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Abstract

In recent years, two-dimensional (2D) semantics has been used to develop a broadly descriptivist approach to meaning that seeks to accommodate externalists’ counterexamples to traditional descriptivism. The 2D possible worlds framework can be used to capture a speaker’s implicit dispositions to identify the reference of her words on the basis of empirical information about her actual environment. Proponents of 2D semantics argue that this aspect of linguistic understanding plays the core theoretical role of meanings: 2D semantics allows us to specify a reference-fixing criterion implicit mastery of which constitutes semantic competence a particular meaning.