The Argument from Normativity against Dispositional Analyses of Meaning

Andrea Guardo


In his well-known essay on Wittgenstein, Saul Kripke maintains that dispositional
analyses of meaning cannot work mainly because whereas the concept of
disposition is descriptive, that of meaning is normative. Unfortunately, neither
Kripke nor his followers have ever spelled out this “argument from normativity”
in full detail. As a result, the argument does not have good press. This paper
offers an explicit version of the argument. In particular, (1) I try to explain
what the claim that meaning is normative amounts to, (2) I try to clarify what
supports it, and (3) I sketch a valid version of the argument.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; meaning; rule-following; paradox; semantic dispositionalism; normativity

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