Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 665–684 | Cite as

Uniformity motivated

  • Cameron Domenico Kirk-GianniniEmail author


Can rational communication proceed when interlocutors are uncertain which contents utterances contribute to discourse? An influential negative answer to this question is embodied in the Stalnakerian principle of uniformity, which requires speakers to produce only utterances that express the same content in every possibility treated as live for the purposes of the conversation. The principle of uniformity enjoys considerable intuitive plausibility and, moreover, seems to follow from platitudes about assertion; nevertheless, it has recently proven controversial. In what follows, I defend the principle by developing two arguments for it based on premises reflecting the central aims and assumptions of possibility-carving frameworks for modeling inquiry—that is, frameworks which describe the evolution of individuals’ attitudinal states in terms of set-theoretic operations defined over a domain of objects representing possibilities.


Assertion Inquiry Uniformity Stalnaker 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Almotahari, M., & Glick, E. (2010). Context, content, and epistemic transparency. Mind, 119, 1067–1086.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cappelen, H., & Hawthorne, J. (2009). Relativism and monadic truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gibbard, A. (2007). Propositions: Not what we believe? Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  4. Glanzberg, M. (2011). More on operators and tense. Analysis, 71, 112–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hawthorne, J., & Magidor, O. (2009). Assertion, context, and epistemic accessibility. Mind, 118, 377–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hawthorne, J., & Magidor, O. (2011). Assertion and epistemic opacity. Mind, 119, 1087–1105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. King, J. C. (2003). Tense, modality, and semantic values. Philosophical Perspectives, 17, 195–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lewis, D. (1980). Index, context, and content. In S. Kanger & S. Öhman (Eds.), Philosophy and grammar (pp. 79–100). Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Quine, W. V. (1940). Mathematical logic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Schlenker, P. (2011). Indexicality and de se reports. In K. von Heusinger, C. Maienborn, & P. Portner (Eds.), Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning (Vol. 2, pp. 1561–1604). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.Google Scholar
  11. Stalnaker, R. C. (1970). Pragmatics. Synthese, 22, 272–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Stalnaker, R. C. (1978/1999). Assertion. Syntax and Semantics, 9, 315–332. (Cited after the reprint in Stalnaker, Context and content. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 78–95).Google Scholar
  13. Stalnaker, R. C. (2009). On Hawthorne and Magidor on assertion, context, and epistemic accessibility. Mind, 118, 399–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Stalnaker, R. C. (2014). Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. von Stechow, A., & Zimmermann, T. E. (2005). A problem for a compositional treatment of de re attitudes. In G. Carlson & F. J. Pelletier (Eds.), Reference and quantification: The Partee effect (pp. 207–228). Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations