Semantic Dispositionalism and Non-Inferential Knowledge

Philosophia 42 (3):749-759 (2014)
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Abstract
The paper discusses Saul Kripke's Normativity Argument against semantic dispositionalism: it criticizes the orthodox interpretation of the argument, defends an alternative reading and argues that, contrary to what Kripke himself seems to have been thinking, the real point of the Normativity Argument is not that meaning is normative. According to the orthodox interpretation, the argument can be summarized as follows: (1) it is constitutive of the concept of meaning that its instances imply an ought, but (2) it is not constitutive of the concept of a disposition that dispositions imply an ought, hence (3) no dispositional analysis of meaning can work. According to my alternative reading, the point of the argument is another one, namely that while (1) dispositionalism is committed to the thesis that speakers have non-inferential knowledge of their unmanifested linguistic dispositions, (2) speakers, as a matter of fact, do not have such a knowledge. A point that is in principle independent from the issue of the normativity of meaning.
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First archival date: 2014-01-20
Latest version: 4 (2014-09-13)
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