Meta-Metasemantics, or the Quest for the One True Metasemantics

Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):135-154 (2021)
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What determines the meaning of a context-sensitive expression in a context? It is standardly assumed that, for a given expression type, there will be a unitary answer to this question; most of the literature on the subject involves arguments designed to show that one particular metasemantic proposal is superior to a specific set of alternatives. The task of the present essay will be to explore whether this is a warranted assumption, or whether the quest for the one true metasemantics might be a Quixotic one. We argue that there are good reasons—much better than are commonly appreciated—for thinking the latter, but that there nevertheless remains significant scope for metasemantic theorizing. We conclude by outlining our preferred option, metasemantic pluralism.

Author Profiles

Ethan Nowak
Umeå University
Eliot Michaelson
King's College London


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