Temporal externalism and our ordinary linguistic practices

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):365-380 (2005)
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Abstract
Temporal externalists argue that ascriptions of thought and utterance content can legitimately reflect contingent conceptual developments that are only settled after the time of utterance. While the view has been criticized for failing to accord with our “ordinary linguistic practices”, such criticisms (1) conflate our ordinary ascriptional practices with our more general beliefs about meaning, and (2) fail to distinguish epistemically from pragmatically motivated linguistic changes. Temporal externalism relates only to the former sort of changes, and the future usage relevant to what we mean reflects reason-driven practices that are rational for us to defer to.
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