Intuitions in Philosophical Semantics
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionErkenntnis. 2015, 80 (3), 617-641. 10.1007/s10670-014-9666-1
We argue that the term “intuition”, as it is used in metaphilosophy, is ambiguous between at least four different senses. In philosophy of language, the relevant “intuitions” are either the outputs of our competence to interpret and produce linguistic expressions, or the speakers’ or hearers’ own reports of these outputs. The semantic facts that philosophers of language are interested in are determined by the outputs of our competence. Hence, philosophers of language should be interested in investigating these, and they do this by testing what we would say or understand in hypothetical communication situations. In the final section of the paper we suggest some methods for investigating these outputs which are independent of whether subjects report them, and hence which might be used as an alternative to the standard use of hypothetical cases.