A Puzzle About Disputes and Disagreements
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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 (substantive) disagreement, or whether the speakers are only having a merely verbal (terminological) dispute, due to their using different interesting concepts. I show that four individually plausible principles for the determination of the nature of a dispute are incompatible. As an example, I discuss the question whether Sarai lied in the story told in Genesis 12.
KeywordsBasic Fact Actual World Basic Belief Central Idealisation Linguistic Community
I would like to thank audiences in Kirchberg am Wechsel, Lisbon, Leipzig, Prague, Regensburg, Erfurt, Amsterdam and Zürich, the participants of my research seminar in Regensburg, Delia Belleri, Johannes Marti, Vladimir Svoboda, Inga Vermeulen and in particular my commentator Michel Meliopoulos for very helpful discussions on presentations of earlier incarnations of this paper.
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