The Grammar of Meaning

Normativity and Semantic Discourse

The Grammar of Meaning

What is the function of concepts pertaining to meaning in sociolinguistic practice? In this study, the authors argue that we can approach a satisfactory answer by displacing the standard picture of meaning talk as a sort of description with picture that takes seriously the similarity between meaning talk and various types of normative injunction. In their discussion of this approach, they investigate the more general question of the nature of the normative, as well as a range of important topics specific to the philosophy of language, including the work of Quine, Sellars and Wittgenstein.


 Reviews:

Review of the hardback: 'Lance and O'Leary-Hawthorne have a completely novel interpretation of and approach to the claim that the concept of meaning is a normative one. Meaning talk is not talk about something that is already there - not even linguistic norms that are already there. It is rather an attempt to bring something into existence - to 'establish' norms that will make possible mutual understanding and practical cooperation. This excellent study makes a signal contribution to our understanding of one of the most central and controversial topics in the philosophy of language.' Bob Brandom, University of Pittsburgh

Review of the hardback: 'The Grammar of Meaning contains a lot of interesting philosophy. It ingeniously defends the radical claim that meaning-ascriptions do not have worldly truth-makers, but are more like endorsements or recommendations. And there is much more, including a subtle investigation of normativity itself.' William G. Lycan, University of North Carolina

No references available.