Erkenntnis 85 (6):1527-1555 (2020)

Karen S. Lewis
Barnard College
Context-sensitivity raises a metasemantic question: what determines the value of a context-sensitive expression in context? Taking gradable adjectives as a case study, this paper argues against various forms of intentionalist metasemantics, i.e. that speaker intentions determine values for context-sensitive expressions in context, including the coordination account recently defended by King :219–237, 2014a; in: Burgess, Sherman Metasemantics: New essays on the foundations of meaning, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 97–118, 2014b). The paper argues that all intentionalist accounts face the speaker authority problem, that speaker intentions are just the wrong sorts of things to determine the standards for gradable adjectives in context. The problem comes to light when we look at cases in which speakers have idiosyncratic, false beliefs that cause their proper communicative intentions to come apart from the non-intentional features of context like the question under discussion, facts about the world, practical goals, and prior linguistic discourse.
Keywords Context-sensitivity  Gradable Adjectives  Metasemantics  Speaker intentions
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-018-0089-2
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Assertion.Robert Stalnaker - 1978 - Syntax and Semantics (New York Academic Press) 9:315-332.
Assertion.Robert C. Stalnaker - 1978 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 179.
Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):180-187.
Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2006 - Critica 38 (114):98-107.

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Contextual Injustice.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2020 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 30 (1):1–30.

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