Principles of Interpretive Charity and the Semantics of Knowledge Attributions

Acta Analytica 31 (2):153-168 (2016)
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Positions in the debate about the correct semantics of “S knows that p” are sometimes motivated in part by an appeal to interpretive charity. In particular, non-skeptical views hold that many utterances of the sentence “S knows that p” are true and some of them think the fact that their views are able to respect this is a reason why their views are more charitable than skeptical invariantism. However, little attention has been paid to why charity should be understood in this way and little effort has been spent justifying the notion that a charitable semantics is likely to be true. I distinguish two kinds of interpretive charity. One principle of charity is often appealed to in the literature. I introduce a second. I argue that while some positions better respect one principle of charity, the reverse is true of the other principle of charity. I conclude with some remarks about how to break this apparent tie.

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Gregory Stoutenburg
York College Of Pennsylvania

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Strict moderate invariantism and knowledge-denials.Gregory Stoutenburg - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):2029-2044.
Unger's Argument from Absolute Terms.Gregory Stoutenburg - 2017 - Philosophical Papers 46 (3):443-461.
Loose talk, the context of assessment, and skeptical invariantism.Wayne A. Davis - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in an uncertain world.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Matthew McGrath.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.

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