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Deciding what we mean
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2023 (English)In: Inquiry, ISSN 0020-174X, E-ISSN 1502-3923Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Stipulation gives us a degree of control over meaning. By stipulating how I will use a term I am able to determine the meaning it will receive on future occasions of use. My stipulation will affect the truth conditional content of my future utterances. But the mechanisms of stipulation are mysterious. As Cappelen ([2018]. Fixing Language: An Essay on Conceptual Engineering. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198814719.001.0001) argues, meaning is typically determined in an inscrutable way by a myriad of external factors beyond our control. How does stipulation override these factors? And the powers of stipulation are limited. Firstly, the power of stipulation is typically short-lived. Secondly, some stipulations simply don’t get off the ground. What explains the limits of stipulation? I consider two related approaches to stipulation and argue that they are unable to capture stipulation’s metasemantic effects. I then provide an explanation of the metasemantic effects of stipulation: Stipulation determines meaning by determining the word use it is fitting to hold the speaker to. This account is able to capture the mechanisms and limits of stipulation, whilst also explaining why we should care about stipulative success. I close by briefly drawing out some lessons for conceptual engineering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023.
Keywords [en]
conceptual engineering, language, meaning control, metasemantics, semantic externalism, Stipulation
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-214777DOI: 10.1080/0020174X.2023.2255219Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85171595500OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-214777DiVA, id: diva2:1801176
Available from: 2023-09-29 Created: 2023-09-29 Last updated: 2023-09-29

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Peet, Andrew

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf