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  1. The Fog of Debate.Nathan Ballantyne - forthcoming - Social Philosophy and Policy.
    The fog of war—poor intelligence about the enemy—can frustrate even a well-prepared military force. Something similar can happen in intellectual debate. What I call the *fog of debate* is a useful metaphor for grappling with failures and dysfunctions of argumentative persuasion that stem from poor information about our opponents. It is distressingly easy to make mistakes about our opponents’ thinking, as well as to fail to comprehend their understanding of and reactions to our arguments. After describing the fog of debate (...)
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  2. What is the Point of Persistent Disputes? The Meta-Analytic Answer.Alexandre Billon & Philippe Vellozzo - forthcoming - Dialectica.
    Many philosophers regard the persistence of philosophical disputes as symptomatic of overly ambitious, ill-founded intellectual projects. There are indeed strong reasons to believe that persistent disputes in philosophy (and more generally in the discourse at large) are pointless. We call this the pessimistic view of the nature of philosophical disputes. In order to respond to the pessimistic view, we articulate the supporting reasons and provide a precise formulation in terms of the idea that the best explanation of persistent disputes entails (...)
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  3. Modal Pluralism and Higher-Order Logic.Justin Clarke-Doane & William McCarthy - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    In this article, we discuss a simple argument that modal metaphysics is misconceived, and responses to it. Unlike Quine’s, this argument begins with the banal observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘could have been the case’. This is analogous to the observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘is a member of’. The argument then infers that the search for metaphysical necessities is misguided in much the way the ‘set-theoretic pluralist’ (Clarke-Doane & Hamkins (...)
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  4. (Mere) Verbalness and Substantivity Revisited.Viktoria Knoll - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    Verbal disputes are often seen as closely related to a lack of substantivity. However, a systematic and comprehensive investigation of how verbalness relates to substantivity is still missing. The present paper attempts to close this gap. In addition to offering different conceptions of verbalness, the paper further develops Sider’s (2011) notion of substantivity. Ultimately, I argue for a more careful choice of terminology when it comes to assessing a dispute as “(merely) verbal” or “nonsubstantive”. While the paper shows that there (...)
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  5. Topics, Disputes and 'Going Meta'.Viktoria Knoll - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    On a naive view of conceptual engineering, conceptual engineers simply aim at engineering concepts. This picture has recently come under attack. Sarah Sawyer (2018, 2020) and Derek Ball (2020) present two rather different, yet equally unorthodox, accounts of conceptual engineering, which they take to be superior to the naive picture. This paper casts doubts on the superiority of their respective accounts. By elaborating on the explanatory potential of “going meta”, the paper defends the naive view against Sawyer’s and Ball’s rival (...)
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  6. (In)Compatibilism.Kristin M. Mickelson - forthcoming - In Joseph Campbell (ed.), Companion to Free Will. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
    The terms ‘compatibilism’ and ‘incompatibilism’ were introduced in the mid-20th century to name conflicting views about the in-principle relationship between the thesis of determinism and the thesis that someone has free will. These technical terms were originally introduced within a specific research paradigm, the classical analytic paradigm, but few free-will theorists still work within that paradigm (i.e. using its methods, granting its substantive background assumptions, etc.). This chapter discusses how the ambiguity of the terms ‘incompatibilism’ and ‘compatibilism’ took root. I (...)
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  7. The Polysemy Theory of Sound.Anton Killin - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):435-458.
    Theorists have recently defended rival analyses of sound. The leading analyses reduce sound to sensations or mental representations, longitudinal compression waves, or sounding objects or events. Participants in the debate presuppose that because the features of the world targeted by these reductive strategies are distinct, at most one of the analyses is correct. In this article I argue that this presupposition is mistaken, endorsing a polysemy analysis of ‘sound’. Thus the ‘What is sound?’ debate is largely merely verbal, or so (...)
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  8. Communication and Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):147-169.
    According to standard assumptions in semantics, ordinary users of a language have implicit beliefs about the truth-conditions of sentences in that language, and they often agree on those beliefs. For example, it is assumed that if Anna and John are both competent users of English and the former utters ‘grass is green’ in conversation with the latter, they will both believe that that sentence is true if and only if grass is green. These assumptions play an important role in an (...)
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  9. Theory-Indexed Moral Contextualism. Pyro - 2021 - Esercizi Filosofici 1 (16):59-70.
    One way to understand the nature of our moral disagreements is to study the meaning of moral discourse. Nonetheless, Metaethical Theories that account for these disagreements face important challenges. For instance, if our theory of moral terms assigns them a reference too specifically related to a contextual parameter, we might be ruling out the substantiality of moral disagreements (e.g., while ‘To eat people is wrong’ is plausibly true relative to our culture, it’d be false for a community of cannibals). This (...)
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  10. Disagreement Lost.Martin Abreu Zavaleta - 2020 - Synthese (1-2):1-34.
    This paper develops a puzzle about non-merely-verbal disputes. At first sight, it would seem that a dispute over the truth of an utterance is not merely verbal only if there is a proposition that the parties to the dispute take the utterance under dispute to express, which one of the parties accepts and the other rejects. Yet, as I argue, it is extremely rare for ordinary disputes over an utterance’s truth to satisfy this condition, in which case non-merely verbal disputes (...)
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  11. The Epistemic Account of Faultless Disagreement.Xingming Hu - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2613-2630.
    There seem to be cases where A believes p, and B believes not-p, but neither makes a mistake. This is known as faultless disagreement. According to the epistemic account, in at least some cases of faultless disagreement either A or B must believe something false, and the disagreement is faultless in the sense that each follows the epistemic norm. Recently, philosophers have raised various objections to this account. In this paper, I propose a new version of the epistemic account and (...)
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  12. Verbal Disputes and Topic Continuity.Viktoria Knoll - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Changing concepts comes with a risk of creating merely verbal disputes. Accounts of topic continuity (such as Herman Cappelen’s) are supposed to solve this problem. As this paper shows, however, no existing solution avoids the danger of mere verbalness. On the contrary, accounts of topic continuity in fact increase the danger of overlooking merely verbal disputes between pre- and post-ameliorators. Ultimately, this paper suggests accepting the danger of mere verbalness resulting from a change in topic as a downside of conceptual (...)
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  13. The Methodological Implications of Reference Magnetism on Moral Twin Earth.David Mokriski - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (5):702-726.
    The Moral Twin Earth challenge to ethical naturalism threatens to undermine an otherwise promising metaethical view by showing that typical, naturalist-friendly theories of reference determination predict diverging reference in Twin Earth scenarios, making it difficult to account for substantive moral disagreement. Several theorists have recently invoked David Lewis’s doctrine of reference magnetism as a solution, claiming that a highly elite moral property—a moral “joint in nature”—could secure shared reference between ourselves and our twins on Twin Earth, despite our diverging usages (...)
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  14. Supergrading: How Diverse Standards Can Improve Collective Performance in Ranking Tasks.Michael Morreau - 2020 - Theory and Decision 88 (4):541-565.
    The method of supergrading is introduced for deriving a ranking of items from scores or grades awarded by several people. Individual inputs may come in different languages of grades. Diversity in grading standards is an advantage, enabling rankings derived by this method to separate more items from one another. A framework is introduced for studying grading on the basis of observations. Measures of accuracy, reliability and discrimination are developed within this framework. Ability in grading is characterized for individuals and groups (...)
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  15. Essentially Practical Questions.Brendan Balcerak Jackson - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (1):1-26.
    Questions are known to play a crucial role in helping to structure linguistic communication. I argue that paying attention to questions is also necessary for understanding disagreement, and in particular for distinguishing between genuine and merely verbal disagreements. I argue, moreover, that some of the questions that play this role are essentially practical questions, questions about what to do. Such questions can remain open even after questions about what is the case have been settled. Essentially practical questions help structure discourse (...)
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  16. Existence, Really? Tacit Disagreements About “Existence” in Disputes About Group Minds and Corporate Agents.Johannes Himmelreich - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4939-4953.
    A central dispute in social ontology concerns the existence of group minds and actions. I argue that some authors in this dispute rely on rival views of existence without sufficiently acknowledging this divergence. I proceed in three steps in arguing for this claim. First, I define the phenomenon as an implicit higher-order disagreement by drawing on an analysis of verbal disputes. Second, I distinguish two theories of existence—the theory-commitments view and the truthmaker view—in both their eliminativist and their constructivist variants. (...)
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  17. In the Quagmire of Quibbles: A Dialectical Exploration.Erik C. W. Krabbe & Jan Albert van Laar - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3459-3476.
    Criticism may degenerate into quibbling or nitpicking. How can discussants keep quibblers under control? In the paper we investigate cases in which a battle about words replaces a discussion of the matters that are actually at issue as well as cases in which a battle about minor objections replaces a discussion of the major issues. We survey some lines of discussion dealing with these situations in profiles of dialogue.
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  18. Verbal Disputes and the Varieties of Verbalness.Vermeulen Inga - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):331-348.
    Many philosophical disputes, most prominently disputes in ontology, have been suspected of being merely verbal and hence pointless. My goal in this paper is to offer an account of merely verbal disputes and to address the question of what is problematic with such disputes. I begin by arguing that extant accounts that focus on the semantics of the disputed statement S do not capture the full range of cases as they might arise in philosophy. Moreover, these accounts bring in heavy (...)
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  19. Change of Logic, Change of Meaning.Jared Warren - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (2):421-442.
    Some philosophers have argued that putative logical disagreements aren't really disagreements at all since when you change your logic you thereby change the meanings of your logical constants. According to this picture classical logicians and intuitionists don't really disagree, they just mean different things by terms like “not” and “or”. Quine gave an infamous “translation argument” for this view. Here I clarify the change of logic, change of meaning (CLCM) thesis, examine and find fault with Quine's translation argument for the (...)
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  20. Leonard Nelson: A Theory of Philosophical Fallacies: Translated by Fernando Leal and David Carus Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2016, Vi + 211 Pp. [REVIEW]Andrew Aberdein - 2017 - Argumentation 31 (2):455-461.
  21. TYPES OF INTERSUBJECTIVITY and Alternative Reality Images.Ulrich De Balbian - 2017 - Oxford: Academic Publishers.
    Exploration of INTERSUBJECTIVITY is continued. Different kinds of if are differentiated and signs for its presence and effects are shown. The difference between it, subjectivity and objectivity are explored. Intersubjectivity is crucial and universal for general everyday discourse in all cultures, sub-cultures, institutions, communities and socio-cultural practices such as religion, sport, etc or the so-called Manifest Image. It is essential for specialized areas, for example religion, sport and disciplines such as the humanities, arts, sciences, philosophy and all institutions. It is (...)
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  22. What Metalinguistic Negotiations Can't Do.Teresa Marques - 2017 - Phenomenology and Mind (12):40-48.
    Philosophers of language and metaethicists are concerned with persistent normative and evaluative disagreements – how can we explain persistent intelligible disagreements in spite of agreement over the described facts? Tim Sundell recently argued that evaluative aesthetic and personal taste disputes could be explained as metalinguistic negotiations – conversations where interlocutors negotiate how best to use a word relative to a context. I argue here that metalinguistic negotiations are neither necessary nor sufficient for genuine evaluative and normative disputes to occur. A (...)
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  23. Verbal Disagreements and Philosophical Scepticism.Nathan Ballantyne - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):752-765.
    ABSTRACTMany philosophers have suggested that disagreement is good grounds for scepticism. One response says that disagreement-motivated scepticism can be mitigated to some extent by the thesis that philosophical disputes are often verbal, not genuine. I consider the implications of this anti-sceptical strategy, arguing that it trades one kind of scepticism for others. I conclude with suggestions for further investigation of the epistemic significance of the nature of philosophical disagreement.
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  24. Scheinprobleme - Ein explikativer Versuch.Moritz Cordes - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Greifswald
    The traditional use of the expression 'pseudoproblem' is analysed in order to clarify the talk of pseudoproblems and related phenomena. The goal is to produce a philosophically serviceable terminology that stays true to its historical roots. This explicative study is inspired by and makes use of the method of logical reconstruction. Since pseudoproblems are usually expressed by pseudoquestions a formal language of questions is presented as a possible reconstruction language for alleged pseudoproblems. The study yields an informal theory of pseudoproblems (...)
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  25. Carnap's Legacy for the Contemporary Metaontological Debate.Matti Eklund - 2016 - In Stephan Blatti & Sandra Lapointe (eds.), Ontology After Carnap.
  26. Trapping the Metasemantic Metaphilosophical Deflationist?Jared Warren - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (1):108-121.
    Some philosophers are metaphilosophical deflationists for metasemantic reasons. These theorists take standard philosophical assertions to be defective in some manner. There are various versions of metasemantic metaphilosophical deflationism, but a trap awaits any global version of it: metasemantics itself is a part of philosophy, so in deflating philosophy these theorists have thereby deflated the foundation of their deflationism. The present article discusses this issue and the prospects for an adequate response to the trap. Contrary to most historical responses, the article (...)
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  27. Verbal Debates in Epistemology.Daniel Greco - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):41-55.
    The idea that certain philosophical debates are "merely verbal" has historically been raised as a challenge against (large parts of) metaphysics. In this paper, I explore an analogous challenge to large parts of epistemology, which is motivated by recent arguments in experimental philosophy. I argue that, while this challenge may have some limited success, it cannot serve as a wedge case for wide-ranging skepticism about the substantiveness of epistemological debates; most epistemological debates are immune to the worries it raises.
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  28. A Puzzle About Disputes and Disagreements.Hans Rott - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):167–189.
    The paper addresses the situation of a dispute in which one speaker says ϕ and a second speaker says not-ϕ. Proceeding on an idealising distinction between "basic" and "interesting" claims that may be formulated in a given idiolectal language, I investigate how it might be sorted out whether the dispute reflects a genuine disagreement, or whether the speakers are only having a merely verbal dispute, due to their using different interesting concepts. I show that four individually plausible principles for the (...)
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  29. Merely Verbal Disputes.C. S. I. Jenkins - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S1):11-30.
    Philosophers readily talk about merely verbal disputes, usually without much or any explicit reflection on what these are, and a good deal of methodological significance is attached to discovering whether a dispute is merely verbal or not. Currently, metaphilosophical advances are being made towards a clearer understanding of what exactly it takes for something to be a merely verbal dispute. This paper engages with this growing literature, pointing out some problems with existing approaches, and develops a new proposal which builds (...)
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  30. Realism, Truthmakers, and Language: A Study in Meta-Ontology and the Relationship Between Language and Metaphysics.J. T. M. Miller - 2014 - Dissertation, Durham University
    Metaphysics has had a long history of debate over its viability, and substantivity. This thesis explores issues connected to the realism question within the domain of metaphysics, ultimately aiming to defend a realist, substantive metaphysics by responding to so-called deflationary approaches, which have become prominent, and well supported within the recent metametaphysical and metaontological literature. To this end, I begin by examining the changing nature of the realism question. I argue that characterising realism and anti-realism through theories of truth unduly (...)
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  31. Disagreement and the First‐Person Perspective.Gurpreet Rattan - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (1):31-53.
    Recently, philosophers have put forth views in the epistemology of disagreement that emphasize the epistemic relevance of the first-person perspective in disa- greement. In the first part of the paper, I attempt a rational reconstruction of these views. I construe these views as invoking the first-person perspective to explain why it is rational for parties to a disagreement to privilege their own opinions in the absence of independent explanations for doing so—to privilege without independent explanations. I reconstruct three ways privilege (...)
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  32. Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
    The philosophical interest of verbal disputes is twofold. First, they play a key role in philosophical method. Many philosophical disagreements are at least partly verbal, and almost every philosophical dispute has been diagnosed as verbal at some point. Here we can see the diagnosis of verbal disputes as a tool for philosophical progress. Second, they are interesting as a subject matter for first-order philosophy. Reflection on the existence and nature of verbal disputes can reveal something about the nature of concepts, (...)
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  33. The Importance of Belief in Argumentation: Belief, Commitment and the Effective Resolution of a Difference of Opinion.David M. Godden - 2010 - Synthese 172 (3):397-414.
    This paper examines the adequacy of commitment change, as a measure of the successful resolution of a difference of opinion. I argue that differences of opinion are only effectively resolved if commitments undertaken in argumentation survive beyond its conclusion and go on to govern an arguer’s actions in everyday life, e.g., by serving as premises in her practical reasoning. Yet this occurs, I maintain, only when an arguer’s beliefs are changed, not merely her commitments.
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  34. On Contingently Error-Theoretic Concepts.Kristie Miller - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):181-190.
    An error theorist about a particular discourse combines the cognitivist thesis that the discourse is truth-apt with the thesis that core statements asserted by the discourse are false. For instance, one is an error theorist about witch discourse if one thinks that witch discourse is truth-apt and that some of the entities and properties quantified over by core statements in the discourse, namely witches and magical powers, do not exist and hence that certain core statements of the discourse are false.
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  35. Carnap and Ontological Pluralism.Matti Eklund - 2009 - In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 130--56.
    My focus here will be Rudolf Carnap’s views on ontology, as these are presented in the seminal “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” (1950). I will first describe how I think Carnap’s distinction between external and internal questions is best understood. Then I will turn to broader issues regarding Carnap’s views on ontology. With certain reservations, I will ascribe to Carnap an ontological pluralist position roughly similar to the positions of Eli Hirsch and the later Hilary Putnam. Then I turn to some (...)
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  36. Analysis, Schmanalysis.Steve Petersen - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (2):pp. 289-299.
    In Naming and Necessity, Saul Kripke employs a handy philosophical trick: he invents the term ‘schmidentity’ to argue indirectly for his favored account of identity. Kripke says in a footnote that he wishes someday “to elaborate on the utility of this device”. In this paper, I first take up a general elaboration on his behalf. I then apply the trick to support an attractive but somewhat unorthodox picture of conceptual analysis—one according to which it is a process of forming intentions (...)
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  37. Disagreement and Misunderstanding Across Cultures.Hans Rott - 2007 - In Christian Kanzian & Edmund Runggaldier (eds.), Cultures: Conflict – Analysis – Dialogue, Proceedings of the 29th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Frankfurt/M.: Ontos. pp. 261–275.
    Communication problems between members of different cultures may be due to "genuine" disagreement or "mere" misunderstanding. I argue that there is anthropological evidence that efficient communication across different cultures and languages is feasible, since (i) the degrees of sophistication in thinking or talking are not fundamentally different (the case of "Chinese counterfactuals") and (ii) the basic logics used are not fundamentally different (the case of "Zande logic"). Disagreements and misunderstandings are not clearly separable, however, because (iii) it is only relative (...)
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  38. The Method of Verbal Dispute.Alan Sidelle - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):83-113.
    The idea that disputes which are heated, and apparently important, may nonetheless be 'merely verbal' or 'just semantic' is surely no stranger to any philosopher. I urge that many disputes, both in and out of philosophy, are indeed plausibly considered verbal, and that it would repay us to more frequently consider whether they are so or not. Asking this question is what I call ‘The Method of Verbal Dispute’. Neither the notion nor the method of verbal dispute is new. What (...)
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  39. Quantifier Variance Without Collapse.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    The thesis of quantifier variance is consistent and cannot be refuted via a collapse argument.
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