Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy

Dan López de Sa

University of Barcelona

Significant Verbal Disputes and So-Called “Metalinguistic Negotiations”

06 October 2017, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Some disputes are verbal—in metaphysics (and philosophy) as well as elsewhere. That the disputes are verbal is often taken to express a certain form of skepticism about metaphysics (or perhaps about philosophy more generally): the domains in question are defective, one hears, in that the disputes are “merely” verbal, as opposed to involving substantial questions. This is misguided. Some philosophers, including notably David Chalmers (2011), David Plunket (2015), and Amie Thomasson (2017), have recently emphasized how many disputes are, although verbal, not “merely verbal” but actually quite significant. Both Plunket and Thomasson contend that some, perhaps many, disputes in metaphysics (and philosophy) are to be seen as so-called “metalinguistic negotiations”. Whether there exist cases of metalinguistic negotiation—in general, let alone in metaphysics (and philosophy)—is, however, interesting in itself but controversial. A controversy one can avoid when the purpose is vindicating the significance of (some) verbal disputes.