SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Semantic Facts and Oughts
(Philosophy of Language, English)

Semantic realists disagree about the nature of semantic properties and facts. According to semantic naturalism (SN), semantic properties/facts are reducible to non-semantic natural properties/facts (Papineau 2009). Advocates of semantic anti-naturalism (SAN) deny this (Wedgwood 2009).
SN has difficulty accommodating the intrinsic connection between semantic facts and oughts. Kripkenstein (Kripke 1982) offers an example of this normativity objection against dispositionalism, a version of SN holding that semantic facts are reducible to dispositional facts. This objection is generalizable to any version of SN: there is no intrinsic connection between non-semantic natural facts and semantic oughts. Thus, semantic facts are irreducible normative facts.
I shall reconstruct Kripkenstein's argument (KA). Then, I shall criticize some important passages of it; in particular, I shall reject one of its premises, the claim that a normative statement concerns normative, non-natural facts. Adopting Gibbard's expressivism (2012), one may argue that the normative/non-normative distinction is not a distinction between two kinds of facts, but between two kinds of concepts. Hence: (a) the concept of meaning is normative, while semantic facts are (or may well be) natural; (b) normative statements concern natural facts and normative concepts. I shall discuss some problems of this solution. Finally, I would like to hint to another strategy, which tries to make use of recent work on grounding relations between normative and natural facts in metaethics (see Väyrynen (2013) and Rosen (2017 forthcoming)).

Chair: Till Gallasch
Time: 14:00-14:30, 15 September 2017 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005

Andrea Raimondi 
(Universita degli Studi di Milano, Italy)

I am a MA philosophy student at the University of Milan; in July I will get my MA degree. Before attending the university, I studied foreign languages (English and German) at the high-school. I wrote my BA dissertation on scepticism. I am currently working on my MA dissertation on semantic normativity and its relationship with naturalistic approaches in the theory of meaning. I am applying for PhD programs because I would like to work on these topics employing some results of recent works in methaetics and metaphyisical grounding.
Currently, I am a member of the "editorial stuff" of an online platform that offers open access to philosophical essays and papers written by students and teachers of my university. The aim of this platform is to incintivize philosophical discussion among students ( - unfortunately, we do not have an English version yet). Finally, I participate in the organization of a permanent seminar of Philosophy of Literature (in collaboration with teachers and students of Theory of Literature).

Testability and Meaning deco