10 August 2012
Venue: Room 501 (Pat Hanan Room), Arts 2 (Building 207)
Host: Stephen Findlay, USC, Dornsife University of Southern California
(This talk is based on ch. 9 of my current book manuscript.) Relational or contextualist accounts of normative (and other) terms face a familiar problem accounting for the extent of disagreement (and agreement). I argue first that this is everybody's problem, because it is hard to deny that some normative claims that intuitively disagree--particularly those made in contexts of deliberation and advice--are relativized to different information. I then demonstrate how by appealing to an intuitive pragmatic principle we can explain how by asserting noncontradictory propositions in certain contexts speakers pragmatically express inconsistent preferences, creating the "disagreement in attitude" to which expressivists appeal ("quasi-expressivism"). I then search for the correct general theory of when normative claims or judgments disagree, and argue that this pragmatic, quasi-expressivist solution is superior to that of pure expressivism.