Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

European Journal of Philosophy: September 2009, Vol. 17, No. 3

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

European Journal of Philosophy: September 2009, Vol. 17, No. 3

Article excerpt

On Epistemic Conceptions of Meaning: Use, Meaning and Normativity, DANIEL WHITING

Many philosophers hold that for an expression to possess meaning is for there to be 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). This paper outlines a problem for EM, which motivates a reassessment of the arguments in support of it. Accordingly, it considers a number of such arguments but finds them to be unsuccessful. By way of diagnosis, it is suggested 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.

The Normativity of Content and "The Frege Point, "JEFF SPEAKS

In "Assertion," Geach identified failure to attend to the distinction between meaning and speech act as a source of philosophical errors. This paper argues that failure to attend to this distinction, along with the parallel distinction between attitude and content, has been behind the idea that meaning and content are, in some sense, normative. By an argument parallel to Geach's argument against performative analyses of "good," it can be shown that the phenomena identified by theorists of the normativity of content are properties in the first instance of speech act and propositional attitude types, rather than content as such.

Conceptualism and the Myth of the Given, WALTER HOPP

Content Conceptualism is the view according to which the only kind of representational content, including the content of perceptual states, is conceptual content. The principal consideration in its favor is that it alone intelligibly explains how perceptual states justify beliefs. Underwriting this argument is Epistemic Conceptualism, according to which only mental states with conceptual content can provide reasons for or justify beliefs. …

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