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On epistemic conceptions of meaning: use, meaning and normativity

By Daniel Whiting

Abstract

Many philosophers hold that for an expression to possess meaning is for there to norms governing its use. By combining this with a further idea, namely that the relevant norms are epistemic, one arrives at an epistemic conception of meaning (EM). In this paper, I outline a problem for EM, which motivates a reassessment of the arguments in support of it. Accordingly, I consider a number of such arguments but find them to be unsuccessful. By way of diagnosis, I suggest that EM ultimately rests on a kind of act/object confusion. This in turn suggests a way in which one can accept the view that meaning is determined by norms of use without accepting that those norms are epistemic

Topics: B1
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:79896
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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