Internalized meaning factualism

Philosophia 34 (3):325-336. (2006)
Abstract
The normative character of meaning creates deep problems for the attempt to give a reductive explanation of the constitution of meaning. I identify and critically examine an increasingly popular Carnap-style position, which I call Internalized Meaning Factualism (versions of which I argue are defended by, e.g., Robert Brandom, Paul Horwich and Huw Price), that promises to solve the problems. According to this position, the problem of meaning can be solved by prohibiting an external perspective on meaning constituting properties. The idea is that if we stick to a perspective on meaning that is internal to meaning discourse, then we can preserve the normativity of meaning and yet locate meaning in the natural world. I develop a generic motivation for this position, but argue that, since this motivation is consistent with the Ramsey–Carnap–Lewis–Jackson reductionist strategy, internalized meaning factualism is unstable. The problems about the normativity of meaning can therefore not be sidestepped in this way.
Keywords meaning  reduction  internalism
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