The thesis that meaning or content are normative has a weaker and a stronger construal. On the weaker construal suggested by Kripke in his Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982), to say that meaning is normative is just to say that the fact that an expression is meaningful entails that certain uses of it are correct or incorrect. However, many people have argued that the fact that meaningful expressions have correct or incorrect uses doesn’t entail anything about normativity in the sense of involving permissibility, requirements etc. For example, it might be incorrect to use ‘Snow is green’ because it results in a factual mistake, but it doesn’t follow from this alone that one isn’t permitted to do so. On a stronger construal, to say that meaning is normative is to say that the fact that an expression is meaningful entails that certain uses of it are permissible or required while others are not. Almost everybody grants that meaning is normative in the weaker sense, what’s at stake is whether it is also normative in the stronger sense. Anti-Normativists deny this, arguing that correctness of uses can be understood wholly in non-normative terms. Normativists affirm it, arguing that it can’t. One way they do this is by arguing that there is a sense of correct use which is compatible with making a factual mistake and does entail something about permissibility, requirements etc. For example, it might be incorrect to use ‘Snow is white’ when one doesn’t believe that snow is white or doesn’t want one’s audience to come to believe this, even though using it wouldn’t involve making a factual mistake.
|Introductions||Greenberg 2005, Glüer & Wikforss 2010|
- Kripkenstein on Meaning (155)
- Meaning Holism (194)
- Speaker Meaning and Semantic Meaning (37)
- Aspects of Meaning, Misc (28)
- Inferentialist Accounts of Meaning and Content (245)
- Naturalism and Intentionality (86)
- Rule-Following (196)
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it:
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers