1st BIAP Workshop: Disagreements
Barcelona, 24 – 25 January 2019
Venue: Sala Gran, Faculty of Philosophy (4th floor), University of Barcelona, Montalegre 6 (08001, Barcelona)
Registration: no registration fee, but if interested in attending please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Organized by: BIAP; contact: Carl Hoefer (email@example.com)
Funding: ‘Perspectival Thoughts and Facts: New Questions’ research project (MINECO FFI2016-81858-REDC) and LOGOS research group (2017-SGR-0063)
PROGRAMME (download the programme in PDF here)
10:00 – 11:15 – Dan Lopez de Sa (ICREA – U. Barcelona), “No “Lost Disagreement” Argument Against Contextualism”
11:15 – 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 12:45 – Giulio Pietroiusti (U. Barcelona), “Disagreement and Conflict: how moral and taste judgments do not differ”
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch
14:30 – 15:45 – Teresa Marques (U. Barcelona), “Disagreement with a Bald-Faced Liar”
15:45 – 16:00 Break
16:00 – 17:15 – José Juan Moreso (U. Pompeu Fabra), “Faultless Disagrements and Justificative Ascent”
17:15 – 18:30 – Manolo Martínez (U. Barcelona), “Deception as Cooperation”
10:00 – 11:15 – Michele Palmira (U. Barcelona), “Philosophical Disagreement and the Commitment Challenge”
11:15 – 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 12:45 – Frederick Schauer (U. Virginia), “Rightful Deprivations of Rights”
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch
14:45 – 16:00 – Josep Macià (U. Barcelona), “Tolerance and the Epistemology of Disagreement”
16:00 – 16:15 Break
16:15 – 18:00 BIAP Scientific Committee Meeting
ABSTRACTS (download the abstracts in PDF here)
Dan Lopez de Sa (ICREA – U. Barcelona): “No “Lost Disagreement” Argument Against Contextualism”
We use disagreement for the contrast in attitudes—however it is to be ultimately articulated. As many have argued, disagreement in this sense can be ultimately constituted by contrast in conative attitudes, and contextualism as a semantic claim is obviously compatible with this. So there is no “lost disagreement” argument against contextualism—contrary to what is often claimed. There is however a genuine difficulty for contextualism concerning how disagreement is expressed in language or, as we say, in disputes: that of licensing linguistic denial (and related). Why is it OK to answer ‘no, it’s not tasty’ to ‘it is tasty’ given that, according to contextualism, both can be true? No “lost disagreement” argument against contextualism—but a genuine difficulty concerning (linguistic expression of disagreement in) disputes.
Giulio Pietroiusti (U. Barcelona): “Disagreement and conflict: how moral and taste judgments do not differ”
Many think that we intuitively take moral disagreements to be non-faultless and disagreements about taste to be faultless. Eriksson (2016), in order to account for this alleged difference in intuitions, postulates an asymmetry in the attitudinal complexity of the judgments involved in the two domains: moral thoughts, unlike taste thoughts, are in part a disposition to challenge conflicting judgments. I argue that Eriksson’s arguments are not successful in revealing such an attitudinal difference.
Teresa Marques (U. Barcelona): “Disagreement with a Bald-faced Liar”
This paper offers an account of bald-faced lying that departs from other recent accounts, in particular Keiser’s (2016) and Maitra’s (2018). On these proposals, a bald-face liar is not making an assertion, given the very patent falsity of the statements made. Maitra has argued that a bald-faced liar is engaged in a form of fictionality. I argue that this is an unsatisfactory explanation, and that other extant views of assertion and of lying already gave us the necessary tools to address the nature and effects of bald-face lies.
After offering a summary of Maitra’s and Keiser’s claims, I will review what psychologists call gaslighting, and the current deployment of this notion in political discourse. In both cases, bald-face lying is a tool for the domination of the addressee, or of the audience. Bald-faced lying plants doubts in the audience, either by questioning their perceptions – “who are you going to trust, me or your lying eyes?” –, or their memory – “Great work by my Administration over the holidays to save Coast Guard pay during this #SchumerShutdown.” (Trump had earlier said he was “proud” to take responsibility for shutting down the government), or their rationality – “2 + 2 = 5”. In all cases, the speaker exerts power over the audience by contributing to destroy the audience’s understanding of reality and replacing it with whatever the speaker dictates. This summary allows us to take a wider perspective in understanding bald-faced lies than that offered by Sorensen’s (2007) characterization of bald-faced lies as prima facie lies that are made without the intention to deceive.
Against Maitra’s and Keiser’s views, most accounts of bald-faced lying in the literature take lies to be assertions. There are different accounts of assertion on offer. Among those that Maitra considers, two involve conversational cooperative efforts. Fallis’s (2009) relies on Grice’s quality norm of conversation (assert only what you believe is true), and the liar violates this norm. Stokke (2013) assumes a Stalnakerian account of assertion in terms of updates to the common ground, and the liar proposes to make common ground what he believes to be false. Some constitutive norm accounts like García-Carpintero’s (2004, 2018) also involve conversational cooperative efforts, since, as he argues, to assert is to put others in a position to know.
These accounts, I shall argue, offer us the tools to give a straightforward explanation of how gaslighters and bald-faced liars seek to gain power over their interlocutors. Bullying others into submission is achieved when the speaker establishes his dominance through a blatant disregard for conversational cooperative norms, while exploring and abusing the proper mechanisms of assertion itself. Treating a bald-faced lie as a kind of fiction cannot explain this abuse.
I conclude by arguing that disagreement with a bald-faced liar requires not only reinstating the truth and the respect for shared cooperative norms, but also, and more importantly, to refuse to engage with the abuser under the same norms we assume govern normal conversations.
Fallis, D. (2009), “What is Lying?” The Journal of Philosophy 106: 29–56.
Fallis, D. (2012), “Lying as a Violation of Grice’s First Maxim of Quality,” Dialectica 66: 563–81.
García-Carpintero, M. (2004). “Assertion and the Semantics of Force Markers”. The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction, C. Bianchi (ed.) CSLI Lecture Notes, The University of Chicago Press Stanford, 2004,133-166.
García-Carpintero, M. (2018). “On the Nature of Presupposition: A Normative Speech Act Account”.Erkenntnis, 1-25. DOI: 10.1007/s10670-018-0027-3.
Keiser, J. (2016), “Bald-Faced Lies: How to Make a Move in a Language Game Without Making a Move in a Conversation,” Philosophical Studies 173: 461–77.
Maitra, I. (2019) “Lying, Acting, and Asserting” in E. Michaelson and A. Stokke Lying, forthcoming with OUP.
Sorensen, R. (2007). “Bald-faced lies! Lying without the intent to deceive”. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly88 (2):251-264.
Stokke, A. (2013), “Lying and Asserting,” Journal of Philosophy 110: 33–60.
José Juan Moreso (U. Pompeu Fabra): “Faultless Disagreements and Justificative Ascent”
In this presentation, I defend both theses: a) if the disagreements are genuine, then they are not faultless, and b) in practical questions, often we do not need to ascend until the final premises, and the agreement can be achieved in ‘the region of middle axioms’ (Sidgwick).
Manolo Martínez (U. Barcelona): “Deception as Cooperation”
I develop a rate-distortion analysis of signaling games with imperfect common interest. Sender and receiver should be seen as jointly managing a communication channel with the objective of minimizing two independent distortion measures. I use this analysis to identify a problem with ‘functional’ theories of deception, and in particular Brian Skyrms’s: there are perfectly cooperative, non-exploitative instances of channel management that come out as manipulative and deceptive according to those theories.
Michele Palmira (U. Barcelona): “Philosophical Disagreement and the Commitment Challenge”
Over the last decade, epistemologists of disagreement have warned us that systematic philosophical disagreement amongst epistemic peers challenges our doxastic commitment to our own philosophical theories. Call this the Commitment Challenge. Briefly put, the Commitment Challenge hinges on the idea that disagreement is evidence that one’s belief is the output of a flawed cognitive process. In light of this evidence, one is not rationally permitted to retain one’s belief.
My aim in this talk is to meet the Commitment Challenge. My key claim is that philosophers are rationally permitted to hypothesise, as opposed to believe or accept, their own philosophical theories. Hypothesis, I maintain, is a sui generis attitude of cognitive inclination towards a proposition qua answer to a given question. I fully spell out the functional and normative profiles of hypothesis and argue that my solution compares favourably with related views put forward by Helen Beebee (2018) and Sandy Goldberg (2013).
Frederick Schauer (U. Virginia): “Rightful Deprivations of Rights”
It is widely accepted that rights – moral, and, typically, legal – may be overridden in particular circumstances by other rights or by especially strong considerations of non-rights-based goods. Susceptibility to override is not a necessary property of rights – there can be absolute rights. But overrideable rights are still rights. And because this is so, there is, it is said, a “moral residue” when rights are overridden, such that the person whose rights are overridden, even justifiably so, is still entitled to something, and the agent who justifiably restricts the rights of another may still have a duty of redress. But what does a moral residue amount to, what are the entitlements of the person whose rights have been rightfully infringed, and what are the duties of those who rightfully infringe the rights of others? We might think that those whose rights are infringed are nonetheless entitled to compensation or other forms of redress, but, curiously, and with the obvious exception of governmental takings of land by eminent domain, compensation, whether monetary or otherwise, is rarely available to those whose rights are rightfully infringed. This paper examines this phenomenon, and suggests that the widespread practice of non-redress for the rightful deprivations of rights reveals a quite different picture of what rights are and of how right operate.
Josep Macià (U. Barcelona): “Tolerance and the Epistemology of Disagreement”
In this talk I will explore the relationship between (i) to be tolerant with respect to normative area X (that is, to be disposed not to constrain certain actions by others regarding X that we, nonetheless, believe to be incorrect), and (ii) to be inclined to have our own beliefs and actions regarding X to be affected by those of others – which I will understand as: to be inclined (a) to regard others as, at least, partial epistemic peers with respect to X, and (b) to conciliate (at least partially), that is: to have our own beliefs and actions affected in certain specific ways by those of our (at least partial) X-epistemic peers.