In what sense (if any) is meaning normative?

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2018-04-26

Authors

Miller, Taylor-Grey

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Abstract

"Meaning is normative" has become a popular dictum in the philosophy of language. Moreover, some proponents of the dictum have appealed to the normativity of meaning in order to demonstrate the hopelessness of a reduction of semantic to non-semantic vocabulary. The upshot, some maintain is that this stands in the way of a naturalistically respectable theory of meaning. The aim of this paper is to get clear on what exactly the dictum should amount to in order to pose a problem for a naturalistic theory of meaning and then see whether the dictum is true. I will argue that the most plausible version of the thesis that meaning is normative poses no real threat to the possibility of naturalism about meaning

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