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Sagi, Gil (1. August 2017): Contextualism, Relativism and the Liar. In: Erkenntnis, Vol. 82, No. 4: pp. 913-928 [PDF, 122kB]

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Contextualist theories of truth appeal to context to solve the liar paradox: different stages of reasoning occur in different contexts, and so the contradiction is dispelled. The word `true' is relativized by the contextualists to contexts of use. This paper shows that contextualist approaches to the liar are committed to a form of semantic relativism: that the truth value of some sentences depends on the context of assessment, as well as the context of use. In particular, it is shown how Simmons's and Glanzberg's contextualist approaches entail relativism. In both cases, the liar sentence gets different semantic evaluations as uttered in a fixed context of use but assessed from different contexts. Shift in context of use alone cannot provide the full explanation of the liar. These contextualist approaches, as originally presented, were thus mischaracterised and they should be re-evaluated according to their full implications.

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