Logic and Language

Lionel Shapiro (University of Connecticut): Assertoric Force Perspectivalism: Relativism Without Relative Truth

Speaker: Lionel Shapiro (University of Connecticut)
Title: Assertoric Force Perspectivalism: Relativism Without Relative Truth
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: ILLC Meeting Room F1.15

According to relativist accounts of discourse about, e.g., epistemic possibility and matters of taste, the truth of propositions must be relativized to nonstandard parameters. I argue that the central thrust of such accounts should be understood independently of relative truth, in terms of a perspectival account of assertoric force. My point of departure is a stripped-down version of Brandom’s analysis of the normative structure of discursive practice. By generalizing that structure, I make room for an analogue of the "assessment sensitivity" MacFarlane characterizes in terms of relative truth. I argue that my reformulation supplies the rationale for a distinctive feature of MacFarlane’s brand of relativism—his account of when speakers ought to retract their assertions. Furthermore, I show that the view usually regarded as a "moderate" alternative to MacFarlane’s "radical" relativism requires the more radical deviation from an absolutist account of assertoric force.