Manuel R. Vargas, University of San Francisco School of Law and College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy, is publishing Contested Terms and Philosophical Debates in Philosophical Studies. Here is the abstract.
There is a standard set of theoretical options that tend to be proposed in response to putative errors in ordinary thinking about some property. The two main options are forms of either eliminativism or revisionism. Roughly, eliminativism is the denial that the target property exists, and revisionism is the view that the property exists, even if people tend to have false beliefs about it. Recently, Shaun Nichols has proposed a third option: discretionism. Discretionism is the idea that some terms have multiple reference conventions, so that it may be true to say with eliminativists that the property does not exist, and true to say with revisionists (and others) that the property does exist. This article explores the viability of discretionism, and argues that it faces serious difficulties. Even if the difficulties faced by discretionism can be overcome, it is unclear that discretionism secures anything beyond what is already available to standard revisionist views. The article concludes with some reflections about Nichols’ account of the bare retributive norm.Download the article from SSRN at the link.