Against magnetism

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Magnetism in meta-semantics is the view that the meaning of our words is determined in part by their use and in part by the objective naturalness of candidate meanings. This hypothesis is commonly attributed to David Lewis, and has been put to philosophical work by Brian Weatherson, Ted Sider and others. I argue that there is no evidence that Lewis ever endorsed the view, and that his actual account of language reveals good reasons against it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-36
JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number1
Early online date13 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2014


  • meta-semantics
  • reference magnetism
  • naturalness
  • meaning
  • David Lewis


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