Literalism and Contextualism: Some VarietiesReport as inadecuate

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1 IJN - Institut Jean-Nicod

Abstract : Both Literalism and Contextualism come in many varieties. There are radical, and less radical, versions of both Literalism and Contextualism. Some intermediate positions are mixtures of Literalism and Contextualism. In this paper I describe several literalist positions, several contextualist positions, and a couple of intermediate positions. My aim is to convince the reader that the Literalism-Contextualism controversy is far from being settled. In the first section, I look at the historical development of Literalism. This development reveals a gradual weakening. The question that naturally arises is: How far can we go in this direction? Where will this tendency ultimately lead us? And the obvious answer is: to Contextualism. In the second section I describe the steps which, from a critique of the currently dominant literalist position (Minimalism), can lead to Contextualism. In the last three sections I describe various contextualist positions, and I discuss possible literalist replies to the contextualist challenge.

Author: François Recanati -



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