextualism and against semantic relativity and therefore philosophical relativity) turns on invariantism's prima facie inability to account for agents possessing beliefs involving the contested lexical expressions. Two replies directly available to the invariantist (and hence indirectly available to the relativist) are formulated in detail, and a third direct reply for the relativist that turns on the denial of the deterministic nature of beliefs is tentatively suggested, prior to its extended development in the following chapter.

Keywords: contextualism; invariantism; ostensible intuition; philosophical relativity; semantic intuitions; semantic relativity

Chapter.  6922 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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