Papers


forthcoming Variations on Anderson Conditionals, Theoretical Linguistics, 47/3-4

2021 Taste, Traits, and Tendencies, Philosophical Studies, 78/4, pp 1183-1206 (with A. Dinges).

2020 A Direction Effect on Taste Predicates, Philosophers' Imprint, 20/27, pp 1-22 (with A. Dinges).

2020 Much at Stake in Knowledge, Mind and Language (with A. Dinges).

2019 Presupposing Counterfactuality, Semantics and Pragmatics, 12/21.

2019 Embedded Taste Predicates, Inquiry, 34/2, pp 1-22.

2019 Denial and Retraction: A Challenge for Theories of Taste Predicates, Synthese, 196/4, pp 1555-1573.

2018 The Cancellability Test for Conversational Implicatures, Philosophy Compass, 93/3, e12552.

2017 Jesus loves you!, Philosophical Studies, 174/1, pp 237-255.

2017 Biscuit Conditionals and Prohibited 'then', Thought, 6/2, pp 84-92.

Book

2019 Faultless Disagreement. A Defense of Contextualism in the Realm of Personal Taste, Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main.
Book symposion in Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung:
Précis (J. Zakkou)
Comments by Christian Nimtz
Comments by Dirk Kindermann
Replies (J. Zakkou)

Commentaries

2021 Grenzen der Toleranz, Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 75(3), 467-471.

Drafts (available on request)


On Proper Presupposition
This paper investigates the norm of presupposition, as one pervasive type of indirect speech act. It argues against the view that sees presuppositions as an indirect counterpart of the direct speech act of assertion and proposes instead to consider them an indirect counterpart of the direct speech act of assumption. More concretely, it suggests that the norm that governs presuppositions is not an epistemic or doxastic attitude such as knowledge, justified belief, or mere belief; it's a practical attitude, most plausibly the attitude of rational acceptance. This view has important ramifications well beyond debates in philosophy of language and linguistics. It affects not only our view of which speech act sequences are fine and which are off; it bears on whether presuppositions can function as testimony, whether they can be lies, and whether they are ontologically committal, thus addressing central topics in epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics.

Agentive Duality Reconsidered (with Annina Loets)
There is growing consensus in the literature that the class of agentive modals is wider than previously appreciated comprising not only ability modals expressed by 'can' or 'able to' but also compulsion modals expressed by 'must', 'need to' or 'have to'. It is further assumed that such compulsion modals are the duals of ability modals, i.e. that they are equivalent to expressions obtained by placing a negation above and below an ability modal. In this paper we argue that the latter thesis (which we call ''Agentive Duality'') does not sit well with another widely shared commitment in the literature on abilities: that ability requires control. We argue that if ability requires control, there will be cases where an agent can do neither of a pair of contradictory actions A and not-A. And we show that such cases yield absurd compulsion predictions against the background of the assumed duality of ability and compulsion. These observations are philosophically significant since they afford new considerations against which to assess the long-standing debate between possibility analyses of ability modals and their discontents.

On Deniability (with Alexander Dinges)
Strategic speakers often convey their messages by insinuation or innuendo, or by using so-called code words or dogwhistles. Why? Many hold that retaining deniability is one key factor here: people often use these indirect forms of communication because they want to retain deniability. In this paper, we shed light on various questions and puzzles that surround the notion of deniability at issue by offering an account of deniability. On our account, deniability is an epistemic phenomenon. A speaker has deniability if she can make it epistemically irrational for her audience to reason in certain ways. To avoid predictable confusion, we distinguish deniability from a practical correlate we call untouchability. Roughly, a speaker has untouchability if she can make it practically irrational for her audience to act in certain ways.

Entailed Conversational Implicatures
Many philosophers and linguistics agree that there are two kinds of conversational implicatures: there are not only the well-known paradigm examples of conversational implicatures that are not entailed by the sentences that are used to bring them about; there are also less-often discussed conversational implicatures that are entailed by the sentences in question. In this paper, I take a closer look by examining classical candidates as well as novel contenders for entailed conversational implicatures. I argue that one might rightly classify some of these cases as conversational implicatures but show that doing so has so far unnoticed consequences.

Conventional Evaluativity
Some adjectives such as `generous' and `stingy' are used to not only describe the world around us. They are used to also evaluate the things they are applied to. The majority view in metaethics has it that the evaluation is semantically expressed. Väyrynen, however, has recently argued that we should consider it pragmatically conveyed instead. This paper opposes both the majority view and the these days most popular contender. It argues that the evaluation in question is conventionally triggered. In doing so, it shows that the spirit of the majority view can be sustained: the evaluation does belong the the conventional meaning of the respective expressions. It is not a primary meaning, though; it is a secondary meaning as per conventional implicature or semantic presupposition. This result is relevant for various debates in philosophy of language and linguistics. It is particularly interesting, though, for ongoing debates in ethics and metaethics in that it insists that so-called thick terms should have a place at the table of theoretically significant expressions, right besides thin terms.

Varieties of Biscuit Conditionals
It is commonly assumed that there are at least two kinds of indicative conditionals: hypothetical and biscuit conditionals. It is also assumed that there is no analogous distinction within subjunctive conditionals. Subjunctive conditionals, it is generally agreed, are uniformly read hypothetically. In a recent paper, Swanson argues that this is not true: embedded in the contexts of wants and wishes, at least certain subjunctive conditionals are read in a biscuit-like fashion. In this paper, I shall go beyond Swanson's claim. I shall argue that there are indicative biscuit conditionals of four different kinds and that subjunctive versions of all of them can be read as biscuit conditionals, even outside the contexts of wants and wishes.