Saul Kripke’s paradoxical argument in Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982) has generated an extravagant number of responses. A major debate prompted by this book has focused on the plausibility and role of the supposed normative character of meaning; the argument itself is often taken to rely on the assumption that meaning is irreducibly normative. Following Boghossian (1989), the normativity of meaning has been understood as closely tied to the existence of semantic correctness conditions. After a brief introduction to the background of the debate, this work will focus on whether the normativity of meaning may be better understood as stemming from a different type of correctness, namely linguistic correctness. Linguistic correctness differs from semantic correctness insofar as it is related to conventional, and not truth-functional, meaning. I will begin by clarifying some of the features of linguistic correctness. First, I will outline some reasons why the distinction between linguistic and semantic correctness should be maintained. Then, I will anticipate a possible criticism and argue that linguistic correctness does not belong to the domain of pragmatics, as it is relevant to our understanding of conventional meaning. Finally, I will try to show that linguistic “oughts” are constitutive of meaning. Having established these basic features of linguistic correctness, I will investigate whether the fact that it is constitutive of meaning can vindicate the idea that meaning is robustly, irreducibly normative. By applying arguments from the realm of moral philosophy – within which, too, there have been attempts to show that constitutive facts can give rise to categorical moral norms – I will argue that linguistic correctness cannot give rise to categorical semantic norms. Linguistic correctness may be, nevertheless, a useful tool for explaining some of our intuitions about meaning.

Can Linguistic Correctness Provide Us with Categorical Semantic Norms? / S. Papic. - In: PHENOMENOLOGY AND MIND. - ISSN 2280-7853. - 2023:24(2023), pp. 182-191. [10.17454/pam-2413]

Can Linguistic Correctness Provide Us with Categorical Semantic Norms?

S. Papic
2023

Abstract

Saul Kripke’s paradoxical argument in Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982) has generated an extravagant number of responses. A major debate prompted by this book has focused on the plausibility and role of the supposed normative character of meaning; the argument itself is often taken to rely on the assumption that meaning is irreducibly normative. Following Boghossian (1989), the normativity of meaning has been understood as closely tied to the existence of semantic correctness conditions. After a brief introduction to the background of the debate, this work will focus on whether the normativity of meaning may be better understood as stemming from a different type of correctness, namely linguistic correctness. Linguistic correctness differs from semantic correctness insofar as it is related to conventional, and not truth-functional, meaning. I will begin by clarifying some of the features of linguistic correctness. First, I will outline some reasons why the distinction between linguistic and semantic correctness should be maintained. Then, I will anticipate a possible criticism and argue that linguistic correctness does not belong to the domain of pragmatics, as it is relevant to our understanding of conventional meaning. Finally, I will try to show that linguistic “oughts” are constitutive of meaning. Having established these basic features of linguistic correctness, I will investigate whether the fact that it is constitutive of meaning can vindicate the idea that meaning is robustly, irreducibly normative. By applying arguments from the realm of moral philosophy – within which, too, there have been attempts to show that constitutive facts can give rise to categorical moral norms – I will argue that linguistic correctness cannot give rise to categorical semantic norms. Linguistic correctness may be, nevertheless, a useful tool for explaining some of our intuitions about meaning.
rule-following; paradox; meaning normativity; semantic correctness; linguistic correctness;
Settore M-FIL/05 - Filosofia e Teoria dei Linguaggi
2023
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/1019278
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