Is meaning normative?

Mind and Language 21 (2):220-240 (2006)
Abstract
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 of use can be described as 'correct'. For the antinaturalist argument to go forward, content must be prescriptive. I argue, however, that it is not. Moreover, the thesis that content supplies standards for correct use is insufficient to supply a similar, a priori objection to naturalism.
Keywords Content  Meaning  Metaphysics  Naturalism  Normativity  Semantics
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Hannah Ginsborg (2012). Meaning, Understanding and Normativity. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):127-146.

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