Intuitions about Disagreement Do Not Support the Normativity of Meaning

Dialectica 70 (1):65-84 (2016)
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Abstract

Allan Gibbard () argues that the term ‘meaning’ expresses a normative concept, primarily on the basis of arguments that parallel Moore's famous Open Question Argument. In this paper I argue that Gibbard's evidence for normativity rests on idiosyncrasies of the Open Question Argument, and that when we use related thought experiments designed to bring out unusual semantic intuitions associated with normative terms we fail to find such evidence. These thought experiments, moreover, strongly suggest there are basic requirements for a theory of meaning incompatible with Gibbard's ultimate goal of providing an expressivist account of meaning-related concepts. I conclude by considering a possible way in which meaning could be normative, consistent with the intuitions about disagreement; but this form of normativism about meaning appears incompatible with Gibbard's expressivism

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Derek Baker
Lingnan University

Citations of this work

Authoritatively Normative Concepts.Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
Wise Choices, Apt Feelings.Allan Gibbard - 1990 - Ethics 102 (2):342-356.
Why be rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
“How to Be a Moral Realist.Richard Boyd - 1988 - In G. Sayre-McCord (ed.), Essays on Moral Realism. Cornell University Press. pp. 181-228.

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