Metasemantic ethics

Derek Ball*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The idea that experts (especially scientific experts) play a privileged role in determining the meanings of our words and the contents of our concepts has become commonplace since the work of Hilary Putnam, Tyler Burge, and others in the 1970s. But if experts have the power to determine what our words mean, they can do so responsibly or irresponsibly, from good motivations or bad, justly or unjustly, with good or bad effects. This paper distinguishes three families of metasemantic views based on their attitudes towards bad behaviour by meaning‐fixing experts, and draws a series of distinctions relevant for the normative evaluation of meaning‐determining actions.
Original languageEnglish
VolumeEarly View
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2020


  • Anti-individualism
  • Experts
  • Metasemantic ethics
  • Metasemantics
  • Semantic externalism


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