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Sensibilism and Imaginative Resistance
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Metaphysics.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article discusses why it is that we refuse to accept strange evaluative claims as being true in fictions, even though weare happy to accept other types of absurdities in such stories. For instance, we would refuse to accept the following statement as true in a fiction:

(i)             In killing her baby, Giselda did the right thing; after all, it was a girl.

The diagnosis of the puzzle is the following: when entering a fictional story, we leave our beliefs about what the world is like behind, while taking our emotional attitudes with us into the fiction. If sensibilism is true, the way we feel about things is what settles their evaluative properties. Thus, imagining a scenario were the configuration of the relevant facts and properties are the same, we refuse to go along with that evaluative properties are instantiated according to a different pattern. It is the attitudes we hold in the actual world that fixes the extension of evaluative properties, even at non-actual worlds.

Keywords [en]
Sensibilism; Evaluative discourse; Philosophy of fiction; Aesthetic predicates; Moral predicates; Predicates of personal taste; Imaginative resistance; David Hume
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356594OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-356594DiVA, id: diva2:1236350
Available from: 2018-08-02 Created: 2018-08-02 Last updated: 2018-08-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sense and Sensibility: Four Essays on Evaluative Discourse
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sense and Sensibility: Four Essays on Evaluative Discourse
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The subject of this thesis is the nature of evaluative terms and concepts. It investigates various phenomena that distinguish evaluative discourse from other types of language use. Broadly, the thesis argues that these differences are best explained by the hypothesis that evaluative discourse serves to communicate that the speaker is in a particular emotional or affective state of mind.

The first paper, “Aesthetic Evaluation and First-hand Experience”, examines the fact that it sounds strange to make evaluative aesthetic statements while at the same time denying that you have had first-hand experience with the object being discussed. It is proposed that a form of expressivism about aesthetic discourse best explains the data.

The second paper, “Evaluative Discourse and Affective States of Mind”, discusses the problem of missing Moorean infelicity for expressivism. It is argued that evaluative discourse expresses states of mind attributed by sentences of the form “Nils finds it wrong to tell lies”. These states, the paper argues, are non-cognitive, and the observation therefore addresses the problem of missing infelicity.

The third paper, “Sensibilism and Evaluative Supervenience”, argues that contemporary theories about why the moral supervenes on the non-moral have failed to account for the full extent of the phenomenon. Supervenience pertains not just to the moral but to the evaluative in general, it is a conceptual truth and it involves a relationship with a certain directionality. While all these points have been individually recognized at various points in the literature on moral supervenience, no theory accounts for all them. It is suggested that a kind of sensibilist semantics, according to which the extensions of evaluative terms are determined by how we feel about things, explains the full phenomenon.

The fourth paper, “Sensibilism and Imaginative Resistance”, discusses why we refuse to accept strange evaluative claims as being true in fictions, even though we are happy to accept other types of absurdities as fictionally true. The paper argues that the sensibilist semantics outlined in the third article offers a good diagnosis of the puzzle and compares this to other approaches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Philosophy, 2018. p. 37
Keywords
aesthetics; aesthetic language; evaluative language; expressivism; Allan Gibbard; R.M. Hare; David Hume; John MacFarlane. metaethics; moral language; philosophy of language; predicates of personal taste; relativism; speech-acts
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356595 (URN)978-91-506-2717-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-09-20, Geijersalen, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 15:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Jag lyckas inte fylla i University of Leeds under "University, department", men det är alltså opponentens hemuniversitet. 

Available from: 2018-08-30 Created: 2018-08-02 Last updated: 2018-08-30

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