, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 749–759 | Cite as

Semantic Dispositionalism and Non-Inferential Knowledge

  • Andrea Guardo


The paper discusses Saul Kripke's Normativity Argument against semantic dispositionalism: it criticizes the orthodox interpretation of the argument, defends an alternative reading and argues that, contrary to what Kripke himself seems to have been thinking, the real point of the Normativity Argument is not that meaning is normative. According to the orthodox interpretation, the argument can be summarized as follows: (1) it is constitutive of the concept of meaning that its instances imply an ought, but (2) it is not constitutive of the concept of a disposition that dispositions imply an ought, hence (3) no dispositional analysis of meaning can work. According to my alternative reading, the point of the argument is another one, namely that while (1) dispositionalism is committed to the thesis that speakers have non-inferential knowledge of their unmanifested linguistic dispositions, (2) speakers, as a matter of fact, do not have such a knowledge. A point that is in principle independent from the issue of the normativity of meaning.


Semantic dispositionalism Normativity argument Saul Kripke Non-inferential knowledge Crispin Wright 



Earlier versions of some parts of this paper were given at the VIII National Conference of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosophy (Bergamo, 2008), at the XXXII International Wittgenstein Symposium (Kirchberg am Wechsel, 2009), at PhiLang2009 (Łódź, 2009) and at the I Filosofi del Linguaggio a Gargnano (Gargnano del Garda, 2012). I would like to thank the audiences at these talks, as well as an anonymous referee of this journal, for useful comments and suggestions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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