•  612
    In constructing semantic theories of normative and evaluative terms, philosophers have commonly deployed a certain type of disagreement -based argument. The premise of the argument observes the possibility of genuine disagreement between users of a certain normative or evaluative term, while the conclusion of the argument is that, however differently those speakers employ the term, they must mean the same thing by it. After all, if they did not, then they would not really disagree. We argue that…Read more
  •  319
    Disagreements about taste
    Philosophical Studies 155 (2): 267-288. 2011.
    I argue for the possibility of substantive aesthetic disagreements in which both parties speak truly. The possibility of such disputes undermines an argument mobilized by relativists such as Lasersohn (Linguist Philos 28:643–686, 2005) and MacFarlane (Philos Stud 132:17–31, 2007) against contextualism about aesthetic terminology. In describing the facts of aesthetic disagreement, I distinguish between the intuition of dispute on the one hand and the felicity of denial on the other. Considered se…Read more
  •  117
    Disagreement, Error, and an Alternative to Reference Magnetism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4). 2012.
    Lewisian reference magnetism about linguistic content determination [Lewis 1983 has been defended in recent work by Weatherson [2003] and Sider [2009], among others. Two advantages claimed for the view are its capacity to make sense of systematic error in speakers' use of their words, and its capacity to distinguish between verbal and substantive disagreements. Our understanding of both error and disagreement is linked to the role of usage and first order intuitions in semantics and in linguisti…Read more
  •  69
    Metalinguistic negotiation and speaker error
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-26. forthcoming.
    ABSTRACTIn recent work, we have argued that a number of disputes of interest to philosophers – including some disputes amongst philosophers themselves – are metalinguistic negotiations. Prima facie...
  •  60
    One of Ronald Dworkin's most distinctive claims in legal philosophy is that law is an interpretative concept, a special kind of concept whose correct application depends neither on fixed criteria nor on an instance-identifying decision procedure but rather on the normative or evaluative facts that best justify the total set of practices in which that concept is used. The main argument that Dworkin gives for interpretivism about some conceptis a disagreement-based argument. We argue here that Dwo…Read more
  •  40
    The tasty, the bold, and the beautiful
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6): 793-818. 2016.
    I call into question a pair of closely related assumptions that are almost universally shared in the literature on predicates of taste. The assumptions are, first, that predicates of taste – words like ‘tasty’ – are semantically evaluative. In other words, that it is part of the meaning of a word like ‘tasty’ to describe an object as in some sense good, or to say that it is pleasing. And second, that the meaning of predicates of taste is in some way relativized to an experiencer or standard – th…Read more
  •  1
    Antipositivist Arguments from Legal Thought and Talk: The Metalinguistic Response
    with David Plunkett
    In Graham Hubbs & Douglas Lind (eds.), Pragmatism, Law, and Language, Routledge. pp. 56-75. 2014.