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Lodz Papers in Pragmatics

Founded by Cap, Piotr

Editor-in-Chief: Chilton, Paul / Kopytowska, Monika

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Contextualism and Disagreement

Wang Qin
Published Online: 2012-01-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10016-011-0017-2

Contextualism and Disagreement

This paper argues that attributor contextualism is in conflict with ordinary language methodology. Attributor contextualism has at its center the thesis that, the truth-values of knowledge attributions vary with the conversational (speaker) contexts. This thesis entails that if two speakers in similar contexts make conflicting knowledge attributions, at least one of these attributions is false. One important argument for attributor contextualism depends on ordinary language methodology, a methodology that places great trust in ordinary speakers and prevents judging a substantial group of ordinary speakers' simple knowledge attributions false. I argue that there is strong empirical evidence that ordinary speakers do extensively disagree in similar contexts. My conclusion is that one cannot coherently hold the attributor contextualist thesis and use ordinary language methodology, because the lesson we learn from the empirical evidence is that using the methodology would prove the thesis false. Since prominent attributor contextualists explicitly adopt the methodology, and that the methodology is what distinguishes attributor contextualism from its main rival, invariantism, the conflict with the methodology is a problem for attributor contextualism.

Keywords: attributor contextualism; ordinary language; disagreement

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About the article

Published Online: 2012-01-05

Published in Print: 2011-01-01

Citation Information: Lodz Papers in Pragmatics, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 309–322, ISSN (Online) 1898-4436, ISSN (Print) 1895-6106, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10016-011-0017-2.

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