Reference Magnets on Normative Twin Earth
Tristram McPherson (Virginia Tech)

part of: Mind & Morality Workshop
July 27, 2012, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Philosophy Department, Monash University

Philosophy Department Library (Room 916, Bldg. 11, Menzies West)
55 Wellington Rd
Clayton 3800

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Abstract: 'Twin Earth' thought experiments constitute one of the most serious challenges to the semantic program of naturalistic realism in metaethics. This paper develops and defends a response to this challenge that appeals to David Lewis’ theory of reference magnetism: the view that the joints of nature play a distinctive role in determining the reference of our thought and talk. I argue that reference magnets are capable of explaining the Twin Earth intuitions in a way that is compatible with a wide range of other commitments in metaphysics and semantics that a normative realist might adopt.

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