Understanding, Luck, and Communicative Value.

In Abrol Fairweather & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Linguistic Luck: Safeguards and Threats to Linguistic Communication. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Does utterance understanding require reliable (i.e. non-lucky) recovery of the speaker’s intended proposition? There are good reasons to answer in the affirmative: the role of understanding in supporting testimonial knowledge seemingly requires such reliability. Moreover, there seem to be communicative analogues of Gettier cases in which luck precludes the audience’s understanding an utterance despite recovering the intended proposition. Yet, there are some major problems with the view that understanding requires such reliability. Firstly, there are a number of cases in which understanding seems to occur in a lucky way. In light of these cases I argue that we need to narrow down the precise sense in which understanding precludes luck – the anti-luck condition attached to linguistic understanding is importantly different to anti-luck conditions typically applied to knowledge. Secondly, Megan Hyska has recently argued that, assuming understanding precludes luck, we get a communicative analogue of the value problem for knowledge. i.e. why is it better to meet the other conditions for understanding in a reliable way than in a lucky way? It is natural to assume that we can simply port over our favoured responses to the epistemic value problem in response to Hyska’s challenge. I argue that, due to the difference between epistemic and communicative luck (discussed in response to the first problem), this cannot be done. The epistemic and communicative value problems will require different solutions. I close by sketching the beginnings of an alternative answer to the value problem for communication.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Reassessing Lucky Understanding.Miloud Belkoniene - 2023 - Episteme 20 (2):513-527.
Philosophical-literary understanding the loneliness of postmodern age.O. Chaplins'ka - 2012 - Epistemological studies in Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences 2 (22):154-157.
Referential Intentions and Communicative Luck.Andrew Peet - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):379-384.
Language and Know-How.David Simpson - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):629–643.
Getting Moral Luck Right.Lee John Whittington - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):654-667.
Freedom of communicative action.Lawrence B. Solum - 1989 - Northwestern University Law Review 83 (1):54-135.
A Defense of Lucky Understanding.Kevin Morris - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):357-371.
Utterance Understanding, Knowledge, and Belief.Lars Dänzer - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.


Added to PP

196 (#102,443)

6 months
84 (#57,572)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Peet
Umeå University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Epistemology and cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
The logical basis of metaphysics.Michael Dummett - 1991 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

View all 47 references / Add more references