Philosophical Studies

, Volume 163, Issue 3, pp 611–626 | Cite as

The Metasyntactic Interpretation of Two-Dimensionalism

Article

Abstract

Robert Stalnaker contrasts two interpretations, semantic and metasemantic, of the two-dimensionalist framework. On the semantic interpretation, the primary intension or diagonal proposition associated with an utterance is a semantic value that the utterance has in virtue of the actual linguistic meaning of the corresponding sentence, and that primary intension is both what a competent speaker grasps and what determines different secondary intensions or horizontal propositions relative to different possible worlds considered as actual. The metasemantic interpretation reverses the order of explanation: an utterance has the primary intension it has because it yields the secondary intensions it yields relative to different possible worlds considered as actual. In these possible worlds, the semantic facts can be different: the metasemantic interpretation is metasemantic in the sense that the secondary intensions are determined relative to possible worlds considered as actual given the meanings the expressionshavethere. Stalnaker holds a causal picture of the reference of names, according to which names have no meaning over and above their unique referent, and therefore maintains that the semantic interpretation is not an option. He thus endorses the metasemantic interpretation, while insisting that this interpretation does not, contrary to what he originally thought, yield any account of a priori truth and knowledge. My double aim in this paper is to show (i) that the metasemantic interpretation, as sketched by Stalnaker, is not compatible with one natural understanding of the causal picture of reference, on which names are rigid because they have their original bearers essentially, and (ii) that a third kind of interpretation of the framework is available, the metasyntactic interpretation, which grants that names have their bearers essentially and yields some account of a priori knowledge.

Keywords

Names Direct reference Two-dimensionalism Necessary a posteriori Contingent a priori Diagonal proposition 

References

  1. Chalmers, D. (2004). Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics. Philosophical Studies, 118, 153–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chalmers, D. (2006). The Foundations of Two-Dimensional Semantics. In M. García-Carpintero & J. Macià (Eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics (pp. 55–140). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Davies, M. (2006). Reference, Contingency, and the Two-Dimensional Framework. In M. García-Carpintero & J. Macià (Eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics (pp. 141–175). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Davies, M., & Humberstone, L. (1980). Two Notions of Necessity. Philosophical Studies, 38, 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Donnellan, K. S. (1970). Proper Names and Identifying Descriptions. Synthese, 21, 335–58 (Reprinted in D. Davidson, & G. Harman (Eds.), 1972, Semantics of Natural Language (pp. 356–379). Dordrecht: D. Reidel).Google Scholar
  6. Donnellan, K. S. (1977). The Contingent A Priori and Rigid Designators. In P. French, T. Uehling, & H. Wettstein (Eds.), Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2: Studies in the Philosophy of Language (pp. 12–27). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  7. Donnellan, K. S. (1983). Kripke and Putnam on Natural Kind Terms. In C. Ginet & S. Shoemaker (Eds.), Knowledge and Mind (pp. 84–104). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Frege, G. (1892). Über Sinn und Bedeutung. In his Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, 100: 25–50. Translated as “On Sense and Reference” by M. Black in P. Geach, & M. Black (Eds. and Trans.), 1980, Translations from the Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege, Oxford: Blackwell, 3rd edition.Google Scholar
  9. García-Carpintero, M., & Macià, J. (2006). Two-Dimensional Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Jackson, F. (1998). From Metaphysics to Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Justice, J. (2001). On Sense and Reflexivity. The Journal of Philosophy, 98, 351–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Justice, J. (2003). The Semantics of Rigid Designation. Ratio (New Series), XVI(March), 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaplan, D. (1989a). Demonstratives. In J. Almog, J. Perry, & H. Wettstein (Eds.), Themes from Kaplan (pp. 481–563). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kaplan, D. (1989b). Afterthoughts. In J. Almog, J. Perry, & H. Wettstein (Eds.), Themes from Kaplan (pp. 565–614). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kaplan, D. (1990). Words. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 64, 93–119.Google Scholar
  16. Kripke, S. (1972). Naming and Necessity. In D. Davidson, & G. Harman (Eds.), Semantics of Natural Language (pp. 253–355). Dordrecht: D. Reidel (Reprinted as a book, Naming and Necessity, 1980, Harvard University Press). (Reference pages to the latter).Google Scholar
  17. Michael, M. (1998). Tichy on Kripke on A Posteriori Necessities. Philosophical Studies, 92, 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Plantinga, A. (1974). The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Putnam, H. (1975). The Meaning of ‘Meaning’. In K. Gunderson (Ed.), Language, Mind and Knowledge, Vol. VII, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science (pp. 131–193). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  20. Salmon, N. (1986). Frege’s Puzzle. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Salmon, N. (1993). Relative and Absolute Apriority. Philosophical Studies, 69, 83–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Stalnaker, R. (1970). Pragmatics. Synthese, 22 (Reprinted in Stalnaker, R. (1999). Context and Content (pp. 31–46). Oxford: Oxford University Press). (Reference pages to the latter).Google Scholar
  23. Stalnaker, R. (1978). Assertion. In P. Cole (Ed.), Syntax and Semantics, Volume 9: Pragmatics, Academic Press, 315–32 (Reprinted in Stalnaker, R. (1999). Context and Content (pp. 130–149). Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  24. Stalnaker, R. (1981). Indexical Belief. Synthese, 49, 129–51 (Reprinted in Stalnaker, R. (1999). Context and Content (pp. 78–95). Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  25. Stalnaker, R. (1990). Narrow Content. In C. A. Anderson & J. Owens (Eds.), Propositional Attitudes: The Role of Content in Logic, Language and Mind, Stanford: CSLI (Reprinted in Stalnaker, R. (1999). Context and Content (pp. 194–209). Oxford: Oxford University Press). (Reference pages to the latter).Google Scholar
  26. Stalnaker, R. (1997). Reference and Necessity. In C. Wright, & B. Hale (Eds.), Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Language, Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd (Reprinted in Stalnaker, R. (1999). Context and Content (pp. 165–187). Oxford: Oxford University Press). (Reference pages to the latter).Google Scholar
  27. Stalnaker, R. (1999). Context and Content. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stalnaker, R. (2001). On Considering a Possible World as Actual. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 75, 141–56 (Reprinted in Stalnaker, R. (2003b), Ways a World Might Be: Metaphysical and Anti-Metaphysical Essays (pp. 188–200). Oxford: Oxford University Press). (Reference pages to the latter).Google Scholar
  29. Stalnaker, R. (2003a). Conceptual Truth and Metaphysical Necessity. Ways a World Might Be: Metaphysical and Anti-Metaphysical Essays (pp. 201–215). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Stalnaker, R. (2003b). Ways a World Might Be: Metaphysical and Anti-Metaphysical Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stalnaker, R. (2006). Assertion Revisited. In M. García-Carpintero & J. Macià (Eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics (pp. 293–309). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Tichy, P. (1983). Kripke on Necessary A Posteriori. Philosophical Studies, 43, 225–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wettstein, H. (1986). Has Semantics Rested on a Mistake? Journal of Philosophy, 83(4), 185–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wong, K.-Y. (1991). A Priority and Ways of Grasping a Proposition. Philosophical Studies, 62, 151–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wong, K.-Y. (1996). Sentence-Relativity and the Necessary A Posteriori. Philosophical Studies, 83, 53–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wong, K.-Y. (2006). Kripkean A Posteriori Necessities. In M. García-Carpintero & J. Macià (Eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics (pp. 310–326). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Linguistique Textuelle et de Pragmatique CognitiveUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium
  2. 2.UMR 8129Institut Jean NicodParisFrance

Personalised recommendations