Normativity and correctness: A reply to Hattiangadi [Book Review]

Acta Analytica 23 (2):177-186 (2008)
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Abstract

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 this is not how prescriptivity is construed by ‘normativists’ such as Kripke, Hacker and Baker, Brandom and Millar. I think that Hattiangadi misconstrues the prescriptivity thesis because she does not distinguish between the general notion of correctness of use and the specific notion of correctness of application. In other words, she does not distinguish between using a term correctly and applying it truthfully. In addition, I submit that there is an important class of semantic rules determining correct use that Hattiangadi does not consider. Following the later Wittgenstein, Hacker and Baker argue that accepted explanations of the meanings of words have the function of semantic rules. These rules are categorically prescriptive because following them is constitutive of being a speaker of a language.

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Andrei Buleandra
University of Alberta

Citations of this work

Linguistic Mistakes.Indrek Reiland - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (5):2191-2206.
What is the Normativity of Meaning?Daniel Whiting - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):219-238.

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References found in this work

Wittgenstein on rules and private language.Saul A. Kripke - 1982 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 173 (4):496-499.
Philosophical grammar.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1974 - Oxford [Eng.]: Blackwell. Edited by Rush Rhees.

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