University of Mannheim
Theoretical Philosophy / Philosophy of Language
Visitors’ ad.: L 9, 5, R. 002, 68161 MA
Postal address: Schloss, 68131 Mannheim
Tel. + 49 621 181 – 2178
The dissertation project aims to develop an expressivist analysis of negated avowals. So far, expressivist theories (Wittgenstein 1953; Bar-On 2004, 2015; Finkelstein 2003; Freitag 2014, 2018) have focused on positive avowals. But negated avowals (disavowals), e.g., “I don’t hope that it is raining,” pose, or seem to pose, a serious problem to avowal expressivism. It is unclear what the utterance of a negated avowal is supposed to express – how can one express the absence of a mental state? The purpose of the dissertation is to examine negated avowals. I will tentatively claim that, in spite of the mentioned problem, they can receive an expressivist interpretation. I propose that disavowals constitute cases of expressive denegation. Thus, we can avoid a descriptivist backlash. An expressivist interpretation of disavowals will, furthermore, contribute to a new understanding of various philosophical problems such as Moore’s paradox and suspension of belief.