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  • 851.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    A plea for pragmatics2009In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 170, no 1, p. 155-167Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Let intentionalism be the view that what proposition is expressed in context by a sentence containing indexicals depends on the speaker’s intentions. It has recently been argued that intentionalism makes communicative success mysterious and that there are counterexamples to the intentionalist view in the form of cases of mismatch between the intended interpretation and the intuitively correct interpretation. In this paper, I argue that these objections can be met, once we acknowledge that we may distinguish what determines the correct interpretation from the evidence that is available to the audience, as well as from the standards by which we judge whether or not a given interpretation is reasonable. With these distinctions in place, we see that intentionalism does not render communicative success mysterious, and that cases of mismatch between the intended interpretation and the intuitively correct one can easily be accommodated. The distinction is also useful in treating the Humpty Dumpty problem for intentionalism, since it turns out that this can be treated as an extreme special case of mismatch.

  • 852.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Communication and indexical reference2010In: Philosophical Studies, ISSN 0031-8116, E-ISSN 1573-0883, Vol. 149, no 3, p. 355-366Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since there are cases of mismatch where the intuitively correct reference differs from the one that would be determined by the relevant internal factors. The aim of this paper is to show that, contrary to this line of argument, it is the proponent of the second position that should be worried, since this position yields counterintuitive consequences regarding communicative success in cases of mismatch.

  • 853.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Contextualist theories of vagueness2012In: Philosophy Compass, ISSN 1747-9991, E-ISSN 1747-9991, Vol. 7, no 7, p. 470-480Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    During the last couple of decades, several attempts have been made to come up with a theory that can handle the various semantic, logical and philosophical problems raised by the vagueness of natural languages. One of the most influential ideas that have come into fashion in recent years is the idea that vagueness should be analysed as a form of context sensitivity. Such contextualist theories of vagueness have gained some popularity, but many philosophers have remained sceptical of the prospects of finding a tenable contextualist solution to the problems of vagueness. This paper provides an introduction to the most popular contextualist accounts, and a discussion of some of the most important arguments for and against them.

  • 854.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Extensions in Flux: An Essay on Vagueness and Context Sensitivity2009Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The extensions of vague predicates like ‘is bald’, ‘is tall’, and ‘is a heap’ apparently lack sharp boundaries, and this makes such predicates susceptible to soritical reasoning, i.e. reasoning that leads to some version of the notorious sorites paradox. This essay is concerned with a certain kind of theory of vagueness, according to which the symptoms and puzzles of vagueness should be accounted for in terms of a particular species of context sensitivity exhibited by vague expressions. The basic idea is that the extensions of vague predicates vary with certain contextual factors, and that this fact can explain why they appear to lack sharp boundaries. This kind of view is referred to as contextualism about vagueness. A detailed characterisation of contextualism about vagueness is given in chapter two and three. In chapter two, a generic version of contextualism about vagueness is developed, and some alternative forms of context sensitivity are introduced. In chapter three, the specific contextual factors appealed to by different contextualists are discussed. In chapter four, different contextualist diagnoses of the sorites paradox are considered, and found to be problematic in various ways. It is argued that contrary to what some of its proponents have claimed, contextualism about vagueness is not superior to other comparable theories of vagueness when it comes to explaining the appeal of soritical reasoning. In chapter five, a certain version of the sorites paradox, known as the forced march sorites, is discussed. It is argued that “data” about how speakers would behave in the forced march cannot lend any firm support to contextualism about vagueness. In chapter six, some problems concerning the instability of the contextual factors are considered. One problem is that contextualist diagnoses of the sorites which locate a fallacy of equivocation in the reasoning seem to render non-soritical reasoning fallacious as well. A model for treating this problem is suggested, but on closer consideration, it turns out to be problematic. Moreover, this model is of no help in solving the more general problem that even if classical logic remains valid for vague language on some contextualist views, the instability of the extensions of vague predicates makes it difficult to know when a certain piece of reasoning instantiates a valid argument form. Other difficulties arise with respect to speech reports and belief contents. Chapter seven concludes with a summary and some methodological remarks.

  • 855.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Forced-March Sorites Arguments and Linguistic Competence2013In: Dialectica, ISSN 0012-2017, E-ISSN 1746-8361, Vol. 67, no 4, p. 403-426Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Agent relativists about vagueness (henceforth ‘agent relativists’) hold that whether or not an object x falls in the extension of a vague predicate ‘P’ at a time t depends on the judgemental dispositions of a particular competent agent at t. My aim in this paper is to critically examine arguments that purport to support agent relativism by appealing to data from forced-march Sorites experiments. The most simple and direct versions of such forced-march Sorites argu- ments rest on the following (implicit) premise: If competent speakers’ judgements vary in a certain way, then the extensions of ‘P’ as used by these speakers must vary in the same way. This premise is in need of independent support, since otherwise opponents of agent relativism can simply reject it. In this paper, I focus on the idea that one cannot plausibly reject this premise, as that would commit one to implausible claims about linguistic competence. Against this, I argue that one can accommodate the data from forced-march Sorites experiments in a way that is compatible with a plausible picture of linguistic competence, without going agent relativist. Thus, there is reason to be sceptical of the idea that such data paired with considerations about linguistic competence can be invoked in order to lend any solid support to agent relativism. Forced-march Sorites arguments of this kind can, and should be, resisted.

  • 856.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Indexicals and Reference-Shifting: Towards a Pragmatic Approach2017In: Philosophy and phenomenological research, ISSN 0031-8205, E-ISSN 1933-1592, Vol. 95, no 1, p. 117-152Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    I propose a pragmatic approach to the kind of reference-shifting occurring in indexicals as used in e. g. written notes and answering machine messages. I proceed in two steps. First, I prepare the ground by showing that the arguments against such a pragmatic approach raised in the recent literature fail. Second, I take a first few steps towards implementing this approach, by sketching a pragmatic theory of reference-shifting, and showing how it can handle cases of the relevant kind. While the immediate scope of the paper is restricted to indexicals and reference-shifting, and the discussion is confined to a specific range of theories and cases, the approach proposed is compatible with a fairly broad range of more or less semantically conservative theories, and many of the conclusions drawn are significant for the evaluation of pragmatic explanations in philosophy more generally. The overall goal is to offer a new perspective on the issues under discussion, and to prompt philosophers to reconsider some of the established methods by which pragmatic explanations are evaluated.

  • 857.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Infelicitous cancellation: The explicit cancellability test for conversational implicature revisited2015In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0004-8402, E-ISSN 1471-6828, Vol. 93, no 3, p. 465-474Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper questions the adequacy of the explicit cancellability test for conversational implicature as it is commonly understood. The standard way of understanding this test relies on two assumptions: first, that that one can test whether a certain content is (merely) conversationally implicated, by checking whether that content is cancellable, and second, that a cancellation is successful only if it results in a felicitous utterance. While I accept the first of these assumptions, I reject the second one. I argue that a cancellation can succeed even if it results in an infelicitous utterance, and that unless we take this possibility into account we run the risk of misdiagnosing philosophically significant cases.

  • 858.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Raffman, Diana. Unruly Words. A Study of Vague Language2014In: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, ISSN 1538-1617, E-ISSN 1538-1617Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 859.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Recanati, François. Perspectival Thought: A Plea for (Moderate) Relativism2009In: Review of Metaphysics, ISSN 0034-6632, E-ISSN 2154-1302, Vol. 62, no 4Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 860.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    The Communication Desideratum and Theories of Indexical Reference2015In: Mind and language, ISSN 0268-1064, E-ISSN 1468-0017, Vol. 30, no 4, p. 474-499Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    According to the communication desideratum (CD), a notion of semantic content must be adequately related to communication. In the recent debate on indexical reference, (CD) has been invoked in arguments against the view that intentions determine the semantic content of indexicals and demonstratives (intentionalism). In this article, I argue that the interpretations of (CD) that these arguments rely on are questionable, and suggest an alternative interpretation, which is compatible with (strong) intentionalism. Moreover, I suggest an approach that combines elements of intentionalism with other subjectivist approaches, and discuss the role of intuitions in developing and evaluating theories of indexical reference.

  • 861.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Vagueness, semantics and psychology2011In: Philosophical quarterly (Print), ISSN 0031-8094, E-ISSN 1467-9213, Vol. 61, no 242, p. 1-5Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    According to extension-shifting theories of vagueness, the extensions of vague predicates have sharp boundaries, which shift as a function of certain psychological factors. Such theories have been claimed to provide an attractive explanation of the appeal of soritical reasoning. I challenge this claim: the demand for such an explanation need not constrain the semantics of vague predicates at all.

  • 862.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Greenough, Patrick
    University of St Andrews and Arché, University of Sydney.
    Hold the context fixed—vagueness still remains2010In: Cuts and Clouds: Vagueness, Its Nature, and Its Logic / [ed] Richard Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi, Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2010, p. 275-288Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Contextualism about vagueness is the view that vagueness consists in a particular species of context-sensitivity, and that accommodating this fact will yield a plausible solution to the sorites paradox. As many commentators have noted, this view faces the following objection: if the context is held fixed, vagueness still remains, therefore vagueness is not a species of context-sensitivity. In this paper, two replies to this objection are sketched, which result in two very different kinds of contextualism.

  • 863.
    Åkerman, Jonas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Greenough, Patrick
    Department of Philosophy/Arché, University of St Andrews.
    Vagueness and Non-Indexical Contextualism2010In: New Waves in Philosophy of Language / [ed] Sarah Sawyer, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan , 2010, 1, p. 8-23Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 864.
    Århem, Peter
    et al.
    Karolinska Institutet.
    Lindahl, B. I. B.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    On Consciousness and Spontaneous Brain Activity1997In: Matter matters?: on the material basis of the cognitive activity of mind / [ed] Peter Århem, Hans Liljenström, Uno Svedin, Berlin: Springer, 1997, p. 235-253Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 865.
    Århem, Peter
    et al.
    Karolinska Institutet.
    Lindahl, B. I. B.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Manger, Paul R.
    University of the Witwatersrand.
    Butler, Ann B.
    The Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study.
    On the Origin of Consciousness: Some Amniote Scenarios2008In: Consciousness Transitions: Phylogenetic, Ontogenetic, and Physiological Aspects / [ed] Hans Liljenström, Peter Århem, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2008, p. 77-96Chapter in book (Other academic)
15161718 851 - 865 of 865
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