Actual vs. counterfactual dispositional metasemantics : a reply to Andow

Michael JOHNSON, Jennifer Ellen NADO

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In previous work (Johnson and Nado 2014) we proposed a sketch of a disposition-based metasemantictheory, which has recently been criticized by James Andow (2016). Andow claims, first, that our dispositionalmetasemantics threatens to render the meanings of our words indeterminate, and second, that our viewrisks a 'semantic apocalypse' according to which most of our terms fail to refer. We respond to Andow'scriticism by modifying and expanding our orignial, underspecified view. In particular, we propose that a viewthat appeals to actual dispositions rather than counterfactual dispositions avoids many difficulties that might confront a disposition-based metasemantics - issues even beyond those that Andow raises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-734
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophia : Philosophical Quarterly of Israel
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Dispositions
  • Metasemantics
  • Philosophy of language


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