Chapter

Introduction: Epistemic Modals and Epistemic Modality

Brian Weatherson and Andy Egan

in Epistemic Modality

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199591596
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729027 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591596.003.0001
Introduction: Epistemic Modals and Epistemic Modality

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This chapter introduces the main themes of the volume, summarizes the chapters in it, and looks at the various arguments that have been raised for semantic relativism over the past decade. It concludes that two of these arguments seem to be resistant to the anti-relativist replies that have appeared in response to this work on relativism. One of these is an argument from agreement. It is argued that contextualist theories about various puzzling locutions have a hard time explaining why it is so easy for people who would happily utter the same words to describe themselves as agreeing, if those words were really context-sensitive. Another is an argument concerning attitude ascriptions. It seems there are quite different restrictions on what values the (allegedly) context-sensitive expressions can take inside and outside of attitude ascriptions. Since this isn't how context-sensitive terms usually behave, this phenomena tells against contextualism, and in favour of relativism.

Keywords: relativism; contextualism; epistemic modals; epistemic modality; attitude ascriptions; agreement; disagreement

Chapter.  9267 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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