An alternative strategy is to suggest that meaning statements simply are prescriptions. This proposal can either be construed as a claim about the semantic content of meaning statements, or as a claim about the typical use of meaning statements. If the suggestion is that meaning statements have a prescriptive content it would provide another very direct argument in support of ME normativity, one that does not have to proceed via the controversial claim that the notion of semantic correctness is an essentially normative notion.
This is an advantage over the simple argument. However, there are also disadvantages. For instance, the question arises whether the claim that meaning statements lack descriptive content can accommodate the role of such statements in inferential contexts. See Gauker — for a discussion.
Gibbard 12 and — These difficulties are avoided if, instead, meaning statements are simply construed as having a prescriptive use while having a descriptive content. On either construal, however, the question arises why we should believe that meaning statements are prescriptive. One suggestion is that the prescriptive function of meaning statements follows from their role in coordinating our linguistic use Gauker and Meaning statements are proposals about how terms ought to be used, and as such they serve to determine meaning and remove an otherwise irresolvable indeterminacy see also Gibbard — This defense of the normativity thesis therefore turns on controversial issues concerning indeterminacy.
Instead of asking for the facts that constitute meaning, it is argued, we should consider the role of meaning statements in our socio-linguistic practices. It then emerges that such statements serve the regulative function of licensing and censoring certain uses. It should be noted that unless this proposal about the function of meaning statements is said to have some metaphysical implications concerning the nature of meaning, it will fall short of supporting the claim that meaning is essentially normative.
In addition, there are a variety of other arguments in support of ME normativity. One such argument grants that correctness conditions are not themselves normative, but suggests that we derive the normativity of meaning from the idea that we ought to speak the truth Ebbs , Haugeland , Soames , As noted above, this only succeeds if the obligation in question can be said to derive purely from semantic sources. The question, then, is whether there is any reason to suppose that we have a semantic obligation to speak the truth.
The impression that there is, it has been suggested, is a result of a conflation of semantics and pragmatics. Thus, it is commonly held that there are rules of assertion, and some of these are such that they are violated when the speaker makes a false judgment. However, opponents of ME normativity stress, these are pragmatic rules, regulating the performance of speech acts, not semantic ones.
For discussion of the claim that assertion is normative, see the entry on assertion. For instance, it has been suggested that the claim that meaning is essentially normative is primarily a claim about the justificatory role of meaning. In this sense, meaning facts are like prescriptive rules, such as the rules of etiquette — it is of their essence that they guide action or give directions.
The reason dispositionalism fails, then, is not that the dispositionalist cannot account for error, but that facts about what I am disposed to do are not essentially capable of justifying Gampel —, Zalabardo —, Kusch 50— Whether this argument succeeds depends on whether it can be shown that the role of meaning in motivating action is equivalent to that of prescriptions.
To show that meaning facts play a normatively guiding role, therefore, it does not suffice to appeal to the idea that meaning facts play a role in motivating action; it also has to be shown that the motivating role is that of a prescription rather than a belief see section 2. This raises the general question of the extent to which Kripekan normativity considerations can be isolated from the larger context within which they occur, i. The normative dimension of meaning, ultimately, is to be found in the communal practice of relying on others and standing corrected Wright 20, Hale , Kusch — However, arguments have also been made in the reverse direction, suggesting that the dialectic in fact is quite different.
Since proponents of the revisionary approach rely on the idea that meaning is normative, it has been suggested, their arguments do not touch the philosopher who denies that meaning is normative and rejects the move from correctness conditions to prescriptions.
That is, if the normativity constraint need not be met, and if it suffices that we appeal to facts that serve to determine semantic realist correctness conditions, the skeptical challenge may appear less formidable and, as a result, the revisionary response less motivated Hattiangadi This, again, is how Kripke discusses the topic and how those writing on Kripke tend to construe the relevant normativity.
However, as far as ME normativity goes, normative consequences might also be construed axiologically. Thus, it might be argued that semantically correct applications, by themselves, are valuable. This, too, would show that meaning is an essentially normative notion, although in a different sense than the standard one. And in this case too, the crucial question would be whether the step from CM to normative consequences can be motivated. Another option would be to construe the rules or norms of meaning as constitutive ones cf. Rules of meaning, the idea would be, are rules for the use of expressions that determine the meaning of these expressions.
Appealing to constitutive rules thus would mean accepting what we call MD normativism: It would mean accepting that expressions have meaning because there are rules or norms in force for their use. Meaning determining normativism MD normativism is the claim that meaning is essentially such that it is at least in part determined by norms.
A natural idea would be that a normative determination principle involves a mapping essentially mediated by norms, or normative facts. But then, placing the relevant normative facts in the supervenience base and using one principle of determination , or construing them as part of another principle of determination working on a supervenience base not containing any normative facts might amount to no more than notational variation.
The single most common form of MD normativism holds that the meaning of linguistic expressions is determined by rules for their use. This idea was famously formulated by Ludwig Wittgenstein, and we shall concentrate on it in this section. But why should we think that meaning is essentially rule-determined? And if it is, how exactly does this work? What kind of rule could do this job?
What does it mean for such a rule to be in force for a speaker, and where does this force come from? We shall take these questions up in turn. Since ancient times, philosophers have observed the arbitrary, contingent nature of the connection between linguistic expressions and their meanings. The MD normativist wants to provide an account of what meaning is, and, to be informative, such an account needs to be formulated in non-semantic terms cf.
Davidson An observation that might cast some doubt on the idea that the regularities of linguistic usage are due to convention is the following: People who follow rules, or conventions, when, for instance, playing chess or driving cars on the right hand side of the road in continental Europe, can usually, upon reflection, both at least roughly formulate the relevant rule or convention and give it as their reason for acting as they did.
When it comes to the semantic rules of natural language, this is strikingly far from being the case. There are various ways in which the MD normativst could try to accommodate this observation see section 2. Over and above its intuitive appeal, there are various more theoretical reasons for MD normativism. It is, for instance, plausible to think that meaning, in some way or other, is determined by the use speakers make of linguistic expressions.
If meaning determining rules are rules governing the use of linguistic expressions, MD normativism provides the beginnings of an answer to the question of just how use does this. A natural thought here is that semantic rules effect a distinction between semantically correct and incorrect use of an expression. An expression governed by such a rule consequently is an expression that has semantic correctness conditions and, thus, meaning cf. Glock If meaning determining rules moreover are prescriptions, MD normativism provides a metaphysics directly underwriting the most common form of ME normativism: ME prescriptivism.
As we noted above section 2. It might be argued, however, that it is precisely because meaning is determined normatively that any naturalistic account is bound to misconstrue semantic correctness conditions.
Meaning, Dispositions and Normativity
An argument of the first kind might draw inspiration from the writings of Donald Davidson. Because of its appeal to rationality, the principle of charity has been interpreted as a normative principle, and Davidson as a normativist see for instance, McDowell ; Hornsby , 87; Gampel ; Hurley , 5; Glock ; Jackman ; Wedgwood , ff; Kriegel This is disputed, however; it has been argued that precisely because the principle of charity is the principle constitutive of meaning and content in Davidson, it cannot play any normative role.
It determines what meaningful utterances contentful mental states are, not how anything should be or what anyone should do cf. Quite independently, the claim that rationality is essentially normative might not appear any less controversial than the claim that meaning is cf. The MD normativist might also argue, as indicated above, that normativism prevents the problem of error from arising.
Such arguments can take two forms. Wedgwood , ff; Millikan , Neander More radically, the MD normativist can take problems such as that of error as indicating that dispositionalism misidentifies the very kind of entitities meaning supervenes on: It is not how you are disposed to use an expression that determines its meaning, but how you are supposed to use it, i. Glock , Brandom , Their being in force then might, or might not, be further reducible or analyzable, but not to dispositions for the use of expressions.
Alternatively, the MD normativist might adopt an account according to which meaning determination has two components, a dispositionalist and a normativist component. Her idea is that while dispositions do suffice for determining meanings — in the sense in which meanings can be correlated with the dispositions of both the genuine speaker and the parrot or automaton — primitive norms are nevertheless required for genuinely meaningful speech or understanding cf.
Ginsborg , ; Ginsborg a, f. There is a widespread tendency to see naturalism and normativism as incompatible in the theory of meaning determination see also section 4 below , but from what we just said, their relation would seem to be more complicated. Prima facie, both reductive naturalism such as, for instance, a version of teleosemantics and non-reductive naturalism such as, for instance, Davidsonian dispositionalism would seem compatible with certain forms of MD normativism.
Normativism is incompatible with reductive naturalism only if meaning is determined by normative facts or properties that are not themselves naturalistic normative teleosemanticists, for instance, argue that the biological notion of a function is normative. Normativism is incompatible with non-reductive naturalism only if there are no non-normative facts meaning supervenes upon.
The question here would be whether guidance by some state with general content is sufficient for rule guidedness cf. Assume that meaning is determined by rules. How exactly does this work? Meaning determining rules clearly would be constitutive rules see section 1. Moreover, meaning determining rules usually are supposed to determine not only that an expression has meaning, but also which meaning it has.
These ideas are drawn on by a great number of philosophers, including Wittgenstein scholars such as Baker and Hacker or Glock, as well as philosophers such as von Wright, Sellars, and Searle. However, as we saw above there are different conceptions of constitutive rules. Such rules typically can be brought into the following form:. Searle suggests that meaning is determined by such rules , 42ff. It is not obvious, however, how this would work. Rules like this cannot determine meaning by means of the line of thought sketched above: By directly effecting a distinction between correct and incorrect uses of an expression — rules of the form CR do not make any such distinction cf.
Such rules might, however, determine meaning more indirectly cf. The following might be such a rule, for instance:. Rather, saying that p seems to be possible independently of CR 1 , and CR 1 only provides one among many possible means of performing such an action cf. It might be more promising to allow meaning determining rules to have prescriptive force. In that case, it would be possible for them to directly effect a distinction between semantically correct prescribed or allowed and incorrect forbidden uses.
They could nevertheless be constitutive of using an expression with the determined meaning insofar as it would be impossible to so use the expression unless the prescription was in force for the speaker. According to the first, using e at t has to be motivated by R. On the second construal, S has to accept R in some sense not requiring all particular uses of e to be motivated by R. Both of these would plausibly seem to require S to have certain intentional state s.
The laws of the state, for instance, would seem to fall into the third category; they are in force even for those individual citizens who do not accept them. Many games are in the second category; they are such that even though participation requires players to accept their rules, participants nevertheless can intentionally violate these very rules within the game. For instance, intentional spearing does occur in icehockey games, and will be punished precisely because the rule against spearing is in force even for players who spear intentionally.
Again, in semantics the situation might seem analogous: Speakers can intentionally say semantically incorrect things without their expressions losing or changing their meanings cf. When combined with MD normativism, communitarianism usually construes meaning determining rules as conventions adopted by whole speech communities.
ERIC - EJ - Meaning, Normativity, and the Life of the Mind., Language & Communication,
Another motivation is provided by, among others, Dummett. Moreover, even if regularity were required, Davidson argued, it would not matter how it came about; communication would be possible whether or not the required regularity was a product of normative attitudes cf. Even more radically, it has been questioned whether it is even possible to draw any substantive distinction between rule guided and merely regular behavior at this fundamental level. Yet such a distinction is crucial for guidance normativism. The crucial question thus is what the distinction between rule guided behavior and merely regular behavior amounts to when it comes to meaning determining rules.
Intuitively, behavior guided by an implicit or explicit rule R is behavior that can be explained by means of R or, more precisely, behavior that can be given a reasons-explanation involving R , an explanation in terms of the reason-providing intentional states of the agent.
It would thus seem that if an intentional condition on guidance by meaning determining rules can be integrated into a general model of reasons explanation, an alternative way of doing that is required. Another question concerns the relation between thought or intentional states in general and language. On any account construing thought as dependent on language, as well as on any account construing thought and language as interdependent, and on any account according to which mental content itself is determined by rules governing mental expressions, an intentional condition on rule guidance would inevitably lead guidance normativism back into vicious regress cf.
Boghossian a; For instance, if having an intentional state with a certain content is itself a matter of being guided by a content determining rule, then another intentional state is required for having the first one, and so on ad infinitum. An independent, general argument against an intentional condition on rule guidance has been provided by Boghossian , f : He argues that the relevant intentional state would be a state with general prescriptive content, and that acting under particular circumstances on an intentional state with general content always involves some sort of inference.
Inference itself, however, essentially involves following a rule, and thus a regress — reminiscent of that familiar from Lewis Caroll — ensues. However, this argument crucially depends on the assumption that inference is essentially rule guided, an assumption which is at least controversial cf. Together with the observation recorded earlier — that speakers do not usually seem to have the kind of privileged access to semantic rules that we would expect if these were action guiding in the intentional sense — considerations like these have driven some philosophers to try to locate the explanatory power of meaning determining rules elsewhere.
Thus, some draw an analogy between the explanation of speech dispositions by means of systems of semantic rules and the evolutionary explanation of animal traits and behavior by natural selection. In each case, there are regularities of behavior the explanation of which is non-intentional, but which are nevertheless not merely accidental.
Sellars , Searle While such explanation might work well for the use an individual speaker learns to make of the expressions of an existing language, whether any distinction between rule explained and merely regular behavior has been substantiated now depends on substantiating a further distinction: that between a system of rules and one of mere regularities. Another idea might thus be to locate meaning determining normativity in the very idea of an evolutionary explanation, in the idea of a biological function, for instance, the possession of which explains why certain dispositions or mechanisms for speech or mental representation are selected for, as in normative teleosemantics.
Here, a distinction between personal level rule following and sub-personal rule following could be used. Thus, it has been proposed to construe sub-personal rule following as analogous to computational rule following, and semantic rules as rules deriving from the biological functions of our cognitive apparatus cf. Jacob , f. Semantic rule following would then allow for truly evolutionary explanation. It has been argued that this would amount to a highly problematic dispositionalism, not about meaning, but about sub-personal rule following itself cf.
Boghossian However, if the notion of a biological function helps solve the classical problems of meaning dispositionalism, it might solve those of dispositionalism about rule-following, too. Still, the basic question recurs: What it is that distinguishes a sub-personal regularity from a performance governed by a sub-personal rule? Since not everything with a biological function would seem to be rule governed even in this sense, any account along these lines will at least need to add further elements. Interpreted as a primitive ought, it conveys the primitively normative attitudes speakers must have towards their own uses of linguistic expressions.
Having primitively normative attitudes does not require prior grasp of rules, concepts, or meanings. Moreover, the norms speakers need to be primitively conscious of do not guide or justify them in their use of expressions Ginsborg b, Primitive normativity thus is what distinguishes the behaviour of the speaker who uses her terms with understanding from that of the parrot, or automaton.
Using a term with understanding requires more than just being disposed to use it a certain way, Ginsborg argues; it requires understanding that it has a certain meaning. The account of meaning determination she arrives at has two components. Since one of them is a requirement of primitive normativity, primitive normativity qualifies as a new kind of meaning determining normativity.
In rough outline, the account looks like this:. If e has meaning, the first disposition suffices to determine which meaning it has. But e has meaning only if the second disposition is in place. Moreover, if both conditions are fulfilled, having the primitively normative attitude of taking the use one is disposed to make of e amounts to understanding that e means M. This, Ginsborg submits, is enough to make such a use of e into a mistake. And then, your primitively normative attitude amounts to understanding that e means what it does.
Twin Earth and the Normativity of Meaning
As the proposal is very interesting, and indeed rather different from more established interpretations of the normativity of meaning, this no doubt will change soon. Among the questions to be asked, it seems to us, are at least the following: Is it really the case that dispositional facts cannot be quussed see above, 2.
If the account is extended to intentional content as Ginsborg herself hints it can, for instance in , , fn. Is it really plausible to claim that a primitively normative attitude towards the use one is disposed to make of an expression amounts to knowing or grasping or recognizing what the expression means? How are we precisely to understand the primitive notion of appropriateness or correctness? On the one hand, there seems to be a need for primitive and semantic correctness to coincide — if it is to be plausible that awareness of primitive correctness amounts to knowledge of meaning.
On the other hand, the two notions need to be distinct — if it is to be plausible that having a primitive normative attitude does not require concepts like those of rule or truth. So what precisely is the difference between the two notions? Simply because these attitudes have different contents? In the normativity debate the main focus has been on meaning: This is true of the Kripke discussion as well as of earlier discussions concerning the rulishness of language. We intend the talk of propositions and concepts in this context to be uncontentious, and not depend on any specific construals of these notions.
A proposition, simply, is anything that has truth conditions essentially; it is whatever the propositional attitudes are attitudes towards. As in the case of meaning, we distinguish between CE normativity, which is neutral on the question how content is determined, and CD normativity which takes the norms to be metaphysically primary. We shall begin by discussing CE normativity.
The norms are typically construed as norms of action, most commonly as prescriptions, but could also be construed axiologically. That is, the claim need not be that the relevant norms guide our use of concepts, but could just be that it is a property essential to their having content that certain mental states true beliefs, for instance are valuable. As in the case of meaning, we may distinguish between more or less direct arguments.
One way to provide a direct argument for CE normativity would be to proceed from the notion of correctness conditions, in analogy with the simple argument Boghossian Just as meaningful expressions have correctness conditions essentially, along the lines of CM , so do concepts: The concept green , for instance, applies to an object x if and only if x is green.
For normativity to enter some connection has to be made with the subject who employs the concepts, with her mental states.
Table of contents
The standard normativist strategy consists in appealing to the use of concepts in propositional attitudes, and to derive the normativity of content from that of the propositional attitudes. Thus, the relevant notion of application is suggested to be that of using the concept in a propositional attitude, in particular that of belief. Arguments for CE normativity, therefore, typically appeal to the connection between content and the propositional attitudes. We shall consider two such common arguments: one that goes via the nature of belief, and one that goes via ideas about concept grasp.
The argument from belief proceeds in two steps: It is argued, first, that belief is essentially normative, and second, that there is an essential connection between belief and content such that if belief is essentially normative it follows that content is, too. Our main concern here is not with the normativity of belief, but some comments concerning the first step are required. According to the most common proposal, the normativity of belief derives from the connection between belief and truth.
It is in the nature of belief, it is held, that it aims for truth. The proposal is not merely that beliefs, essentially, have contents that are true or false, but that beliefs, essentially, are correct or incorrect as a result of the content being true or false. Belief is simply that state which derives its correctness conditions from the content Velleman , Engel , , Nordhoof , Wedgwood , , , Boghossian , Gibbard , , , Shah , Speaks In response, it has been argued that what is essential to belief is merely that beliefs have contents that are true or false, not that one ought to believe a content if and only if it is true.
The appearance of normativity, it is suggested, derives from other sources. For instance, as epistemic agents, we seek truth. And having true beliefs is essential to fulfilling our goals. This just shows that true beliefs have an instrumental value, and fails to support the normativity of belief thesis. Moreover, it is argued, even if it is claimed that truth has a non-instrumental value, the value in question is derived from moral or other values, not from the nature of belief as such Papineau , , Dretske , Davidson , Horwich Questions have also been raised concerning how the norm of belief is to be understood.
With respect to meaning the question arose whether ME 1 violates the principle that ought implies can. In the case of belief, a similar worry arises if the norm of belief is formulated in a parallel fashion, by proceeding from the correctness conditions of beliefs to normative consequences:. The trouble is that NB 1 implies that S ought to believe everything that is true, an impossible task. This norm does not imply that S ought to believe everything that is true, and hence does not put impossible demands on S.
Each role comes with criteria of excellence and these, in turn, imply obligations: Teachers ought to be clear, parents ought to be caregiving, etc. Norms for actions, therefore, derive from norms of being. Hence, on this view, NB 1 is a norm of belief even if it places impossible demands on ordinary subjects. Another set of questions concerns the fact that NB 1 is an objective norm. However, it has been objected that the main trouble with NB 1 is not a failure of transparency.
It is clear that objective norms can guide, but they do so via our beliefs, and it has been argued that this causes trouble in the case of NB 1. The trouble is two-fold. In order to be guided by NB 1 , S would have to have a belief about whether p is true. It is therefore disputed whether NB 1 can be said to be a norm of belief, regulating our belief formation.
Why should the fact that belief is normative imply that content is? Indeed, it has been suggested that the opposite is true since if belief is normative the appearance of normativity of content can simply be explained by appealing to the normativity of belief Speaks According to Boghossian, the normativity of content derives from the fact that there is a constitutive connection between the notion of content and the notion of belief Boghossian This is so, he argues, since we could not grasp the notion of content without first grasping the role contents play in belief.
Moreover, Boghossian argues, although contents play a role in other attitudes as well, there are reasons to think that the concept of belief is conceptually primary: For instance, S could not have the concept of desire without first having the concept of belief ibid: 42— If so, the normativity of belief supports CE normativity. The claim that the concept of belief is primary to that of desire can be questioned. Thus, there is empirical evidence from developmental psychology that children acquire the concept of desire prior to acquiring that of belief Wellman It has also been argued that belief and desire are conceptually interdependent Miller More importantly, even if it can be shown that the concept of belief is primary to that of desire, and of the other propositional attitudes, the question arises whether indeed one could not grasp the concept of content without grasping that of belief.
Prima facie, grasping the concept of a propositional attitude such as belief is rather distinct from grasping the concept of content, since it involves the idea of taking up an attitude towards content. An alternative strategy would be to avoid the appeal to conceptual entailments and argue that there is a metaphysical connection between mental content and belief such that if belief is essentially normative, content is.
Such an argument may be more or less direct, going via more or less contentious assumptions about mental content. For instance, versions of conceptual role semantics imply that there is an essential link between mental content and belief as do versions of informational theories of content Dretske , Fodor , although the latter are typically coupled with a non-normativist account of belief.
Another line of reasoning appeals to the idea that there is a constitutive connection between grasping a concept, understanding a content, and using it in the propositional attitudes. To possess a concept, it is sometimes suggested, is to have the capacity to use the concept in various propositional attitudes. Since it is essential to the propositional attitudes that they stand in certain rational interconnections with one another, it is argued, this essential normativity transfers to concepts and contents.
This argument runs parallel to the argument provided by Millar in the case of meaning. It is relatively unproblematic to speak of understanding the meaning of an expression or misunderstanding it , but in the case of concepts there is nothing corresponding to the expression. Hence there seems to be little or no room for the idea that S misunderstands a concept either. If S reasons as if she possesses the concept ancient rather than the concept arcane , it would seem to follow not that there is any misuse of concepts but that she has another concept.
One strategy is to distinguish between possession conditions and attribution conditions Peacocke 27— As a consequence, there is a potential gap between how S uses the concept, her grasp of it, and how it should be used if she were to use it in keeping with its content. Burge gives an account of concept attribution that goes via word meaning.
What determines her concept, thus, is not merely facts about her use and dispositions to stand corrected, but facts about the use of the term in the wider practice. It follows that speakers typically have an incomplete grasp of the concepts they think with and, as a result, tend to misuse these concepts. After all, an individual who is not thus committed would still have concepts. Equally, in the case of the experts, the suggested normative dimension would seem to drop out.
Another argument for content normativity based on incompleteness of understanding derives from Burge Burge suggests that meaning or content characterizations, such as Sofas are artifacts to be sat upon , have a normative function in our practices: They set standards that guide our thinking. However, Burge argues, such characterizations can be rationally doubted, even by the experts; they are objectively right or wrong, independently of our practices ibid: — Instead, it depends on a version of physical content externalism applied to all kind terms not just the natural kind terms , combined with the assumption that metaphysical necessities should be construed as norms see Wikforss Arguments from concept grasp, again, typically appeal to the idea that there are rationality constraints on concept attributions.
As noted in the discussion of ME normativity, the question has been raised whether the idea that there are such constraints coheres with normativism. It has been suggested that this question is particularly pressing in the case of content. In the case of concepts, this option is not available, since the error is said to occur at the level of content.
It would either have to be argued that the error can be rationalized some other way, or the claim that there are rationality constraints on content attributions would have to be rejected see Brown , Wikforss forthcoming-b. Like MD normativism, CD normativism is a claim about the foundations of intentional content: Intentional content is metaphysically determined, or constituted, by rules or norms. Since the relevant norms or rules govern intentional mental states, the CD normativist needs to find a kind of state plausibly subject to rules or norms that by the same token determine its content.
Because of its intimate connection with truth, knowledge, and inference, belief is the natural candidate. Both truth and inferential connections in turn are intimately connected with content. Moreover, these notions of correctness can differ even extensionally, i. Nevertheless, if conceived of as prima facie norms, there is nothing incoherent in supposing them all to be in force for belief simultaneously. The idea is that beliefs have contents only if one or more of these rules are in force and, moreover, that their being in force is constitutive of the contents they have.
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As in the case of meaning, the most common idea on the market is that the rules constitutive of content are rules that subjects having contentful mental states need to follow. Since the idea of being guided by objective norms is problematic for norms like NB 1 and NB 3 see above, 3. If the subjective rules are seen as basic, objective ones can be explained by means of them in some way or other. For a normative inferentialist like Brandom, for instance, this is the question of the relation between normative inferential role and truth conditional content, and he tries to show that the latter can be analysed in terms of the former.
Gibbard suggests that, in general, objective oughts can be reduced to subjective ones. Candidates typically given for CD rules are rules supposed to govern rational reasoning. These can be rules of theoretical, as well as of practical reasoning: Prime examples are inference rules such as modus ponens or the law of non-contradiction, and the rule that, in the absence of background belief to the effect that the senses are not to be trusted in the given situation, a belief that p is to be formed on the basis of a perceptual experience as of p.
The principles of rational decision making and those of epistemic rationality as, for instance, formalized in decision theory or Bayesian epistemology are further examples. The plausibility of guidance normativism, be it with respect to meaning or content, depends on whether it can account for the difference between rule following and mere accordance with the relevant rules.
And so on, ad infinitum. A pragmatic conception of rule guidance might therefore seem to be required. Brandom aims at reducing the intentional to the normative, while holding the normative itself to be irreducible. Ultimately , being correct is to be explained in terms of being correctly taken to be correct. General questions that have been raised about this project include the question of whether it ultimately can secure the possibility of objective concepts or contents, contents the truth of which is independent of our attitudes.
Rosen , Hattiangadi This regress might not be vicious if the project is interpreted as an expressivist one, however. Even if guidance normativism would ultimately not be able to sustain a substantive difference between following a content determining rule and mere accordance with it, one might still hold on to the claim that there are contentful intentional states only if the rules of rationality are in force for them.
Such force might require acceptance, but not general guidance, or it might be completely independent of the attitudes of thinkers. Insofar as acceptance itself is intentional, however, CD normativism might prove viable only if the force of the relevant rules or norms is construed as completely independent of the attitudes of the thinkers. Some relevant ideas as to how such rule following might be understood were already discussed above, at the end of section 2. The idea that the normative in some sense is not part of nature goes back at least to Kant see, for instance, Critique of Pure Reason , A As we have seen above section 2.
On the one hand, it is a matter of dispute among teleosemanticists, for instance, whether the biological concept of a function is a normative concept, or not. Boghossian a, ; Wikforss , ; Hattiangadi , Such an argument could take a weaker, intensionalist, and a stronger, extensionalist, form cf. As we saw above section 2. It has been suggested that the semantic normativist look to metaethics at this point; arguments in the tradition of Hume and Moore might well be adaptable to their case cf. Miller , ff; Hattiangadi , 38ff; Gibbard ; Zalabardo Interpretations of the Normativity Thesis 1. Meaning 2.
Content 3. Bibliography Alston, W. Baker, G. Hacker, Bilgrami, A. Belief and Meaning , Oxford: Blackwell. Blackburn, S. Boghossian, P. Review of McGinn Philosophical Review , 98, 83— Brandom, R. Broome, J. Buleandra, A. Burge, T. Bykvist, K. Hattiangadi, Chan ed. Byrne, A. Steup and E. Sosa eds. Brown, J. Carroll, L. Chrisman, M. Coates, P. Davidson, D. Phillips Griffiths ed. Kotatko et al. Dretske, F. Bogdan ed. Goldman ed. Dummett, M. Perspectives on the philosophy of Donald Davidson , ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
The logical basis of metaphysics , Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Ebbs, G. Engel, P. Feldman, R. Steup, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Fennell, J. If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code. For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs , and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.