A coherent bilateralismDavid Ripley (University of Melbourne)
Moot Court Room
Old Quad Building, University of Melbourne
Use-based theories of content come in many different shapes and sizes. One key division is between those that take a single aspect of use to be enough to work with and those that require more. In this talk, the first role will be played by the *unilateralists* (Gentzen, Prawitz, Dummett, Tennant, etc), who take assertion conditions to be the key aspect, and the second role will be played by the *bilateralists* (Price, Rumfitt, Restall, etc), who appeal to separate assertion and denial conditions. I will argue that the bilateralists get the better of this division: their extra resources are necessary to give a plausible account of negation.
Along the way (and this is where I'll spend most of the talk), I'll identify an assumption common to most unilateralists and bilateralists alike: that the assertion conditions for a sentence are the conditions for its *warranted* assertion, and mutatis for denial. I'll argue that this assumption leads to implausible or needlessly contorted theories of disjunction, and that unilateralists and bilateralists alike would do better to follow Restall in identifying assertion conditions with conditions for *coherent* assertion, and mutatis for denial. I'll say some things about how coherence is to be understood in this context; I see it as first and foremost a social notion, in contrast to the primarily epistemological notion of warrant.
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