Individualism and interpretation

Southwest Philosophy Review 14 (1):31-38 (1998)
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Abstract
'Interpretational' accounts of meaning are frequently treated as incompatible with accounts stressing language's 'social' character. However, this paper argues that one can reconcile interpretational and social accounts by distinguishing "methodological" from "ascriptional" individualism. While methodological individualism requires only that the meaning of one's terms ultimately be grounded in facts about oneself, ascriptional individualism requires that the meaning of one's terms be independent of how others use theirs. Interpretational accounts are committed only to methodological individualism, while arguments for languages social character are best understood as attacks on ascriptional individualism. As a result, one can recognize language's social character and still be an interpretationalist
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