# Meaning ain’t in the brain

I don’t know if there’s a name for the position that the meanings of our terms is pinned down by facts about the brain. The closest I know is semantic internalism, but a semantic internalist could think that meaning is pinned down by facts about qualia, which happen to not be facts about the brain. So I’ll make up a name for this position: call it physicalist semantic internalism.

Now, here’s an argument against physicalist semantic internalism that seems totally right to me.

What I mean by “second-order logical concepts” is the concepts of “and”, “or”, “not”, second-order quantifiers (“for all” and “for some”, ranging over not just objects but properties of objects), and the notions of functions, relations, and concepts.

1. The semantics of second order logic captures what I mean when I use second-order logical concepts.
2. No finite set of rules (and correspondingly no finite machine) can pin down the semantics of second order logic.
3. So no finite machine pins down what I mean when I use second-order logical concepts.
4. My brain is a finite machine.
5. So my brain does not pin down what I mean when I use second-order logical concepts.

And here’s another argument along similar lines:

1. The truth values of sentences about integers are determined by what we mean by integers.
2. The statement of the satisfiability of each Diophantine equation has a determinate truth value.
3. The statement of the satisfiability of each Diophantine equation is a statement about integers.
4. So the satisfiability of each Diophantine equation is fixed by what we mean by integers.
5. No finite machine can fix the satisfiability of each Diophantine equation.
6. Our brain is a finite machine.
7. So the meaning of integers is not contained in the brain.