The autism objection to pretence theories

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A pretence theory of a discourse is one which claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we utter when taking part in the discourse: instead, we are speaking from within a pretence. Jason Stanley argues that if a pretence account of a discourse is correct, people with autism should be incapable of successful participation in it; but since people with autism are capable of participiating successfully in the discourses which pretence theorists aim to account for, all these accounts should be rejected. I discuss how pretence theorists can respond, and apply this discussion to two pretence theories, Stephen Yablo's account of arithmetic and Kendall Walton's account of negative existentials. I show how Yablo and Walton can escape Stanley's objection. © 2010 The Author.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-782
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Quarterly
Issue number241
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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