Which Concepts Should We Use?: Metalinguistic Negotiations and The Methodology of Philosophy

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):828-874 (2015)
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This paper is about philosophical disputes where the literal content of what speakers communicate concerns such object-level issues as ground, supervenience, or real definition. It is tempting to think that such disputes straightforwardly express disagreements about these topics. In contrast to this, I suggest that, in many such cases, the disagreement that is expressed is actually one about which concepts should be employed. I make this case as follows. First, I look at non-philosophical, everyday disputes where a speaker employs a metalinguistic usage of a term. This is where a speaker uses a term to express a view about the meaning of that term, or, relatedly, how to correctly use that term. A metalinguistic negotiation is a metalinguistic dispute that concerns a normative issue about what a word should mean, or, similarly, about how it should be used, rather than the descriptive issue about what it does mean. I argue that the same..



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David Plunkett
Dartmouth College

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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