Philosophical Studies

, Volume 118, Issue 1–2, pp 227–255 | Cite as

The Rationalist Foundations of Chalmers's 2-D Semantics

  • Laura Schroeter


In “Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics”, David Chalmers seeks to develop a version of 2-D semantics which can vindicate the rationalist claim that there are constitutive connections between meaning, possibility and a priority. Chalmers lays out different ways of filling in his preferred epistemic approach to 2-D semantics so as to avoid controversial philosophical assumptions. In these comments, however, I argue that there are some distinctively rationalist commitments in Chalmers's epistemic approach to 2-D semantics. I start by explaining why Chalmers's approach requires a canonical language that affords subjects accurate a priori access to the space of possibility. I then argue that traditional worries about rationalism will simply re-emerge as worries about whether there can be a canonical vocabulary and how we could come to recognize one if there were. The moral is that Chalmers's 2-D semantic framework builds in substantive metaphysical and epistemological commitments which stand in need of further defense.


Semantic Framework Philosophical Assumption Rationalist Foundation Rationalist Claim Traditional Worry 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Schroeter
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Philosophy and BioethicsMonash UniversityClayton CampusAustralia

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