Eavesdropping What is it good for?

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Jonathan Phillips
Matthew Mandelkern


Judgments about truth, retraction, and consistency across contexts have been used in recent years to argue both for and against the revisionary theses of relativism about truth and expressivism about apparently truth-apt expressions like epistemic modals. We show that we find the same patterns that have been observed for epistemic modal claims like ‘Might p’ when it comes to first-person attitude claims with the form ‘I think that p’. This poses a serious challenge to many extant accounts of eavesdropping judgments—whether relativist, expressivist, or contextualist in nature—because extending these treatments to the corresponding ‘thinks’ judgments is prima facie implausible. Moreover, we argue, it suggests that eavesdropping judgments will not play an essential role in deciding between these views.

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Matthew Mandelkern, All Souls College, Oxford

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford