Naturalism and the Metasemantic Account of Concepts

  • Sílvio Pinto


In chapter 5 of his 1992 book A Study of Concepts, Christopher Peacocke claims that his account of concepts can be reconciled with naturalism. Nonetheless, despite Peacocke’s greatest efforts to convince the skeptics that the mentioned accommodation is viable if one accepts his approach to concepts, some suspicion survives. In a recent paper on this very topic, Jose Luis Bermudez raises questions about Peacocke’s supposed naturalization by arguing that the approach in question is not able to make sense of the distinction between misapplying a concept one nonetheless possesses and not possessing that concept at all. What I am going to do here is, on the one hand, defend Peacocke’s concept naturalization project from Bermudez’s objection and, on the other hand, show that the latter’s suggestion cannot save the surely crucial distinction between making a mistake in using a concept and being incapable of a mistake or a correct use because of not having the concept.