Institut Jean Nicod

Accueil > Séminaires/Colloques > Soutenances de Thèse et HDR > Soutenance de thèse : Markus Kneer (EHESS)

Soutenance de thèse : Markus Kneer (EHESS)

Soutenance de thèse : Markus Kneer, «Perspective in language»


    François Recanati, (directeur de thèse), EHESS
    Edouard Machery, Université de Pittsburgh
    John Perry, Université de Stanford
    Isidora Stojanovic, CNRS


Mardi 24 novembre 2015 à 16h

Ecole Normale Supérieure - Pavillon Jardin - 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris Petite Salle du Département d’Etudes Cognitives.

Dissertation Abstract

The dissertation explores the properties of perspective-dependent expressions such as predicates of personal taste and epistemic modals. Part I canvasses the three major truth-conditional approaches to perspective-dependence, namely indexical contextualism, nonindexical contextualism and relativism. The view defended is the orthodox view, indexical contextualism, which has recently come under pressure due to two major arguments: The argument from faultless disagreement, which is supposed to motivate nonindexical contextualism, and the argument from required retraction which is supposed to motivate relativism. Both arguments are found wanting on conceptual grounds. Moreover, the empirical premises on which they rely are proven inadequate by means of a series of experiments regarding both taste predicates and modals.

Part II of the dissertation investigates the difference between a moderate nonindexical contextualism and indexicalism. The phenomenon of perspectival plurality is introduced, discussed and argued for on the grounds of empirical evidence. It casts doubt on parameter proliferation, as it blocks operator arguments and presents nonindexicalism with difficulties to account for syntactic binding. Part III qualifies the defense of the orthodoxy. Concerning future contingents, relativism is the most convincing theory. The latter view is then applied to solve a central paradox about knowledge in intentional action.