I—Meaning, Understanding and Normativity



I defend the normativity of meaning against recent objections by arguing for a new interpretation of the ‘ought’ relevant to meaning. Both critics and defenders of the normativity thesis have understood statements about how an expression ought to be used as either prescriptive (indicating that speakers have reason to use the expression in a certain way) or semantic (designating certain uses as correct in a sense explicable in terms of truth). I propose an alternative view of the ‘ought’ as conveying the primitively normative attitudes speakers must adopt towards their uses if they are to use the expression with understanding.