Friday, May 4: Patrick Muñoz

Please join us this Friday as Patrick Muñoz presents work on metasemantics.

Date and time: Friday, May 4, 11:00 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.

Location: Stuart 209 (Philosophy seminar room)

Title: Experiential predicates: metasemantics and metaphysics


Previous research on experiential predicates (like frightening and tasty) has assumed that if such predicates are taken to have a ‘bare’ semantics, which does not somehow relativize their extensions to experiencers, then because there are in fact no monadic experiential properties (such as being frightening, or tasty, simpliciter), either discourse making use of such predicates must be radically defective, requiring a blindness or error theory (Stojanovic 2007; Hirvonen 2016), or the intensional parameters relative to which extensions are evaluated must be reinterpreted as something more metaphysically neutral than possible worlds that track ‘the way things are’ in some non-deflationary sense (Kölbel 2002; Coppock 2018). I demonstrate that a bare semantics for such predicates, taking English deverbal psych adjectives as exemplary, makes no such commitments, and argue that we instead should make sense of differences in truth judgments regarding such predicates as rooted in metasemantic variation among the speaker population as to which properties such predicates denote. This is normal, since in fact almost no predicates have consistent inter-speaker criteria of application; what differentiates experiential predicates is that the criteria for their application is constrained by the experiential reactions of speakers, and this fact can in turn be traced to their experiential semantics.

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