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Publications (10 of 13) Show all publications
Nowak, E. (2023). Poetic injustice. Episteme: A journal of individual and social epistemology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Poetic injustice
2023 (English)In: Episteme: A journal of individual and social epistemology, ISSN 1742-3600, E-ISSN 1750-0117Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

When J.R. Cash (Johnny Cash) sings that he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, audiences impressed by the singer's skillful creation and depiction of a nihilistic lyrical subject clap and cheer. When Terrell Doyley (Skengdo) and Joshua Malinga (A.M.) sang broadly similar lyrics at a concert in 2018, London's Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service took them to be describing violent acts they had participated in and violent intentions they harbored, and the lyrics were used as the basis for legal proceedings against the singers that resulted in convictions. In this paper, I will argue that Doyley and Malinga's case illustrates a distinctive and important form that epistemic injustice can take. By failing to see their lyrics as speech that involves the exercise of their capacity for imagination, the police and prosecutors treat them as an impoverished sort of epistemic agent. I will call the wrong involved in cases like this one poetic injustice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2023
Keywords
Epistemic injustice, discursive injustice, imagination, fiction, drill rap
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
aesthetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-217298 (URN)10.1017/epi.2022.47 (DOI)000943877900001 ()
Available from: 2023-11-28 Created: 2023-11-28 Last updated: 2023-11-30
Nowak, E. (2023). Sociolinguistic variation, speech acts, and discursive injustice. The Philosophical Quarterly, 73(4), 1024-1045
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sociolinguistic variation, speech acts, and discursive injustice
2023 (English)In: The Philosophical Quarterly, ISSN 0031-8094, E-ISSN 1467-9213, Vol. 73, no 4, p. 1024-1045Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite its status at the heart of a closely related field, philosophers have so far mostly overlooked a phenomenon sociolinguists call 'social meaning'. My aim in this paper will be to show that by properly acknowledging the significance of social meanings, we can identify an important new set of forms that discursive injustice takes. I begin by surveying some data from variationist sociolinguistics that reveal how subtle differences in the way a particular content is expressed allow us to perform importantly different illocutionary actions, actions we use to do things like constructing a public persona and building a rapport with an audience. The social importance of these activities and the pervasiveness of our engagement in them means that the ethical stakes involved are high - substantial injustices may result if speakers from different social groups are differently empowered with regard to the illocutionary possibilities made available to them by variation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2023
Keywords
discursive injustice, illocutionary silencing, social meaning, sociolinguistics, speech acts, variation
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-215123 (URN)10.1093/pq/pqac063 (DOI)000875748100001 ()2-s2.0-85171834622 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-10-18 Created: 2023-10-18 Last updated: 2023-10-18Bibliographically approved
Michealson, E. & Nowak, E. (2022). On salience-based theories of demonstratives. In: Sophie Archer (Ed.), Salience: a philosophical inquiry (pp. 70-88). Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On salience-based theories of demonstratives
2022 (English)In: Salience: a philosophical inquiry / [ed] Sophie Archer, Routledge, 2022, p. 70-88Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we examine a number of ways in which the notion of salience has been or might be used to fix the reference of demonstrative expressions. Although we find the idea generally attractive, we conclude that the prospects for a theory of demonstrative reference based on salience are not, in fact, very good. We conclude by considering how certain aspects of these salience-based views might be productively integrated into alternative theories of demonstrative reference—and, indeed, theories of meaning more broadly.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-180853 (URN)10.4324/9781351202114-5 (DOI)9780815385196 (ISBN)9781032199474 (ISBN)9781351202114 (ISBN)
Available from: 2021-02-27 Created: 2021-02-27 Last updated: 2022-05-23Bibliographically approved
Nowak, E. (2021). Complex demonstratives, hidden arguments, and presupposition. Synthese, 198(4), 2865-2900
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Complex demonstratives, hidden arguments, and presupposition
2021 (English)In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 198, no 4, p. 2865-2900Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Standard semantic theories predict that non-deictic readings for complex demonstratives should be much more widely available than they in fact are. If such readings are the result of a lexical ambiguity, as Kaplan (in: Almog, Perry, Wettstein (eds) Themes from Kaplan, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977) and others suggest, we should expect them to be available wherever a definite description can be used. The same prediction follows from ‘hidden argument’ theories like the ones described by King (Complex Demonstratives: a Quantificational Account, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2001) and Elbourne (Situations and Individuals, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2005). Wolter (That’s That; the Semantics and Pragmatics of Demonstrative Noun Phrases. Ph.D. thesis, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2006), however, has shown that complex demonstratives admit non-deictic interpretations only when a precise set of structural constrains are met. In this paper, I argue that Wolter’s results, properly understood, upend the philosophical status quo. They fatally undermine the ambiguity theory and demand a fundamental rethinking of the hidden argument approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2021
Keywords
Complex demonstratives, Definite descriptions, Semantics, Pragmatics, Presupposition
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-162616 (URN)10.1007/s11229-019-02250-5 (DOI)000641858800002 ()2-s2.0-85066888454 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-08-25 Created: 2019-08-25 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
Nowak, E. (2021). Language extinction. In: Justin Khoo, Rachel Katharine Sterken (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of social and political philosophy of language: (pp. 281-297). New York: Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language extinction
2021 (English)In: The Routledge handbook of social and political philosophy of language / [ed] Justin Khoo, Rachel Katharine Sterken, New York: Routledge, 2021, p. 281-297Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter discusses the moral and prudential value of preserving endangered languages. The chapter presents a range of reasons from both popular and philosophical sources as why we should care about the fact that minority languages go extinct—from the potential loss of scientific knowledge that might happen only to be captured in an endangered language to the role speaking a language plays in the self-conception of its speakers—before sketching his own view, according to which certain speech acts are only performable in a given language, and so language extinction can lead to silencing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Routledge, 2021
Series
Routledge handbooks in philosophy
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-180852 (URN)10.4324/9781003164869-21 (DOI)2-s2.0-85108129922 (Scopus ID)9781138602434 (ISBN)9780367759575 (ISBN)9781003164869 (ISBN)
Available from: 2021-02-27 Created: 2021-02-27 Last updated: 2024-03-14Bibliographically approved
Nowak, E. & Michaelson, E. (2021). Meta-metasemantics, or the quest for the one true metasemantics. The Philosophical Quarterly, 72(1), 135-154
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Meta-metasemantics, or the quest for the one true metasemantics
2021 (English)In: The Philosophical Quarterly, ISSN 0031-8094, E-ISSN 1467-9213, Vol. 72, no 1, p. 135-154Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What determines the meaning of a context-sensitive expression in a context? It is standardly assumed that, for a given expression type, there will be a unitary answer to this question; most of the literature on the subject involves arguments designed to show that one particular metasemantic proposal is superior to a specific set of alternatives. The task of the present essay will be to explore whether this is a warranted assumption, or whether the quest for the one true metasemantics might be a Quixotic one. We argue that there are good reasons—much better than are commonly appreciated—for thinking the latter, but that there nevertheless remains significant scope for metasemantic theorizing. We conclude by outlining our preferred option, metasemantic pluralism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2021
Keywords
metasemantics, demonstratives, reference, pluralism, particularism I. INTRODUCTION
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-180851 (URN)10.1093/pq/pqab001 (DOI)001018792000008 ()2-s2.0-85127433473 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-02-27 Created: 2021-02-27 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
Nowak, E. & Michaelson, E. (2020). Discourse and Method: Why Appeals to Context Won't Go Away. Linguistics and Philosophy, 43(2), 119-138
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discourse and Method: Why Appeals to Context Won't Go Away
2020 (English)In: Linguistics and Philosophy, ISSN 0165-0157, E-ISSN 1573-0549, Vol. 43, no 2, p. 119-138Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Stojnic ́ et al. (Philos Perspect 27(1):502–525, 2013; Linguist Philos 40(5):519–547, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their ‘prominence/coherence’ theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnic ́ et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to try and offer such a view. Since we are rather sympathetic to the motivations we find, we close by sketching a more plausible alternative.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2020
Keywords
demonstratives, context-sensitivity, salience, prominence/coherence
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-176033 (URN)10.1007/s10988-019-09266-7 (DOI)000520437400001 ()
Available from: 2020-10-17 Created: 2020-10-17 Last updated: 2020-10-20Bibliographically approved
Nowak, E. (2020). Language loss and Illocutionary Silencing. Mind (Print), 129(515), 831-866
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language loss and Illocutionary Silencing
2020 (English)In: Mind (Print), ISSN 0026-4423, E-ISSN 1460-2113, Vol. 129, no 515, p. 831-866Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The twenty-first century will witness an unprecedented decline in the diversity of the world’s languages. While most philosophers will likely agree that this decline is lamentable, the question of what exactly is lost with a language has not been systematically explored in the philosophical literature. In this paper, I address this lacuna by arguing that language loss constitutes a problematic form of illocutionary silencing. When a language disappears, past and present speakers lose the ability to realize a range of speech acts that can only be realized in that language. With that ability, speakers lose something in which they have a fundamental interest: their standing as fully empowered members of a linguistic community.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2020
Keywords
Linguistic justice, language extinction, speech acts, illocutionary silencing
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163541 (URN)10.1093/mind/fzz051 (DOI)000593115600005 ()2-s2.0-85096952351 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-09-25 Created: 2019-09-25 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
Nowak, E. (2020). No context, no content, no problem. Mind and language
Open this publication in new window or tab >>No context, no content, no problem
2020 (English)In: Mind and language, ISSN 0268-1064, E-ISSN 1468-0017Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we would do better not to.

Keywords
demonstratives, semantics, metasemantics, context sensitivity, reference, variablism, variables and assignments
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-175754 (URN)10.1111/mila.12273 (DOI)000510462700001 ()
Available from: 2020-10-08 Created: 2020-10-08 Last updated: 2020-10-08Bibliographically approved
Nowak, E. (2020). Really complex demonstratives: а dilemma. Erkenntnis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Really complex demonstratives: а dilemma
2020 (English)In: Erkenntnis, ISSN 0165-0106, E-ISSN 1572-8420Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

I have two aims for the present paper, one narrow and one broad. The narrow aim is to show that a class of data originally described by Lynsey Wolter (That’s that; the semantics and pragmatics of demonstrative noun phrases, PhD thesis, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2006) empirically undermine the leading treatments of complex demonstratives that have been described in the literature. The broader aim of the paper is to show that Wolter demonstratives, as I will call the constructions I focus on, are a threat not just to existing treatments, but to any possible theory that retains the uncontroversial assumptions that relative clauses always form a constituent with the nouns they modify, and that semantic composition proceeds sequentially and locally, with the inputs to interpretation having the structure syntax tells us they do.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2020
Keywords
complex demonstratives, semantics, pragmatics, context sensitivity, reference
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-175753 (URN)10.1007/s10670-020-00268-7 (DOI)000534678700002 ()
Available from: 2020-10-08 Created: 2020-10-08 Last updated: 2021-05-20
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-5141-3134

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