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The thesis that meaning is normative is the thesis that the fact that an expression is meaningful entails that certain uses of it are permissible or required while others are not. Kripke famously used this thesis as an explicit standard for evaluation of views of meaningfulness in his Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982). A standard argument in favor of it goes as follows: first, certain uses of an expression are intuitively semantically correct while others are misuses; second, correctness entails permissibility. Anti-Normativists usually grant the first premise, but reject the second, arguing that correctness can be understood in non-normative terms. Interestingly, there’s no universal agreement neither among Normativists nor Anti-Normativists as to what it means to say that uses of an expression are semantically correct. A common view is that it just means to say that they don’t result in making factual mistakes like saying something false. However, an entirely different construal is that it means to say that they are in accordance with the expression’s meaning in a sense which is compatible with making factual mistakes. 

Key works Wittgenstein famously suggested that meaningfulness is to be thought of in terms of rules in his Philosophical Remarks, and Philosophical Investigations. Similar suggestions are made in Stenius 1967 which ties rules with semantic mood and in Searle 1969 and Alston 1999 which tie them with speech acts. These are examples of views which entail normativity of meaning. However, modern discussion of normativity of meaning and content starts with Kripke 1982 who used it as an explicit standard for evaluation of views. Anti-normativist replies to the effect that meaning and/or content are not normative have been provided by Wikforss 2001Boghossian 2003Hattiangadi 2006, and Glüer & Wikforss 2009. Normativist defenses include Whiting 2007, Whiting 2009, Wedgwood 2007, and Wedgwood 2009. Most of the above assume or defend the common construal of correctness in terms of avoidance of factual mistakes. Alternative construals in terms of use in accordance with meaning have been defended by McGinn 1984 and Millar 2002.
Introductions Greenberg 2005, Glüer & Wikforss 2010
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  1. William Alston (1999). Illocutionary Acts and Sentence Meaning. Cornell University Press.
    William P. Alston. difference in the scope of the rule reflects the fact that I-rules exist for the sake of making communication possible. Whereas their cousins are enacted and enforced for other reasons. We could distinguish I-rules just by this ...
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  2. Aude Bandini (2011). Meaning and the Emergence of Normativity. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):415-431.
    Linguistic meaning has an essential normative dimension that prima facie cannot be reduced to descriptive, non-normative, terms. Taking this point for granted, this paper however aims at proposing a naturalist view of semantics - inspired by Wilfrid Sellars' original works - focused on the way the constitutive normative aspects of meaning might be properly explained and accounted for, rather than eliminated.
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  3. Christian Barth & Holger Sturm (eds.) (2012). Brandoms Expressive Vernunft. Historische und Systematische Untersuchungen. Mentis.
  4. David Beisecker (1999). The Importance of Being Erroneous: Prospects for Animal Intentionality. Philosophical Topics 27 (1):281-308.
    The question of animal belief (or animal intentionality) often degenerates into a frustrating and unproductive exchange. Foes of animal intentionality point out that non-linguistic animals couldn’t possibly possess the kinds of mental states we linguistic beings enjoy. They claim that linguistic ability enables us to become sensitive to intensional contexts or to the states of mind of others in a way that is unavailable to the non-linguistic, and that would be necessary for proper attributions of intentionality. To attribute mental states (...)
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  5. Matteo Bianchin (2012). Bildung, Meaning, and Reasons. Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 41 (1-3):73-102.
    By endorsing that Bildung is a condition for thought, McDowell explicitly sets out to revive a theme in classical german philosophy. As long as the concept of Bildung is intended to play a role in McDowell’s theory of meaning and reasons, however, it is best understood in the light of its distinctive combination of neo-Fregeanism about content and Wittgensteinianism about rule-following. The Fregean part is there to warrant that reasons are objective, the Wittgensteinian move is to account for our grasping (...)
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  6. Akeel Bilgrami (1993). Norms and Meaning. In Ralf Stoecker (ed.), Reflecting Davidson. De Gruyter.
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  7. Paul Boghossian, Is Meaning Normative?
    in Christian Nimtz and Ansgar Beckermann (eds.): Philosophy - Science - Scientific Philosophy. Main Lectures and Colloquia of GAP.5, Fifth International Congress of the Society for Analytical Philosophy, Bielefeld, 2003, Mentis, 2005.
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  8. Paul A. Boghossian (2003). The Normativity of Content. Philosophical Issues 13 (1):31-45.
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  9. Robert Brandom (2000). Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism. Harvard University Press.
    This new work provides an approachable introduction to the complex system that Making It Explicit mapped out.
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  10. Robert B. Brandom (2001). Modality, Normativity, and Intentionality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (3):611-23.
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  11. Robert B. Brandom (1994). Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment. Harvard University Press.
    What would something unlike us--a chimpanzee, say, or a computer--have to be able to do to qualify as a possible knower, like us? To answer this question at the very heart of our sense of ourselves, philosophers have long focused on intentionality and have looked to language as a key to this condition. Making It Explicit is an investigation into the nature of language--the social practices that distinguish us as rational, logical creatures--that revises the very terms of this inquiry. Where (...)
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  12. Robert Briscoe (2006). Individualism, Externalism and Idiolectical Meaning. Synthese 152 (1):95-128.
    Semantic externalism in contemporary philosophy of language typically – and often tacitly – combines two supervenience claims about idiolectical meaning (i.e., meaning in the language system of an individual speaker). The first claim is that the meaning of a word in a speaker’s idiolect may vary without any variation in her intrinsic, physical properties. The second is that the meaning of a word in a speaker’s idiolect may vary without any variation in her understanding of its use. I here show (...)
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  13. Andrei Buleandra (2008). Normativity and Correctness: A Reply to Hattiangadi. [REVIEW] Acta Analytica 23 (2):177-186.
    In this paper I will present and evaluate Anandi Hattiangadi’s arguments for the conclusion that meaning is not intrinsically normative or prescriptive. I will argue that she misconstrues the way the thesis that meaning is normative is presented in the literature and that there is an important class of semantic rules that she fails to consider and rule out. According to Hattiangadi, defenders of meaning prescriptivity argue that speaking truthfully is a necessary condition for speaking meaningfully. I will maintain that (...)
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  14. Tyler Burge (1986). Intellectual Norms and Foundations of Mind. Journal of Philosophy 83 (December):697-720.
  15. Krister Bykvist & Anandi Hattiangadi (2007). Does Thought Imply Ought? Analysis 67 (296):277–285.
  16. Alex Byrne (2002). Semantic Values? [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (1):201-7.
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  17. Clotilde Calabi & Alberto Voltolini (2005). Should Pride of Place Be Given to the Norms? Intentionality and Normativity. Facta Philosophica 7 (1):85-98.
    Reasons motivate our intentions and thus our actions, justify our beliefs, ground our hopes and connect our feelings of shame and pride to our thoughts. Given that intentions, beliefs and emotions are intentional states, intentionality is strongly connected with normativity. Yet what is more precisely their relationship? Some philosophers, notably Brandom and McDowell, contend at places that intentionality is intrinsically normative. In this paper, we discuss Brandom and McDowell’s thesis and the arguments they provide for its defence. In contrast to (...)
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  18. Manuel de Pinedo (2004). Truth Matters: Normativity in Thought and Knowledge. Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 19 (2):137-154.
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  19. Ezequiel A. Di Paolo (2005). Autopoiesis, Adaptivity, Teleology, Agency. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (4):429-452.
    A proposal for the biological grounding of intrinsic teleology and sense-making through the theory of autopoiesis is critically evaluated. Autopoiesis provides a systemic language for speaking about intrinsic teleology but its original formulation needs to be elaborated further in order to explain sense-making. This is done by introducing adaptivity, a many-layered property that allows organisms to regulate themselves with respect to their conditions of viability. Adaptivity leads to more articulated concepts of behaviour, agency, sense-construction, health, and temporality than those given (...)
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  20. Reinaldo Elugardo (2008). Review of Anandi Hattiangadi, Oughts and Thoughts: Scepticism and the Normativity of Meaning. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (4).
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  21. Pascal Engel (2002). Intentionality, Normativity, and Community. Facta Philosophica 4 (1):25-49.
    Against the view that the normativity of mental content is social content, I argue that it is not, examining the views of Wittgenstein, Davidson, Brandom and Pettit.
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  22. Pascal Engel (2002). The Norms of Thought: Are They Social? Mind and Society 2 (3):129-148.
    A commonplace in contemporary philosophy is that mental content has normative properties. A number of writers associate this view to the idea that the normativity of content is essentially connected to its social character. I agree with the first thesis, but disagree with the second. The paper examines three kinds of views according to which the norms of thought and content are social: Wittgenstein’s rule following considerations, Davidson’s triangulation argument, and Brandom’s inferential pragmatics, and criticises each. It is argued that (...)
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  23. Pascal Engel (2000). Wherein Lies the Normative Dimension in Meaning and Mental Content? Philosophical Studies 100 (3):305-321.
    This paper argues that the normative dimension in mental and semantic content is not a categorical feature of content, but an hypothetical one, relative to the features of the interpretation of thoughts and meaning. The views of Robert Brandom are discussed. The thesis defended in this paper is not interpretationist about thought. It implies that the normative dimension of content arises from the real capacity of thinkers and speakers to self ascribe thoughts to themselves and to reach self knowledge of (...)
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  24. Michael Esfeld, Inferentialism and the Normativity Trilemma.
    It is common to base an inferential semantics on a social, normative pragmatics, thus conceiving meaning as consisting in certain normative relations (Wittgenstein, Sellars, Brandom). This position faces a trilemma, which is of wider application, concerning all normative statements: (1) Normative statements are true or false. Regarding a certain normative statement as true does not imply that it is true, not even if a whole community takes the statement in question to be true (cognitivism). (2) There are no normative entities (...)
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  25. John Fennell (2000). Davidson on Meaning Normativity: Public or Social. European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):139–154.
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  26. Jerry A. Fodor & Ernest Lepore (1993). Is Intentional Ascription Intrinsically Normative? In B. Dahlbom (ed.), Dennett and His Critics. Blackwell.
    In a short article called “Mid-Term Examination: Compare and Contrast” that epitomizes and concludes his book The Intentional Stance, D. C. Dennett (1987) provides a sketch of what he views as an emerging Interpretivist consensus in the philosophy of mind. The gist is that Brentano’s thesis is true (the intentional is irreducible to the physical) and that it follows from the truth of Brentano’s thesis that: strictly speaking, ontologically speaking, there are no such things as beliefs, desires, or other intentional (...)
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  27. Graeme Forbes (1989). Biosemantics and the Normative Properties of Thought. Philosophical Perspectives 3:533-547.
  28. Ragnar Francén Olinder (2012). Rescuing Doxastic Normativism. Theoria 78 (4):293–308.
    According to doxastic normativism, part of what makes an attitude a belief rather than another type of attitude is that it is governed by a truth-norm. It has been objected that this view fails since there are true propositions such that if you believed them they would not be true, and thus the obligation to believe true propositions cannot hold for these. I argue that the solution for doxastic normativists is to find a norm that draws the right distinction between (...)
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  29. Eric H. Gampel (1997). The Normativity of Meaning. Philosophical Studies 86 (3):221-42.
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  30. Christopher Gauker (2007). The Circle of Deference Proves the Normativity of Semantics. Rivista di Estetica 34 (34):181-198.
    The question whether semantics is a normative discipline can be formulated as a question about the meaning of the word “means”. If I assert, “The word ‘gatto’ in Italian means cat,” what have I done? The naturalist about meaning claims that I have asserted that a certain natural relation obtains between Italian speakers’ tokens of “gatto” and cats. Or at least, I have asserted something about the way Italian speakers use the word “gatto”, which way presumably has something to do (...)
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  31. Christopher Gauker (1995). A New Skeptical Solution. Acta Analytica 113 (14):113-129.
    Kripke's puzzle about rule-following is a form of the traditional problem of the nature of linguistic meaning. A skeptical solution explains not what meaning is but the role that talk of meaning plays in the linguistic community. Contrary to what some have claimed, the skeptical approach is not self-refuting. However, Kripke's own skeptical solution is inadequate. He has not adequately explained the conditions under which we are justified in attributing meanings or the utility of the practice of attributing meanings. An (...)
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  32. Allan Gibbard (1994). Meaning and Normativity. Philosophical Issues 5:95-115.
    The concepts of meaning and mental content resist naturalistic analysis. This is because they are normative: they depend on ideas of how things ought to be.
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  33. Allan F. Gibbard (2003). Thoughts and Norms. Philosophical Issues 13 (1):83-98.
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  34. Allan F. Gibbard (1996). Thoughts, Norms, and Discursive Practices: Commentary on Brandom. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (3):699-717.
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  35. Hannah Ginsborg (2012). Meaning, Understanding and Normativity. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):127-146.
    I defend the normativity of meaning against recent objections by arguing for a new interpretation of the ‘ought’ relevant to meaning. Both critics and defenders of the normativity thesis have understood statements about how an expression ought to be used as either prescriptive (indicating that speakers have reason to use the expression in a certain way) or semantic (designating certain uses as correct in a sense explicable in terms of truth). I propose an alternative view of the ‘ought’ as conveying (...)
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  36. Hannah Ginsborg (2011). Inside and Outside Language: Stroud's Nonreductionism About Meaning. In Jason Bridges, Niko Kolodny & Wai-Hung Wong (eds.), The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Essays for Barry Stroud. Oxford University Press.
    I argue that Stroud's nonreductionism about meaning is insufficiently motivated. First, given that he rejects the assumption that grasp of an expression's meaning guides or instructs us in its use, he has no reason to accept Kripke's arguments against dispositionalism or related reductive views. Second, his argument that reductive views are impossible because they attempt to explain language “from outside” rests on an equivocation between two senses in which an explanation of language can be from outside language. I offer a (...)
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  37. Hannah Ginsborg (2011). Review of Oughts and Thoughts: Rule-Following and the Normativity of Content, by Anandi Hattiangadi. [REVIEW] Mind 119 (476):1175-1186.
    Anandi Hattiangadi packs a lot of argument into this lucid, well-informed and lively examination of the meaning scepticism which Kripke ascribes to Wittgenstein. Her verdict on the success of the sceptical considerations is mixed. She concludes that they are sufficient to rule out all accounts of meaning and mental content proposed so far. But she believes that they fail to constitute, as Kripke supposed they did, a fully general argument against the possibility of meaning or content. Even though we are (...)
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  38. Hannah Ginsborg (2011). Primitive Normativity and Skepticism About Rules. Journal of Philosophy 108 (5):227-254.
  39. Kathrin Gluer (1999). Sense and Prescriptivity. Acta Analytica 14 (23):111-128.
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  40. Kathrin Glüer & Asa Wikforss, The Normativity of Meaning and Content. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    There is a long tradition of thinking of language as conventional in its nature, dating back at least to Aristotle De Interpretatione ). By appealing to the role of conventions, it is thought, we can distinguish linguistic signs, the meaningful use of words, from mere natural ‘signs’. During the last century the thesis that language is essentially conventional has played a central role within philosophy of language, and has even been called a platitude (Lewis 1969). More recently, the focus has (...)
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  41. Kathrin Glüer & Åsa Wikforss (2009). Against Content Normativity. Mind 118 (469):31-70.
    As meaning's claim to normativity has grown increasingly suspect the normativity thesis has shifted to mental content. In this paper, we distinguish two versions of content normativism: 'CE normativism', according to which it is essential to content that certain 'oughts' can be derived from it, and 'CD normativism', according to which content is determined by norms in the first place. We argue that neither type of normativism withstands scrutiny. CE normativism appeals to the fact that there is an essential connection (...)
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  42. Michael Gorman (2003). Subjectivism About Normativity and the Normativity of Intentional States. International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1):5-14.
    Subjectivism about normativity (SN) is the view that norms are never intrinsic to things but are instead always imposed from without. After clarifying what SN is, I argue against it on the basis of its implications concerning intentionality. Intentional states with the mind-to-world direction of fit are essentially norm-subservient, i.e., essentially subject to norms such as truth, coherence, and the like. SN implies that nothing is intrinsically an intentional state of the mind-to-world sort: its being such a state is only (...)
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  43. Michael Gorman (2002). Intentionality, Normativity, and a Problem for Searle. Dialogue 42 (4):703-714.
    At the heart of the philosophy of John Serale there is found a comprehensive biology of the spirit. But there is a tension in his position. On the one hand, modern biology, such as he understands it, requires a certain conception of normativity. On the other hand, the fashion in which Searle himself understands intentionality requires a very different conception of normativity. To resolve the difficulty, Searle must at the same time modify his understanding of biology and nuance his idea (...)
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  44. Mark Greenberg (2005). A New Map of Theories of Mental Content: Constitutive Accounts and Normative Theories. Philosophical Issues 15 (1):299-320.
    In this paper, I propose a new way of understanding the space of possibilities in the field of mental content. The resulting map assigns separate locations to theories of content that have generally been lumped together on the more traditional map. Conversely, it clusters together some theories of content that have typically been regarded as occupying opposite poles. I make my points concrete by developing a taxonomy of theories of mental content, but the main points of the paper concern not (...)
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  45. Andrea Guardo (2014). Semantic Dispositionalism and Non-Inferential Knowledge. Philosophia 42 (3):749-759.
    The paper discusses Saul Kripke's Normativity Argument against semantic dispositionalism: it criticizes the orthodox interpretation of the argument, defends an alternative reading and argues that, contrary to what Kripke himself seems to have been thinking, the real point of the Normativity Argument is not that meaning is normative. According to the orthodox interpretation, the argument can be summarized as follows: (1) it is constitutive of the concept of meaning that its instances imply an ought, but (2) it is not constitutive (...)
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  46. Anandi Hattiangadi (2009). Semantic Normativity in Context. In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Language. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  47. Anandi Hattiangadi (2009). Some More Thoughts on Semantic Oughts: A Reply to Daniel Whiting. Analysis 69 (1):54-63.
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  48. Anandi Hattiangadi (2007). Oughts and Thoughts: Rule-Following and the Normativity of Content. Oxford University Press.
    In Oughts and Thoughts, Anandi Hattiangadi provides an innovative response to the argument for meaning skepticism set out by Saul Kripke in Wittgenstein on ...
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  49. Anandi Hattiangadi (2006). Is Meaning Normative? Mind and Language 21 (2):220-240.
    Many people claim that semantic content is normative, and that therefore naturalistic theories of content face a potentially insuperable difficulty. The normativity of content allegedly undermines naturalism by introducing a gap between semantic 'ought's and the explanatory resources of naturalism. I argue here that this problem is not ultimately pressing for naturalists. The normativity thesis, I maintain, is ambiguous; it could mean either that the content of a term prescribes a pattern of use, or that it merely determines which pattern (...)
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  50. Anandi Hattiangadi (2003). Making It Implicit: Brandom on Rule-Following. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):419-31.
    In Making it Explicit, Brandom aims to articulate an account of conceptual content that accommodates its normativity--a requirement on theories of content that Brandom traces to Wittgenstein's rule following considerations. It is widely held that the normativity requirement cannot be met, or at least not with ease, because theories of content face an intractable dilemma. Brandom proposes to evade the dilemma by adopting a middle road--one that uses normative vocabulary, but treats norms as implicit in practices. I argue that this (...)
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