The Semantics and Philosophy of Language Workshop is pleased to welcome Jason Bridges (Chicago) for our fifth workshop talk of the quarter.
‘Contextualism, Pragmatism, and Provincialism’
DATE: Friday, May 13, 2011
TIME: 10:00am-12:00 pm (note the change in time and place)
PLACE: Wieboldt 203 (note the change in time and place)
The paper can be downloaded here.
ABSTRACT: The recent flowering of “contextualist” doctrines is widely viewed as a natural consequence of a shift to a more pragmatic perspective on meaning, in which the communicative and expressive context of an utterance is seen as playing a more thoroughgoing role in shaping meaning than had previously been acknowledged. But in fact, mainstream contextualist doctrines seem to follow from the new pragmatic orientation only given dubious assumptions about the relevant features of communicative and expressive contexts. This charge is developed through consideration of a widely accepted contextualist treatment of the word “rich”, here called economic contextualism. The case against economic contextualism involves detailed examination of empirical and theoretical issues of a sort that have been ignored in the contextualist literature. The final sections of the paper indicate how arguments of this character might be applied to other forms of contextualism and trace some of their general implications, including the threat they pose to contextualist approaches to skeptical puzzles, and the space they open for views that allow for pervasive context-sensitivity but are quite far from the doctrines currently advanced under the “contextualist” banner.