Metalinguistic Negotiation, Speaker Error, and Charity

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This paper raises a new form of speaker error objection to the analysis of disputes as metalinguistic negotiations in cases in which disputants reject that analysis. It focuses on an obvious but underexplored form of speaker error: speakers’ misattribution of contents both to others and to themselves. It argues that the analyses of disputes that posit this type of speaker error are uncharitable in three different ways: first, by portraying speakers as mistaken interpreters of their interlocutors; second, by portraying speakers as uncharitable interpreters of their interlocutors; third, by portraying speakers who retract their claims as mistaken interpreters of their own prior utterances. Taken together, these unfavorable consequences weigh significantly against the plausibility of this type of analysis for the cases in question.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1016
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Disagreement
  • Disagreement over meaning
  • Metalinguistic negotiation
  • Speaker error
  • The principle of charity


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