In Defence of Metametasemantics
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In the paper I defend the idea of metametasemantics against the arguments recently presented by Ori Simchen (2017). Simchen attacks the view, according to which metametasemantics incorporating all possible metasemantic accounts is necessary to protect the metasemantic theories from the notorious problem of inscrutability of reference (see Sider 2011). Simchen claims that if metametasemantics is allowed it ‘absorbs’ metasemantic theories to the extent that it diminishes their explanatory value. Furthermore, in this way Simchen sets up two main metasemantic paradigms i.e. productivism (roughly speaking: speaker’s metasemantics) and interpretationism (audience’s metasemantics) as the rival theories inevitably excluding each other. I endeavour to undermine Simchen’s point by demonstrating that his argumentation mixes up deflationary reading of the predicate ‘is true’ with its substantial reading. Consequently, I demonstrate that accepting metametasemantics does not diminish explanatory value of various metasemantic theories and thus that there is no good reason to forbid metametasemantics. I also argue that even if we ignore the above-mentioned confusion in Simchen’s reasoning, his arguments still fail when considering various problems with the notion of diminishment of explanatory value and because the analogy that his arguments are based on is fairly weak. Eventually, I conclude that metametasemantics does not pose any danger to metasemantics and that it provides a solid ground for developing a theory that benefits from both productivism and interpretationism.
KeywordsMetasemantics Metametasemantics Magnetism Interpretationism Global descriptivism Explanatory value
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The work on this paper has been funded by National Science Center, Poland, grant under award number 2018/31/D/HS1/03745.
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.