Idealizing, Abstracting, and Semantic Dispositionalism

European Journal of Philosophy 20 (1):166-178 (2012)

Abstract

Abstract: According to certain dispositional accounts of meaning, an agent's meaning is determined by the dispositions that an idealized version of this agent has in optimal conditions. We argue that such attempts cannot properly fix meaning. For even if there is a way to determine which features of an agent should be idealized without appealing to what the agent means, there is no non-circular way to determine how those features should be idealized. We sketch an alternative dispositional account that avoids this problem, according to which an agent's meaning is determined by the dispositions that an abstract version of this agent has in optimal conditions.

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Adam C. Podlaskowski
Fairmont State University

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