Philosophy of Language – Research Axis

Head: David Bordonaba

This research axis is articulated around three main topics: disagreement, experimental philosophy of language, and the political turn in the philosophy of language.


Disciplines within analytic philosophy such as epistemology or ethics have addressed the phenomenon of disagreement. A good part of the efforts has been directed to distinguish different types of disagreement: deep disagreement (Lynch, 2010; Kappel, 2012), peer disagreement (De Cruz & De Smedt, 2013; Everett, 2014), or non-straightforwardly factual disagreement (Field 2009). The philosophy of language has not been alien to this practice. A great deal of the literature has focused on explaining different features of taste disagreements. To do this, various types of disagreement have been distinguished, for example, faultless disagreement (Kölbel 2004; MacFarlane 2014) or metalinguistic disagreement (Sundell, 2011; Plunket & Sundell, 2013). Regarding taste disagreements, we are investigating or plan to investigate the following topics:

Dynamic Approaches to Taste Disagreements: we intend to develop a theory that focuses on the dynamic phenomena related to taste disagreements. We will focus on two different aspects that seem to suggest the necessity of considering dynamic components in the explanation: i) taste disagreements are non-straightforwardly factual disagreements, that is, disagreements that can persist even if speakers agree on all features concerning the situation (see Bordonaba 2020; Bordonaba 2021a); ii) taste statements draw “dialectical connections” (Chrisman 2007) between contexts qualitatively different from the dialectical connections drawn by descriptive statements, for example, concerning retraction (see Bordonaba & Villanueva, forthcoming).

The relationship between taste disagreements and other types of disagreement: we will analyze the connection between taste disagreements and other kinds of disagreements such as aesthetic disagreement (see Bordonaba 2021b) or political disagreement.

Experimental Philosophy of Language

Experimental philosophy was born at the beginning of the 21st century as a reaction to armchair philosophy. The most widespread method in the discipline is questionnaires, a method coming from the cognitive sciences. Our purpose is to develop the line in experimental philosophy of language that uses methods coming from corpus linguistics. We plan to promote this novel line of research by investigating the following topics: the role that intuition talk plays in philosophical practice (see Bordonaba forthcoming), the different uses of the notion of context in different disciplines, or cross-linguistic studies on color terms (see Bordonaba & Jreis forthcoming).

The Political Turn in The Philosophy of Language

Analytic philosophy has traditionally been distanced from political questions. However, over the last few decades, there has been a growing interest in applying the analytic philosophy tools to investigate political questions. We have called this interests’ shift “The political turn in analytic philosophy” (see Bordonaba, Fernández & Torices forthcoming). In the philosophy of language, we find several examples of this trend, for example, the silencing and harmful function of pornography or slurs (see Hornsby 1993; Saul 2006; see Bordonaba & Torices forthcoming), the use of propaganda by neo-fascism (see, e.g., Stanley 2018), the different senses in which the term “polarization” can be understood (see Bramson et al. 2017; Bordonaba 2019). Among other things, we will investigate the relation between disagreement and polarization, echo chambers’ influence on speech, or parliamentary discussions.


Bordonaba, D. (2019). Polarización como Impermeabilidad: Cuando las Razones Ajenas no Impotan. Cinta de Moebio, 66, 295-309.

Bordonaba, D. (2020). Coordination of Contexts and Taste Disagreements. Daimon. International Journal of Philosophy, 80, 169-184.

Bordonaba, D. (2021a). Cognitive Penetration and Taste Predicates: Making an Exception to the Rule. Filosofía Unisinos, 22(1), 12-20.

Bordonaba, D. (2021b). Metalinguistic Negotiations and Two Senses of Taste. Diametros, 18(67), 1-20.

Bordonaba, D. (forthcoming). An Analysis of the Centrality of Intuition Talk in the Discussion on Taste Disagreements. Filozofia Nauki.

Bordonaba, D., Fernádez, V. & Torices, J. R. (forthcoming). The Political Turn: Analytic Philosophy as Philosophical Activism. In: D. Bordonaba, V. Fernádez & J. R. Torices (Eds.), The Political Turn in Analytic Philosophy: Reflections on Social Injustice and Oppression. Berlín: De Gruyter.

Bordonaba, D. & Jreis, L. M. (forthcoming). A Cross-linguistic Study on Color Terms in Arabic and Spanish. In: D. Bordonaba (Ed.), Experimental Philosophy of Language: Perspective, Methods and Prospects.

Bordonaba, D. & Torices, J. R. (forthcoming). Paving the Road to Hell: The Spanish Word “MENAS” as a Case Study. Daimon. International Journal of Philosophy.

Bordonaba, D. & Villanueva, N. (forthcoming). Retractación y Contextualismo: Nuevas Condiciones de Adecuación. In: D. Pérez-Chico (Ed.), Contextualismo Semántico. Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza.

Bramson, A., Grim, P., Singer, D. J. et al. (2017). Understanding Polarization: Meanings, Measures, and Model Evaluation. Philosophy of Science, 84(1), 115-159.

Chrisman, M. (2007). From Epistemic Contextualism to Epistemic Expressivism. Philosophical Studies, 135(2), 225–254.

De Cruz, H., & De Smedt, J. (2013). The Value of Epistemic Disagreement in Scientific Practice. The Case of Homo Floresiensis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part A 44(2), 169–177.

Everett, T. J. (2015). Peer Disagreement and Two Principles of Rational Belief. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 93(2), 273–286.

Field, H. (2009). Epistemology without Metaphysics. Philosophical Studies 143, 249–290.

Hornsby, J. (1993). Speech Acts and Pornography. Women’s Philosophy Review, 10, 38–45.

Kappel, K. (2012). The Problem of Deep Disagreement. Discipline Filosofiche, 22(2), 7–25.

Kölbel, M. (2004). Faultless Disagreement. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 104(1), 53–73.

Lynch, M. P. (2010). Epistemic Circularity and Epistemic Disagreement. In: A. Haddock, A. Millar, & D. Pritchard (Eds.), Social Epistemology (pp. 262-277). Oxford University Press.

MacFarlane, J. (2014). Assessment-sensitivity: Relative Truth and its Applications. Oxford University Press.

Plunkett D., & Sundell T. (2013). Disagreement and the Semantics of Normative and Evaluative Terms. Philosophers’ Imprint, 13(23), 1–37.

Saul, J. (2006). Pornography, Speech Acts and Context. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 106(2), pp. 227–246.

Stanley, J. (2018). How Fascism Works. The Politics of Us and Them. New York: Random House.

Sundell, T. (2011). Disagreements about Taste. Philosophical Studies, 155(2), 267–288.