Meaning, Normativity and Reductive Naturalism
Smith (Deborah)
Source: Sorites 12, May 2001: 60-65
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    In «The Normativity of Meaning», Eric Gampel argues that the capacity to justify a linguistic usage is essential to meaning and suggests that this fact entails that naturalistic theories of meaning must take a non-reductive form if they are to be viable. I will argue that reductive and non-reductive naturalisms stand or fall together in the face of Gampel’s argument that meaning plays an essential justificatory role. I will further argue that, if they fall, the lesson to be learned is not that we should avoid reductionism, but rather, that we should steer clear of physicalism in our meaning theory; if Gampel’s argument is cogent, any theory of meaning will have to make reference to at least some abstract objects.


Filed electronically with the full edition of Sorites 12

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