Chapter

Expressivism, Non-Naturalism, and Us

Allan Gibbard

in Meaning and Normativity

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646074
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741968 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646074.003.0010
Expressivism, Non-Naturalism, and Us

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In this Brandom-like metatheory, meaning is characterized in terms of ought, and ought is characterized in two ways: expressivistically by a substantive meaning theory, and conceptually by the tie of normative belief to action, which then figures in expressivism’s claims for its substantive theory. Put in their strongest forms, nonnaturalism and expressivism coincide in their theses, but their explanations contrast. Bare proclamations of a non-natural realm are epistemically implausible. Expressivism starts with us in the natural world, and explains what nonnaturalism appeals to. Because disagreement in aim is possible, thought of meaning act like representation. With true normative views and enough perspicacity and understanding of nature, we could see how a vast history of natural selection might lead to physical systems interpretable as planning and guiding discourse using a concept of meaning that isn’t naturalistic.

Keywords: Brandom; expressivism; nonnaturalism; meaning; disagreement; representation; normative; planning; concept

Chapter.  11386 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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