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The Rule-Following Considerations Author(s): Paul A. Boghossian Source: Mind, New Series, Vol. 98, No. 392 (Oct., 1989), pp. 507-549 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2255039 . Accessed: 01/09/2013 20:48
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The Rule-Following Considerations'
PAUL A. BOGHOSSIAN This is thefifthof our commissioned State of the Art Series INTRODUCTION of interest in the i. Recentyearshave witnessed a greatresurgence of the later Wittgenstein, writings especiallywith those passagesroughly, Philosophical Investigations and Remarks on the ##I/38-242 Foundations ofMathematics, section VI-that areconcerned with thetopic ofrules.Much ofthecredit forall thisexcitement, unparalleled sincethe of Wittgenstein in the earlyI96os, mustgo to Saul heyday scholarship It is easyto explain Kripke'sWittgenstein onRulesandPrivate Language.2 why. To beginwith,the dialecticKripkeuncovered fromWittgenstein's is enormously on itsownterms. discussion exciting On Kripke's reading, on rule-following thepassages are concerned withsomeoftheweightiest of meaning, the reality, questionsin the theory questions-involving ofmeaning-that incontemandprivacy reducibility, occupy centre-stage as poraryphilosophy. Furthermore, Kripke represented Wittgenstein and extremely claimsconcerning defending a set of unified provocative fortheseclaimswithpowerand thesequestions. And,finally, he argued floodof articles and bookson the subjectof ruleThe ensuing clarity. and warranted. following was bothpredictable to survey thisliterature. The present paperis theresult ofan invitation on what It couldhavebeenaboutexegetical therecent discussions matters, have had to teachus about the historical Wittgenstein's philosophical witha it is almostentirely concerned views. In the event,however, of ofthephilosophical contributions. Limitations assessment retrospective thata choicebe made; and the philosophical assessment space dictated to do.3Despitea lotofdiscussion, there is seemed themore fruitful thing of Kripke's of the precisenature roomforan improved understanding
1 I am grateful including in thispaper, oftheissuescovered discussion peoplefor helpful to many Richard Allen, LarrySklar, Rorty, Barry Loewer, Fodor,Barry Burgess, Jerry John MarkJohnston, in various and participants SteveYablo, Nick White, Neil Tennant, Saul Kripke, Crispin Wright, Church, Jennifer aredue to Paul Benacerraf, Specialthanks at theUniversity ofMichigan. seminars and David Velleman. 'K'. 2 Cambridge, Harvard Press,I982. Henceforth, University interpretation of come to despairof a satisfactory 3 The main reasonis thatI have actually to appearin of Meaningin Wittgenstein', views.I tryto say whyin 'The Problem Wittgenstein's forthcoming. ed. K. Puhl,De Gruyter, Meaning Scepticism,
Mind, Vol. 98
Press I989 OxfordUniversity
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5o8 Paul A. Boghossian
of their to the wider ultimate and of their relation arguments, cogency, in contemporary ofmeaning ofmindand language. discussion philosophy on thethread to a Pulling thatis Kripke's argument leadsquitenaturally ofmany ofthemostsignificant discussion issuesoccupying philosophers in thatlies themainimpetus behind thepresent today; essay. I proceedas follows. In partsI and II, I lay out the essentials of In subsequent I offer of Kripke'sargument. an extended parts, critique it presents, thedialectic on its own terms and independently considered of exegetical A discussion of the critical concerns. literature will be inas appropriate. The moral willnotbe recognizably woven Wittgensteinofmeaning ian:I shallargue theconception that, pace Kripke's intent, that is a realist, and judgement-independent conemerges non-reductionist, one which, sustains no obvious ception, moreover, animus against private language.
The sceptical problem As Kripke seesit,theburden oftherule-following is that considerations it cannot be trueofanysymbol thatit expresses someparticular literally This is the now-famous conceptor meaning. conclusion' he 'sceptical attributes to Wittgenstein:
function by '+'...
is no fact about methat distinguishes between mymeaning a definite [T]here
and mymeaning at all.4 nothing
to be supported? How is sucha radical thesis in effect, Kripke argues, by elimination: all the available factspotentially relevantto fixing the in a given ofa symbol meaning speaker's abouthowthe repertoire-facts hasactually usedtheexpression, facts speaker abouthowhe is disposed to use it,and facts abouthis qualitative mental and history are canvassed, foundwanting. on whatit is foran expression to Adequatereflection wouldbetray, so Kripke us to believe, possessa meaning invites that that couldnotbe constituted fact by anyof those. The claimis, of course,indisputable in connection withfactsabout actualuse and qualitative it is a familiar and well-assimilated phenomena; lessonof, precisely, Wittgenstein's thatneither Investigations, of those in isolation offact or in combination, species it could,either what capture is for a symbolto possess a meaning.Much more important and of a dispositional is Kripke'srejection controversial, however, of account
K., p. 2I.
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509 Considerations TheRule-Following meaningfacts.Why are factsabout how a speakeris disposed to use an its meaning? to determine expressionheld to be insufficient First,the idea of meaning Kripke develops two sortsof consideration. character if I meanplus by a wordis an idea withan infinitary something about how I oughtto apply no end oftruths by ' + ', thenthereare literally the term,namely to just the membersof this set of triplesand not to if I am to use it in accord withits meaning.This is not merelyan others, example; it holds forany concept. If I mean of the arithmetical artefact horseby 'horse', then there are literallyno end of truthsabout how it would be correctforme to apply the term to horseson Alpha Centauri, and so on, but not to cows or cats wherever to horsesin ImperialArmenia, theymay be if I am to use it in accord with its meaning.But, Kripke is finite, being the dispositionsof a of my dispositions argues,the totality time. And so, factsabout dispositions finite being that exists fora finite cannotcapturewhat it is forme to mean additionby '+'. stemsfromthe so-called theory The second objectionto a dispositional harderto state,but a of meaning.This objectionis somewhat 'normativity' will do fornow. The pointis that,if I mean something roughformulation of truths thatare generatedas thenthe potentialinfinity by an expression, to applythe about how I ought truths: theyare truths a resultare normative about ifI am to apply it in accord withits meaning,not truths expression, by an expression,it appears, how I-will apply it. My meaningsomething it guaranteesonly that does not guaranteethat I will apply it correctly; therewill be a factof the matterabout whethermy use of it is correct. may be convertedinto a conditionof adequacy on Now, this observation theoriesof meaning: any proposed candidate for being the propertyin virtueof whichan expressionhas meaningmust be such as to groundthe of meaning it ought to be possible to read offfromany normativity use of ofa word,whatis thecorrect property allegedmeaning-constituting Kripke maintains,that a disposithat word. And this is a requirement, to use a speaker'sdisposition cannotpass: one cannotread off tionaltheory for use of thatexpression, in a certainway whatis the correct an expression to be disposed to use an expressionin a certainway implies at most that one will, not that one should. The contentsof thought mental and othercontent-bearing intentions, 3. But whatabout thoughts, is More specifically: in the scepticalargument? states?How do theyfigure solelyto the scepticalthesisdirectedagainstthemas well, or is it confined representation? linguistic could be confined It is hardto see how a convincing meaningscepticism purely to the linguistic domain, given the intimate relation between thought and language. Philosophers divide, of course, on the precise
Wittgenstein onMeaning.on a Sellarsianview.in his Science. Since the Gricean holds that fixedcontent itemsacquire theirmeaningfromthe antecedently linguistic to the effect thatnothingnon-mental fixes of mentalstates.Urbana. and related papers.5. ed. I44-6. thatnothing non-mental fixeslinguistic meaning. is consideredand foundwanting: In theUnitedStates.therewould appear to be no plausible way to promotea one On the former (Gricean) picture. 6 ColinMcGinn. Schiffer.it will be worthwhile In fact.176.he needs to be given linguistic of mentalcontent. properties byvirtue ofbeing usedwith certain intentions. Philosophical Review. See also. This content downloaded from 168. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . of IllinoisPress. the suggestionthat some appropriatelygeneral thoughtor intention the soughtaftermeaning-determining factcomes up constitutes the dispositional accountof meaning before earlyin Kripke's presentation. that is most influential. meaningscepticism. Boghossian Do on the question of priority: natureof this relationand.it is the Griceanview. beliefs. presentation up a reallacunain Kripke's My third point . the semantic propertiesof language derive from the representational or is it the otherway round?5Whateverthe correct properties of thought.then. For a debateon thepriority question see 'The Chisholm-Sellars CorresponMindand Language.however.6 I think to see why. Clarendon Meaning.however. I984. he has to arguethatthe notionof possessing a determinate concepts.Of course.. in Britain whereas it appearsto be theSellarsian (Wittgensteinian?) viewthatthinking is a form of internalized speaking-speech inforointerno. I972. Perception andReality. For the Sellarsianview see his and thePhilosophy 'Empiricism ofMind'.But on a a demonstration Gricean view mattersare not so simple. I963. in particular.it must also threaten given (or content). be said. and on the latter (Sellarsian) picture. pp. as Sellarslikesto putit-that tendsto predominate.since it is fromlinguistic withoutthereby meaningthat thoughtcontentis held to derive. one cannot threatenlinguisticmeaning threatening thoughtcontent. S.University dence'. . London. answer.'Meaning'. and brief reflection exercise is by no meanstrivial. For theGricean viewsee H. P.Routledge and KeganPaul. Oxford. Press.thatresultis automatic. language-specific thoughtcontent. is likewise devoidoffactual foundation.in Intentionality. I957.Does Kripke a separateargument againstthe possibility see this need and does he show how it is to be met? Colin McGinn has argued thatthe answerto both questions is 'no': ofhisparadox.5 IO Paul A. I972.118 on Sun.an argument meaningwould leave the Griceanunmoved. Basil Blackwell. Either way. meaningis to have any prospectof If a scepticalthesisabout linguistic of mentalmeaning the possibility succeeding. contentand meaningmust stand or fall together. McGinn is wrongon both counts. linguisticmeaningwithoutthreatening cannot threaten since it is fromthoughtthatlinguisticmeaningis held to derive. . that Kripke explains showsthatthe to thelevelof concepts is to be carried out. Oxford. Grice.thatlinguistic expressions acquiretheir semantic and desires. points at thelevelof forKripketo applyhis paradox The pointis thatit is necessary thatis. A... Marras. It cannot concept oftheparadox howthis extension howthis needis tobe met.
i6ff). 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .118 on Sun.it is nothingso rich as a But we will be in a positionto appreciate hypothesis. This setofdirections. McGinn 7 K. I47.But this is equivalentto assuming. of propertiesof syntactically belongingto a 'language of thought'. of thought: whatdoes it meanto ask whether my to the language application of a of thought (i.8 What kind of linguisticmistakeis envisagedhere?.that thatI performed that And his responseto it seems clear (p. The troubleis thatit seemsclear. .does Kripke reallywish to restthe be much to recommend scepticalconclusionon so contestablea premiss? we will see below that. a linguistic granted againstthought. This content downloaded from 168.5. theexercise of a wordin mylanguage current employment ofthatword? in thelight ofmyearlier is correct employment concept) particular ofa thought): tothe falsity incorrectness (as opposed theideaoflinguistic here for is using thesameword weareconcerned with) (ofthekind incorrectness linguistic so in ignorance intended from that (and doing with a different originally meaning with a concept in thiswaymakesenseofemploying butwecannot ofthechange).I5-I6. There is just no analogue The idea of mental contentcannot be threatenedby Kripke.. I meant response.It is incompatible onmymind It is engraved additions listofparticular notthefinite quus.176. intended it wouldjust be a different thatoriginally content from a different concept. 8 Op.althougha forthe scepticalstrategy.The idea is thatthoughts someone may have had concerninghow he is prepared to use a certain a meaningforthatexpressiononly if their will help determine expression is presupposed. It is thissetofdirections.still. Hence on associated experiential and not by factsconcerning the assumptionthat no other sort of fact is relevantto the fixationof meaning by nothing.e.p. that with thehypothesis as ona slate. (if history Not by factsabout theiractual or counterfactual fixed? accountof meaningis to be believed).And althoughtheremay expressions thisview.7 mypresent and determines justifies in thepast. McGinn writes: in has no clearcontent issueforKripke. languageof thought this properlyonly afterwe have examined McGinn's claim that. at someearlier gavemyself I explicitly I maysuppose. pp. correctinterpretation thatthe scepticalchallengehas been met withrespectto Kripke suggests.. stylescepticalargument The normativity of meaning 4. thecrucial The issueofnormativeness. . the expressions of use. even it is stillimpossibleto runa Kripkemodel ofthinking. againsta dispositional theargument episodes. but is it not problematic? The strategy seems to depend on the assumption that thought contents are the identifiablebearers properties.5II Considerations TheRule-Following time.that is. But how was theirmeaning thatfigurein thosethoughts. Fortunately contestablepremissabout thoughtis involved. Cit.
It oughtto be clear. howwouldit Supposingthisweretheright understanding mentalcontent affect scepticism? McGinn says thatthe problemis thatwe cannotmakesenseofemploying a conceptwitha different content from that originally intended-it would just be a different concept. different matter. It is in such facts as this that the of meaningis said to consist.because theprincipal requirement by whichputative reconstructions of thatnotionare to be dispatched-the normativity requirement-has no cogent application to the language of thought.we do not. So we cannot have semantic in respectof themand. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5I2 Paul A.p.it expresses a different meaning.5.The claim calls for a ofthenormativity somewhat moresearching articulation thesisthanwe have of meaningconsist? attempted so far. forinstance. if it then expressesthe same meaningas it did earlier. The is thatwe do not have the sortof access to the expressions difficulty of our to us of semanticintentions in language of thoughtthat an attribution respectof themwould appear to presuppose.know what theylook like. but employingan expression in the languageof thought with a different contentfromthatoriginally whichis a rather intended.it is also irrelevant: whatwe need to make sense of is not a concept witha different fromthatoriginally employing content intended.9 So. normativity ofnormativity. correctly If McGinn's understanding ofnormativity werethe correct one. We have an accountof this normativeness whenwe have two things: (a) an ofwhat itis tomeansomething account time at a given and(b) an account ofwhat itis to meanthesame thing at different times-since(Kripkean) is normativeness a matter of meaning nowwhatone meant earlier.however. As it happens. then. Boghossian argues. This content downloaded from 168.it is an idea that is equally problematic.But although that is certainly true.accordingto McGinn..'incorrect'if. the lateruse of the expressionis 'correct'.You cannotintendthatsome expressionhave a certainmeaning unless you are able to referto that of its semanticproperties.In what does the normativity McGinn offers the following characterization: The notion ofnormativeness is a transtemporal Kripke wants captured notion . I74. without intendingto introducea change of meaning by explicit stipulation.. however. thatthe 'normativity' requirement definedby McGinn has nothingmuch to do withthe concept of meaningper se and is not the requirement that Kripke is operatingwith.. hence.cannotmake sense of usingthem intentions or incorrectly in the sense definedby McGinn. We mayappreciatethispointby observing thattherequirement defined 9 Ibid. expressionindependently But we have no such independentaccess to the expressionsof our language of thought.it to see how it could operateat thelevel of thought would indeed be difficult (thoughnot quite forthe reasonshe gives).176..118 on Sun.
The fact that the expressionmeans truthsabout my somethingimplies.that my use of it is correctin applicationto certainobjects and not in applicationto others.5.whatis thecorrect use ofthatword.What is it then? that 'green' meansgreen. 10 As weshallsee below. butmerely assesstheobjection.176. it expressionat one timeand meaningsomething by it at some timeand its is rather.a oftherequirement It is easyto see how. Kripke's claim that a dispositional requirement.Any meaning. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . an expressionhas the same or a are-it is always possible to ask whether McGinn's meaning on a dispositionaltheory.thus satisfying different How to explain.even where these are theoriessolely of linguistic ofmeaningthatprovidedan accountofwhatspeakersmean by their theory may otherwise times howevercrazy thattheory at arbitrary expressions be would satisfyMcGinn's constraint.on thisunderstanding itwouldseem.This is not.simply in ofmeaning ofwhether one thinks namefor thefamiliar fact that. ofthe ofadequacyon theories intoa condition observation maybe converted in virtue ofmeaning: determination anyproposedcandidatefortheproperty of which an expressionhas meaning. to thanthis. a new The normativity ofmeaning turnsout to be. '0 notthatone should (one can havedispositions will. conditions was to realizethatthis in warranted use. on theother. property meaning constituting in question. regardless possess expressions or assertion-theoretic terms. This content downloaded from 168. dispositional use ofthat to use a wordin a certain waywhatis thecorrect off a disposition for to be disposedto use a wordin a certain wayimpliesat mostthatone word.118 on Sun. to use wordsincorrectly). rather. then.the main theory would easily requirement.In particular. on thenormativity allegedby Kripketo founder facts determinate pass it on McGinn's reading: since thereare perfectly about what dispositionsare associated with a given expressionat a given since it is no part of Kripke's intentto deny that there time-or. a relationbetweenmeaningsomething use at that time.5I 3 Considerations TheRule-Following on theoriesof by McGinn could hardlyact as a substantiveconstraint meaning. The answer is that the normativity McGinn outlines. (On the one construal.must be such as to ground the from anyalleged ofmeaning-it oughtto be possibleto readoff 'normativity' ofa word. that is. meaningful truth-theoretic correctness consistsin true of correct use. do accounts ofmeaning whether really thequestion dispositional however. a relationbetween meaningsomethingby an by it at some latertime. in otherwords.one cannotread theory might appearto failit:for. a whole set of normative behaviourwith that expression:namely. requirement? founderspreciselyon the normativity theory requirementis not the thesis 5.I am notheretrying is muchmorecomplicated to thenormativity succumb objection to stateit. as McGinn would have it.) Kripke'sinsight use.It followsimmediately Suppose the expression things(the greenones) onlyto these 'green' applies correctly theexpression and not to those(the non-greens).
and sinceit willease exposition. After all.A language so richas a language is strictly hypothesis the of thought modelis composed out of two theses:(a) thatthinking thatmeans thought that p involves tokening an item-a representation is so involved thatp. to see. fixes the against public language? yes. tokening or factsabout associatedqualitative expressions episodes. This content downloaded from 168.judgement.desire. arenaturally understood as theproperties ofthestates or events thatinstantiate thosemodes. event.For:what on of Not other of in meaning expressions thelanguage thought? thoughts.forfamiliar of such expresreasons. I shallhenceforth l Since nothing write as ifa ofthought language hypothesis weretrue. expressions possess thesamesenseas publiclanguage correct use in precisely expressions do. it neednotmatter which whose something-a state. wish and. Butitshouldbe quiteclearthat nothing argument on theassumption depends ofstructure: eveniftherepresentation wereto no internal possess syntax. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .hence. and (b) thatthe representation whosetokening possessesa combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure.we arealso nowin a position ofthought needed.can. ofa certain itspossession Andalthough dispositional theory. For.however. In other of thought contents to a language words. natural and plausible.5.strictly speaking contestable. Therehas to be or particular.in proper Kripkean fashion. willbe no natural way to formulate ofthought a dispositional theory content. and does (in intent.'' in placewe arefinally ofthenormativity thesis in 6. Boghossian it aims to promote. It wouldappear. to get tokened undercertain circumstances on a disposition constitutes. of such actual Not factsabout the pain of viciousregress. thatthesceptical argument's strategy does presuppose thatcontent properties havesome sortof bearer (evenifnot a structured there necessarily one). I suppose. for. And not dispositional factsaboutthetokening conditions of of mentalese sincemeaningful sions. thought are the semantic of syntactically and semantically properties structured in thesceptical bearers. And so we see thatthe sceptical argument must.5 I4 Paul A. we couldstillask. andno natural way to bring thenormativity requirement to bearagainst it. anyway) include mental content within thescopeofthescepticism willhangon it.otherwise. this commitment it is also very is.176. nothing fixes their meaning. what its correctness conditions are and in virtueof what theyare determined. content.as promised. contents do not figure in a mental life exceptas subtended by a particular mode belief. becausecorrectness cannot be reconstructed dispositionally.118 on Sun. So. Withthisclarification to settlethe question:can Kripkedevelopthe same sortof a position ofthought as he develops meaning-sceptical argument against a language Andtheanswer is: clearly. according hypothesis. thatnothing Indeed.
The defend a claim aboutwhat he previously meant bytheexpression interlocutor innocently assumeshimself to havemeant addition. In fact. and physical history.thatI have statedthe sceptical problem about meaningwithoutonce mentioning Kripke's notorious sceptic. anyparticular 13 butto conclude thatthere are no facts aboutmeaning. problem constitutive. equippedwithordinary cognitive powers. Against Private Journal to thesceptical problem. pp. ofmeaning.118 on Sun. ofPhilosophy. is stillunableto justify his interlocutor access to all the relevant facts. evenwith thebenefit scepticism. of For ifhis sceptic is able to showthat.completely of a constitutive What it is suited for is the promotion scepticism. but the theconcept sceptic challenges himtoprove that in question wasnotinfact fora singularity where is justlikeaddition. 12 McGinn's failure how the constitutive and epistemological to notethisleads himto wonder the distinct from 'fortheepistemological claimis clearly are related. Kripke merely the constitutive in an epistemological choosesto present problem guise.by the way.'2 Kripke'ssceptical to promoting unsuited an epistemological scenario is. thatwouldleaveus no choice claimaboutwhathe meant. mental.5. discerns I984. Language'. he is notrestricted to thesortof knowledge thatan ordinary creature.176.. aspectsof Kripke'sdiscussion metaphysical claim'(op.would be expectedto possess.This is evident from thefact in a thesis thathisinterlocutor. in the interlocutor's arithmetical at a pointnot previously encountered practice. of theArgument Wright in his 'Kripke'sAccount 13 This pointis made very nicely by Crispin another however. 76I-2. For Kripke's problem appears be essentially epistemological todefend incharacter-it concerns a speaker's ability a particular meaning I not whereas the have outlined is ascription. I willdiscussthatbelow. notourknowledge epistemological-its topicis thepossibility of it. cit. problem to be Kripke's.p. is permitted complete and omniscient access to all the facts about his previous behavioural. Wright. theproblem is not-not evenin Pace manyofKripke's readers. to justify his claimthathe meantaddition beingchallenged by '+'. challenge is to explainhow anything could possessthat.however. Havinga meaning is essentially a matter of possessing a correctness And the sceptical condition. Notice. thus. dimension sortofepistemological This content downloaded from 168. the two problems are the same.Kripke's sceptic is notafter ofthatsort.proceedsby inviting his interlocutor '+'. 149). abouta givenclass ofjudgements is theview Epistemological scepticism thatour actualcognitive capacities are incapableof delivering justified in that opinions concerning judgements class.TheRule-Following Considerations 5I 5 Theconstitutive nature ofthesceptical problem 7. then. I havedescribed thesceptical couldnot It mayseem. as everyone knows. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . that then.That to character. quaddition except quaddition.
409-I0.But hereagain. 140-50.known non-inferentially. he adduces intention whatever Kripkemayhavehad. it and yetbelieve to havean epistemological dimension..See his 'Against Kripkean Tennant Scepticism'. Boghossian part-epistemological scepticism about meaning. Hacker. mentalexpressions-that theycome to have correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of them. as reasoning they maybe represented as follows. 16 Withone relatively minor to be notedbelow. Kripkeis not interested of correctness he is interested in thepossibility conditions.hence.precisely.pp. itcannot be true of particular. setting The constitutive problem aboutmeaning-how couldthere so much as be a correctness condition-can be stated quiteforcefully without theactualprovision of a convincing globalreinterpretation of a person's words. and hence that 'the rulefollowing considerations' is.one mayagreethat theproblem is constitutive in character.5I6 Paul A. cit. forthcoming.'On Misunderstanding Wittgenstein: Kripke'sPrivate LanguageArgument'. at length. 772-5.118 on Sun. 1984. on theone hand. of course. the answeris 'nowhere'.and the offollowing a rule.14But. between theconcepts ofmeaning and content.16 That. once we havecorrected for thedistortions induced there bythedialogic setting. Neil Tennant Synthese.anyway. butacceptable to it are to answers to an epistemic be subject constraint. howI shallpresent them. strictly a misnomer forthediscusspeaking.exploring the possibility is tantamount to thepossibility ofrule-following. exploring oftheconcept offollowing But. I do notwishtoargue aboutthis It doesseemtomethat.176. Bakerand P. forged? in an important sense. is essentially constitutive in character.5.op. pp. Expressions cometohave correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of of correctness them. exception This content downloaded from 168.. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . for in the merepossibility example. cit.pp. 15 See op. Many writers seemto assumethatthe connection is straightforward. G. oughtnot to be any residualtemptation to thinkthatepistemological a critical In anycase. the perception thatthisaffects the force of thesceptical problem aboutmeaning is a result oftaking thedialogic tooseriously. theconsiderations on behalf ofthesceptical to epistemoloconclusion appeartoowenothing gicalconstraints and can be stated their without is help.at leaston theordinary a understanding itcannot be true ofall expressions-in rule. It wouldnotbe inappropriate towonder at this what all this hasto point do withthe topicof rule-following? is the connection Where.I think. concept I shallarguethat. McGinn. sionon offer.at leastin one'sowncase.on theother. The 'rule-following' considerations? 8. has complained that a convincing Kripke's sceptic doesnotultimately bent-rule supply of reinterpretation his interlocutor's words. The pointis thatthe a rule-as opposed to that of merely ordinary conceptof following 14 For example. According to Crispin Wright. maywellbe right aboutthis. ofcorrectness conditions that 5 The problem maybe. considerations areplaying roleinKripke's argument.
Basil Blackwell. ofcorrect application.Oxford. are simply Truthconditions instances. help explainit.'8 THE SCEPTICAL SOLUTION A non-factualist of meaning conception that no word could have the 9.however. further supply conditions p. have conditions mental expressions themselves acquire meaning then. on Chomsky.5. ed. Since it makesessential not one thatcan.118 on Sun. whichin turnmakesessential attitude. it is a conceptthatpresupposes sequently. I intend no particular theoretical implications bytalking ofa term.it cannotbe truethatmentalexpressions rules in respectof them.17 courseof thegame)permits previous a rule is the conceptof conceptof following the ordinary As such. it rule-governed. 18 Simon conditions.176. Strikes Back'.talkof 'rule-following' correctness. Having established to his satisfaction of expressing a certainmeaning. Theoretical II My onlydisagreeI984. lie contentful mentalstates.Correctly at of chessmen of theconfiguration willdependbothon apprehension instance. George. of therebeingcorrectness shall talkindifferently and of theirobeyingprinciplesof application.conan act among whose causal antecendents theidea ofa correctness condition.Simon Blackburnhas capturedthis perspective The topic is ofrules here. Correctly of the features relevant both to apprehend a double success:it is necessary features. 281-2.Synthese.Whateverthis is. than tosaythat is no more there is sucha thing saythat of wordsbeing and incorrectness. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Kripke turnsto askinghow this property 1 and the CentralProjectof Considerations Rule-Following 'Wittgenstein's CrispinWright: I989. the productionof a termfrommere noise. A. and to andincorrect application there is sucha thing as thecorrect that I there is truth andfalsity. and turns is the factthatdistinguishes utteranceinto assertion into the makingof judgment. situation and to know presented for in thecourse ofa gameofchess. pp. 'The Individual Blackburn. On pain ofregress. (and the that configuration ofwhether and on a knowledge ofthemove. ofthose apprehended in thelight what.517 Considerations TheRule-Following act: it involves the to one is the concept of an intentional conforming attemptto bring one's behaviourin line with the dictatesof intentional conception some graspedrule. verywell: is harmless. castling willfit orfailtofit therule. 255. as a resultof anyonefollowing What Kripke's discussion is concerned with is the possibility of so long as we keep thatclearlyin mind. withtruth conditions of correctness its identification mentwiththispassageconcerns or justification conditions proof one speciesof a correctness condition. itis natural applying a ruletoa newcasewill. This content downloaded from 168. playwiththe idea of a propositional in thissense presupposesthat rule-following play withthe idea of content. in fullgenerality. in Reflections Linguistics'. thetime castling at thatpoint. CrispinWrighthas decribedthis intuitive veryclearly: involve typically to think.
518 Paul A. is incoherent.No supposition that'facts to thoseassertions is needed. in our intuitivepicture of sentence meaning. The second consists in a description of the assertibility conditionsformeaning-attributing assertibility sentences. The firstconsists in the suggestion that we replace the notion of truth conditions. to which he may belong'. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Language?'.'9 community The scepticalsolutionhas two partsthatare usefully distinguished. becomes the seeminglyparadoxical and self-refuting thesis that no one could mean anything by theiruse of linguistic expressions. . to entail that thereis nothingI could mean by the use of that across all signs and all people.which conservesthe scepticalthesisthatthereare no factsforsuch nevertheless attributions to answerto. is needed suggested to legitimize assertions thatsomeonemeanssomething is thattherebe roughly circumstances underwhichtheyare legitimately specifiable assertible.Oxford.in his view. of our ordinary What is called for. Boghossian conclusion is to be accommodated. Wright. unintelligibility becauseit is hardto knowhow to interpret 'necessary unintelligibility'.McDowell. 'Does Philosophical Investigations I. no suchconclusion assertions Allthat follows.if notthat.if we applyto these thetests . A scepticism about meaningfactswould appear to be.5. That is whatthe 'sceptical solution'is designed to do. Andit is notclearwhat it is to mean.258-6o Suggest a Cogent Argument Against Private inSubject. Surelyit cannotmean: a languageto whose predicates no twopeoplecould attach thesamedescriptive conditions. Clarendon 20 K.I986. . Goldfarb goeson to saythat Journal is moregeneral language thanthatof a Wittgensteinian 'private language'.For usefuldiscussion see C. and that the gameof asserting themhas a role in our lives. 77-8.The question is urgent. by that of conditions.176. Applied quite generally. See his 'Kripkeon on Rules'. Press. The adjustmentrecommendedin the firstpart is supposed to help because if we supposethatfactsor truth conditions are of the essenceof meaningful it willfollow from theskeptical conclusion assertion. forthelatter essentially involves theidea ofnecessary to another. It is allegedto have thefollowing startling consequence:theidea ofa language whose meanings are constitutedsolely out of an individual's considered'completelyin isolationfromany wider speaker's properties. This content downloaded from 168. The troubleis thatwe would ordinarily takea remark that therecould not be any such thingas the factthatI mean something by the ' + ' sign.. evermeansanything On theother hand.20 correspond' 19 Following we maycall thistheconcept Goldfarb. in the course of which it is argued that it is essential to such sentences that their conditionsadvertto the actions or dispositionsof a commuassertibility nity. the claim sign. pp. then. Wittgenstein ofPhilosophy. thatassertions that anyone are meaningless. in other words. theideaofa solitary 1985. Pettit and J. is a rehabilitation practice of attributing content to our thoughtsand utterances. of a 'solitary language'.118 on Sun. P. to be not merelyshockingbut paradoxibecause the conclusionthreatens to theeffect cal. ed. It is hardto assessthis.primafacie anyway.an unstableposition. Thought andContext.Sustainingit requiresshowingthatwhat it asserts does not ultimately lapse into a formof pragmaticincoherence.
and can only be accommodatedif we widen our gaze and take and betweenour imaginedrule-follower intoconsideration the interaction Were we to do so. orvice-versa . heshould have alonecan say at his mindor behavior can he be wrong? No one else by looking ifhe does notaccordwithhis ownintention'.5 Considerations TheRule-Following 9 sentence The proposed account is. according to Kripke. p. could be said to mean anything. fromthe observationthat. natureof the whollydescriptive explicationsof the view: scepticalsolution. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The argument against 'solitary language' emerges.Following 21 K. the something like.5. 88.we could a linguisticcommunity. use of a termand the community's.thisis as far [I]fwe confine ourselves to looking which we can saythat. .118 on Sun. And so a solitary language is impossible. in effect. evenifhe inclines under .'He is wrong are no facts abouthimin argument was thatthere wholepointof theskeptical he accords withhis intentions or not..so long as a speakeris consideredin conditionsto judgementsto the isolationwe can assign no assertibility effect that he has misapplieda symbolin his repertoire: at oneperson as we cango alone.21 virtue ofwhich of error.is essentialto our ordinary The possibility concept of meaning. Thereareno circumstances what circumstances said'5'. This content downloaded from 168..a global non-factualism: termsand significance is construedquite generallyin assertion-theoretic possessed no invidiousdistinction is drawnbetweenthesortofsignificance by meaning-attributing sentencesand thatpossessed by sentencesof other types.at least in his 'official' are madeand ofmeaning attributions We haveto see underwhatcircumstances exhortawhatroletheseattributions Wittgenstein's playin ourlives.176. Kripke continues. betweena given speaker'spropensities the agreement. . Kripke is veryclear about the limited.thiswould appear to notionsof errorand be the onlyway to give substanceto the correlative no one considered wholly in isolation fromother speakers correctness... language The argument againstsolitary io. Under tosay'125'. III ARGUMENT LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT OF THE SOLITARY AGAINST and solitary accounts Constitutive language i i. Let us turn now to an assessmentof the various central aspects of Kripke's argument. Since. however.. introduceassertibility conditionsforjudgementsabout errorin termsof in the or lack of it.however.
that there could not be such a language. And thiswould be a lot less thanthe resultwe were promised:namely. assertion conditions oughtto be and. Putting to one side.we mightbe able to reasona prioriabout whattheir conditions.. It is important to see that the counselled modesty-we will not reason a prioriabout the role such statements ought to play-is compulsory.however. The conditionsmay not be understoodto providethe content(or assertibility truthconditions)of the meaning-attributing sentences.118 on Sun. rather ought we will findout whatcircumstances actually license suchassertions and what rolethislicense actually to plays.5. Indeedsuchconditions wouldconstitute to the a 'straight' solution skeptical and havebeenrejected.we will not reasona priori about the role such statements to play.22 problem. let us ask whether it is in facttruethat. This content downloaded from 168. could theprojectofproviding an account of their assertion conditionsaspire to anythingmore than descriptive adequacy? Were we equipped with an account of theirtruth of course. If this is correct.thatthe scepticalsolutioncan do no morethanrecordthe conditions underwhichspeakersin factconsiderthe attributionof a certain concept warrantedand the endorsementof a particular responseappropriate. hence.For even ifit weretruethatour actualassertibility conditions for sentencesadvertto the dispositions meaning-attributing of a community. if we accept the sceptical conclusion. thatany possible language has to be communal. Communal assertibility conditions? thisworry I 2. we cannot introducesubstantive 22 K. potentially. Boghossian tionnot to think but to look.The Wittgensteinian exhortation 'not to thinkbut to look' is not merely(as it may be) good advice.It would appear to followfromthis.520 Paul A. or an analysisof what such rule-following conditions) 'consists in'.But without thebenefit of such an account there is no scope for a more ambitious project: a descriptively adequate account of the actual assertionconditionsforsuch sentencesis the most one may cogentlyaim for. to revise the forassertion conditions actuallyacceptedforthem. 86-7. (That is whythe solutionon has to be sceptical:it has alreadybeen conceded thatnothingcould offer cogentlyamount to the fact that a meaning sentencereports). pp. the mostthatwould licensesayingis thatourlanguageis not solitary. in the absence of a conceptionof the truth conditions ofmeaningattributing sentences.It is important realizethatwe are not looking and sufficient fornecessary conditions (truth for following a rule.on pain of falling preyto the accepted scepticalconsiderations.176. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the modestyit counsels is enforcedby the factthat truthconditionsforthese sentences has been jettisoned.however.we ought to be puzzled about how the scepticalsolutionis goingto delivera conclusionagainstsolitary language of the requisite modal force: namely.For how.
is canvassed This sortofrejoinder 25 K.. As a matter conditions Kripke outlines? thecommunalassertibility just the opposite seems true. in fendingoffa condisimilarimaginedobjectionto his own account of the assertibility tions: in our lives of a certain the utility is doingis describing WhatWittgenstein As in the in ourownlanguage.176.and theargument mathematical language preserved? againstsolitary though parasiticon I3. As a description of systematic deviations.on the contrary.521 Considerations TheRule-Following thatdo not advertto the conditionsformeaning-attributions assertibility that of a community of speakers?It appears. thereappears to be nothingin the scepticalconclusionthatwill rule it out. This cannot 'quus-like' at all.but have actuallydone so. Could it perphapsbe arguedthat(A) is permissible of fact. I46.. of course. I85-7.24 It can hardlybe objected that of the of 'sum' is being presupposedin the statement the interpretation solutionto condition.23 Consider the following: to assertof Jones thathe means additionby '+'.quite rough:roomhas to of our practice.25 from anyuse of language he is to be prohibited factual Nor is thereany problemin the assumptionthatit is a genuinely matterwhat any two numbers sum to..the greaterimportbe made forthe importance But all these to simple cases. forthescepticalsolutionis not meantto be a straight the problem about meaning. solitary individual.. as Kripke himselfrepeatedly emphasizes. arithmetical (A) is. dispositions not only can we introducesuch conditions.if the argument for(A) advertsto no one otherthanthe languageis to be sustained. the sceptical argumentdoes not threatenthe existence of facts. p.118 on Sun.But how.pp. Ibid. thispointis derived. of course. in another form oflifemight a participant case ofanysuchuse ofourlanguage. (A) It is warranted provided he has responded with the sum in reply to most queries posed thus far.5. cit. cit. givethisdescription he must Necessarily practise... and manyothersuch factors.But as Goldfarbpointsout. he is inclined with those toparticular addition agree answers problems 23 24 26 op. ance attaching may be safelyignoredforthe purposeof raisingthe following refinements of criticalquestion:what in the scepticalconclusionrules out attributions against form(A)? It had betterrule themout.op cit... in a non-standard in the description terms (such as 'agreement') applyvarious unless solution toWittgenstein's be an objection way.op. from This is argued This content downloaded from 168.then. as Kripke himselfsays.is (A) to be ruledout.and in McGinn..26 runs as folaccount of meaning-attributions Kripke's communitarian lows: Jones's to meanaddition by 'plus' onlyifhe judgesthat SmithwilljudgeJones togive. which in McGinn. bothin Goldfarb. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .
way round. In sum:bothbecauseitis difficult togenerate (impossible?) constitutive results outofnon-constitutive accounts. in other that theacceptability words.176.. The argument against wassupposed solitary language toflow from the of sentence adjustedunderstanding significance forced by the sceptical conclusion. exposesthefactthatKripke's communitarian on thesolitary conditions are parasitic and nottheother conditions.522 Paul A. and becauseouractualassertibilityconditions formeaning ascriptions appearnotto be communitarian. Andthiswouldappearto showthat. thatis calledfor. however.27 to thisaccount. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . provided he has responded withthesumin reply to mostarithmetical queries posedthusfar. Boghossian IfJones inagreement with consistently fails togive responses Smith Smith's. and nottheother wayaround. and manyimportant refinements One of therefinements aside.118 on Sun. 9I. I conclude that thesceptical solution does notyielda convincing argument against solitary language.thisseemsacceptable enough. Kripke's communitarian account to read: mustbe modified to assert ofJones (B) It is warranted thathe meansaddition by '+'. But thismodification wouldseemimmediately toreveal that thereference to 'my own responses' is idle. thepresent will deviation justify Smith that hehaslapsed. Jones by 'plus' only ifJones uses'plus'enough in thesamewayI am inclined times to use it. p. I willjudgethat means addition According then. will that hedoesnot mean addition EvenifJones judge didmean itin by'plus'. The sceptical conclusion hasitthat itcannot literally be true of 2 K. and thatthe basic assertion I condition acceptis just(A): It is warranted to assertof Jonesthathe meansadditionby '+'. injudging the past. providedhe agreeswithmy responses to arithmetical queries. at a minimum. ofthecommunitaris ianconditions strongly on theacceptability ofthesolitary parasitic ones. This content downloaded from 168. As a roughdescription of our practice.5. It wouldappear. IRREALIST CONCEPTIONS IV OF MEANING I4.under conditions I hadgoodreason to where believethatI had becomeproneto making arithmetical mistakes-perhapsowing to intoxication or senility or whatever-to on agreement insist for with with oftheconcept me as a precondition crediting Jones mastery ofaddition. I have beena reliablecomputer underconditions where of sums. It wouldbe absurd for me.
other ways of accommodatingthe sceptical conclusion? at leastat The solutionon offer is bound to strike one as an overreaction. of the truth But the disquotationalproperties predicateguaranteethat(i) entails (2) For any S: [Si has no meaning. (i) implies. thatno sentencewhatever possesses a meaning. Philosophical Review. however.Ethics:Inventing London. to begin with.176. We should think of it. perhaps.First. reactionto the news that Semantically speaking.The view in question would consistin the claim thatall meaning-attributions are false: (i) For any S: FS means thatpl is false. rather.is of doubtfulcoherence.in thatit opts fora form factualism.5.a sentencecannotbe false unless it is meaningful thisin turnimpliesthat(i) cannotbe true:forwhat (i) says is thatsome sentences are false. and second. and defended This content downloaded from 168. of nonfirst blush.ratherthanrestricted region of discourse meaning talk that is directly affectedby the scepticalresultit seeks to accommodate. or a capacity to state facts. This argument and thePropositional Attitudes'.in contrast regions.as opposed to an error theory.thatis.in two possiblerespects. Penguin. I98I . ofmoraldiscourse. 29 An error conception is elaborated ofPhilosophy.in terms of possession of assertibility conditions. in that the solelyto the recommended non-factualism is global. forthcoming in my'The Statusof Content'. But is this solution forced? Are there not.Considerations 523 TheRule-Following any symbolthatit expressesa particular meaning:thereis no appropriate factfora meaning-attributing sentenceto report.29 sentences namelymeaning-attributing 28 See JohnMackie. declarative sentencesto possess truthconditions. for an error with errorconceptionsof other conceptionof such discourse.An error conception of a given region of discourse conserves the region's semantical appearances predicates are still understood to express properties.the ontological discoveryis taken to exhibit merely-the systematic falsityof the region's (positive.118 on Sun.atomic) sentences. forsuch a Rightand Wrong.the most conservative of being a witchis not to adopt a non-factualist nothinghas the property an error conceptionof witchtalk.The scepticalsolution's recommendation is that we blunt the forceof this result by refusingto thinkof sentencesignificance in termsof possession of truthconditions. conception see his 'Eliminative has beenadvocated ofmeaning by Paul Churchland. Journal Materialism AprilI990.it is to offer conceptionof such talk. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .28 be understoodto consist Could not the moralof the scepticalargument in an errorconceptionof meaning discourse?It could not.I977.Since.
in PartI of myPh. 769-70 and in my 'Meaning. ifno other. non-factualism. (4) For any S: rS[ is not truthconditional. (4) For anyS: rSi is nottruth-conditional justas predicted. cit. a view?Why does he not suggest Whydoes Kripkeadopt so extreme that we abandon a truth-conditional modelfor merely semantic discourse.since. anyway) a function ofits a non-factualism meaning.But does his non-factualist conception better? ofa non-factualist I5. about meaning will enjoina non-factualism abouttruth-conditions: what truth-condition S possesses couldhardly be a ifthat in virtue ofwhich factual matter it has a particular truth-condition is notitself a factual And so we haveit that(3) entails: matter. It is. at leastsomeregions of language? Kripkedoes notsay. and since(5) has it that rS has truthcondition it follows pl is never that simply true. about meaning.pp. in theviewthat pl is nottruth-conditional.176. I986.118 on Sun. thatis. a fascinating consequenceof a non-factualism about that itentails a global meaning. and henceno suchfact. a non-factualism aboutmeaning from distinguishes itself a similar thesis 30 Somewhat different are givenforthisbothin Crispin arguments Wright's 'Kripke'sAccount'. Since thetruth-condition ofanysentence S is (in part. This content downloaded from 168. Ioc.But it maybe thathe glimpsed thatthe oftheprojectivism globalcharacter is in fact forcedin thepresent case. while for oftherest preserving it. in thisrespect.D.. the projectivism recommended by the solution is intended to applyglobally: it is notconfined to sceptical solely sentences. onlyif S has truth-condition p. since there is no suchproperty as a word'smeaning something.5. pl is nottruth-conditional. no meaning-attributing sentence canbe truth-conditional. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . p: rS meansthat As I noted above. Boghossian So it appearsthatKripkewas right to avoid an error of conception fare any meaningdiscourse.as seemsnatural. Dissertation Essayson Meaning and Belief. p: rS has truth-condition of the disquotational of the truth However.courtesy properties a sentence oftheformrS has truth-condition pl is trueifand predicate. consists. (5) For all S.30 For consider a non-factualism aboutmeaning-the solely viewthat. The canonical formulation view-and theone that is Kripkehimself declarative sentence favours-hasit thatsometargeted not genuinely A non-factualism truth-conditional. Content and Rules'.524 Paul A. meaning-attributing Thus. (3) For anyS. however. then. Princeton.
Truthand Logi'c.. like most of truth conception .118 on Sun.33 thattheword'truth' has shown ouranalysis If the concept of truthwere. the good: Consider a non-factualist (7) All sentencesof the form rx is goodl are not truth-conditional. .But whatis wrongwiththat?If thereis an instability one. a non-factualist orderto frame suppose about truth as a result of accepting a non-factualismabout meaning.I do believe thata non-factualism Rather.Ayer.however.a fortheformer failto qualify statements thatcertain wayof a discovery to is notitself instance. oftheskeptical oftheconclusion statement be projective. and not the concept of some genuineproperty some 'real relation' thata sentence(or thought)may enjoy. The pointthatneeds to be keptin focusis thatthesentenceof whichtruth sentence..a global projectivism whatthe instability thatno sentencepossesses a truth to admitthatit is no morethanassertible here. ..176.to a failureto analyze sentencescorrectly . P. as Ayer claims in this passage.. 770. There are philosophicalmistakes. This content downloaded from 168. thesisabout.Dover.but not because of its global character. cit.. 33~ A. to do with the clash between what you have to suppose about truthin and whatyou have to thesisabout anything. 89.I952. J. for argument. of theprojectivism would have consists. For on a of truth. ittocomeby want willpresumably theprojectivist discourse. concept be deflationary is cannot the thesis framed non-factualist follows: as described Ayersuccinctly as a 'real quality'or a 'real relation'is due.. . merelythe concept of a device for semantic ascent.a sentencewill be truth-conditional understanding deflationary of Content'. In fact. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .31 withWright'ssuggestionthattheremust be It is hard not to sympathize withinthescope thesisthatis itself something unstableabout a projectivist clear to me in But it is also not entirely it recommends.the reasonshave unstable. say. 32 In 'The Status 3" Ibid. The traditional real .For this declarative conditionsare being denied is a significant of which the in of truth terms that the concept factimmediately implies thatA..however exactly quiteglobally. [but] seemsto standforsomething in which theword'truth' sentences does notstandforanything. then non-factualismis nowhere a coherent option. to say that p is true is simply a way of assertingp.32here I have space only to sketchits outlines. J. p.To be sure.5.CrispinWrighthas suggestedthatit also problematic: rendersit irremediably views couldbe applied that projectivist tosuppose itis coherent that itis doubtful between fact-stating be drawn thedistinction For. I have developed the argumentfor this in some detail elsewhere. not a transparent about meaningis i6.525 Considerations TheRule-Following about any othersubject matter.New York. Language.it is condition. andnon-fact-stating class. loc.
176.It in thefact consists error that and non-factualist theories aboutany subject matter claims certain abouttruth andtruth-conditions. therefore.as I shallhenceforth put it. for meaning. In particular. willhaveto be possessed of robust truth-conditions. 34 Again. eligibility willnotbe certified purely bythefact that a sentence is declarative and significant.118 on Sun. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . itis truth-conditional. Boghossian provided onlythatit is apt forsemantic ascent.34 thatthe preceding discussion has in sowing succeeded somedoubtsaboutthecogency of irrealist conceptions of meaning-whether in the formof a non-factualism about as in thesceptical or an error as suggested.robust. there ofthematter couldfailtobe a fact aboutwhether an object hasP.possesstruth-conditions. language-independent property. but they are notincoherent. if truth is a robust property. This content downloaded from 168. in form. appealing Whyshouldmatters standdifferently withmeaning discourse? The source oftheasymmetry is actually notthat hardto track down. of sometargeted. But we sawearlier-see(5) above-thata non-factualist thesis aboutmeaning impliesthat judgements about a sentence'struthcannot be factual: a certain whether is true cannot sentence be a factual ifitsmeaning matter is not. loc.fora moredetailed treatment see 'The Statusof Content'. thata non-factualism about any subjectmatter presupposes a conception of truthricherthan the deflationary: it is to holding committed thatthe predicate 'true' standsforsome sortof language-independent forwhich property. theory. Not surprisingly theensuing result is unstable. So long as it is a genuine. present essay. So we haveitthat thesis truth that anynon-factualist presupposes is. declarative failstc. then abouta sentence's judgements truth valuemust themselves be factual. instance. solution. presuppose that an error ornon-factualist directed conception at ourtalkofmeaning precisely itself endsup denying.526 Paul A. declarative that sentence. therewill be no understanding its claim that a significant sentence.however. I7 It is hard to do justice to theissuesinvolved within theconfines ofthe I do hope. Irrealist of otnerdomainsmay not be particularly conceptions or plausible.noticethatjudgements about an objectpossessesa robustproperty whether could hardly fail to be factual.now.5. cit.And thisexposesthecontradiction we havebeenstalking: a nonfactualism aboutmeaning boththattruth is robust and thatit is implies not. significant.and it will be apt for semantic ascent provided onlythat it is a significant. judgements aboutit willhaveto be factual. It follows. by Churchland. It does not matter if P is subjective or otherwise dependent upon our responses. declarative sentence. If P is somegenuinely robust thenit is hardto see how property. Otherwise. of theclaimis boundto arousesuspiThe uncompromising strength cion. But. But it is constitutive ofa non-factualist thesis precisely thatit denies.
the failure ofmeaning. forexample. are distinctfrom constraint. the on a number has beenfaulted argument i8. claims that Kripke neglectsto considerthe that possession of a concept mightconsist in possession of a possibility certainsort of capacity. The sceptical being: mostimportant of meaning do not dispositional accounts against That its arguments work.in all essentialrespects.a causal theory of meaning.an account thatis. This content downloaded from 168. 36 See Goldfarb. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . therefore. cit.a non-factualism precisely at our directed But a non-factualism oftruth.118 on Sun. theory species of a dispositional 3 See McGinn. Whatcouldit be? V REDUCTIVE ACCOUNTS OF MEANING ofgrounds. I3. with Something lead us to it. an error But an errorthesis directed targetsentencesare truth-conditional.thatI see no meritto objectionsof thatKripkeignoresvariousviable thatI have seen to theeffect suggestions reduction bases formeaningfactsseem to me to reston misunderstanding.5.. argument thatthe sceptical The final concedes andproperties. entails talkaboutmeaning then.n. Colin McGinn.Thus. I68-74.also. entails thedenialofthatpresupposiat ourtalkaboutmeaning precisely a presupposes matter aboutanysubject tion. facts. That itsconclusion depends claim they issuefrom a naturalistic perspective: The first twoobjections even granted a failsto establish its thesis. of accommodating the claim thatthereare no truths to theargument that appeared mustbe wrong. Capacities..All the anti-reductionist suggestion.op. cit.176.35 dispositionsand are bettersuited to meet the normativity outlinedabove.36 accountsof the determination of meaningis simplyone see that. naturalistic all theavailable That it neglects to consider on an unargued reductionism. objection tonaturalistic facts restriction is but chargesthat the scepticalargument of naturalism. McGinn explains. In thispartI shallexamine the secondkindand will not discussthemin any detailhere. construal anti-reductionist against an appropriately powerless the andin thenext thenaturalistic objections. Warren of normativity This restson themisunderstanding Goldfarb charges that Kripke neglectsto consider causal/informational to a failure This derivesfrom of meaning. of course. I should say at the outset. if theseconsiderations way appears tobe no stable there be sustained: conclusion cannot sceptical about meaning.theywould show thatthe are correct. robust conception thedenialofthatpresupposition. op.however.527 Considerations TheRule-Following thatthe presupposes thesisaboutany subjectmatter Thus.pp.
2.For the root form of a causal/informational theorymay be given by the followingbasic formula: 0 means (property) P by predicate S iff (it is a counterfactual supporting generalization that) 0 is disposed to apply S to P.in effect. MIT Press. I986. Minneapolis. I977.176.includinghorsesso faraway and so farin the past thatit would be nonsense to suppose I could ever get into causal contactwith them. Dispositions and meaning: finitude 19.if it is indeed the property horse thatI am disposed to applythetermto. vol. Dretske. The singlemostimportant strandin the scepticalargument consistsin the considerations against dispositionaltheoriesof meaning. For conceptual roletheories see: H. D. ofMinnesota University Press.528 Paul A. Field.5. 'Logic. The root formof an information-style dispositionaltheoryis this: I am disposed My mentalsymbol'horse' expresseswhateverproperty to apply it to. of MinnesotaPress. the sake of concreteness. thenI should be disposed to apply it to all horses. to suggestingthat therewill Kripke's firstobjection amounts.But the impression is misleading. 37For correlational theories see: F. MIT Press. Ned Block. For. forPsychology'.I98I. in what my dispositions always be a serious indeterminacy are. underrole versionsof a dispositionalaccount standably.Otherwise.'Towardsa Causal Theoryof Linguistic Representation'. Midwest Studiesin Philosophy. Minneapolis. This content downloaded from 168.I987. he tends. Jerry University Fodor.but theissues thatariseare generaland applyto anydispositional theorywhatever. thus renderingdispositional propertiesan inappropriatereduction base for meaningproperties. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 'Advertisement for a Semantics Journal Role'. on informational of thecontentofmental theories symbols.Because Kripke illustrates problem throughthe use of an arithmetical example.It would be hard to exaggeratethe importanceof such theories for contemporary philosophyof mind and semantics:as I have just indicated.118 on Sun. I977. Boghossian thatthis connectionis extensively discussed by Kripke. It is unfortunate the sceptical obscured in Kripke's discussion. the most influentialcontemporary theories of content-determination 'informational' theories and 'conceptual-role' theories are both forms of a for dispositionalaccount.37In my discussionI shall tend to concentrate. whatis to say thatmy dispositionis not a dispositionto or some such?But no one can apply the termto the property nearbvhorse. Cambridge. Meaning andConceptual ofPhilosophy. vol. Kripke argues.This has given rise to the impressionthat his discussion of dispositionalism does not covercausal theories.ratherthan on causal/informational versions.Io.to focus on conceptual of meaning. Stampe. andtheFlowofInformation. Midwest Studies in Philosophy. Psychosemantics. Knowledge Cambridge.
criticism For a related This content downloaded from 168. All dispositionalproperties their exercise the holding of the relevant counterfactualtruth is on theabsence ofinterfering or equivalently.And it certainlyseems conceivable that a willrenderthecounterfacsuitableidealizationofmybiologicalproperties tual about my behaviouron Alpha Centauritrue.forexample.Kripke considerssuch a responseand complains: in this? How in theworldcan I tellwhat But howcan we haveanyconfidence brainmatter? .But that by itselfneed not pose an insuperableobstacle to are such that ascribingthe dispositionto me. p. by out thatifconditionswereideal forthe tortoise if. definedover ideal conditionsunless one knows acceptinga generalization would be true if the ideal conditions exactly which counterfactuals obtained. Surely such with extra wouldhappenifmybrainwerestuffed shouldbe left fiction writers and futurologists.39 the conditionsover be true if molecules and containersactuallysatisfied that does not preventus from which the ideal gas laws are defined. on the conditions.176.. can be used to attribute one can hardlycredit a tortoisewith the abilityto overtakea hare. it seems completely For example. I5 (manuscript).if I were to survivesuch a trip. cit. the counterfactual If I were now to go to Alpha Centauri. can with Similarly. counterfactual If conditionswere ideal.118 on Sun. it is one thingto dispel an objection to a thesis.Of course.Considerations 529 TheRule-Following have a disposition to call all horses 'horse'.I would call the horses there 'horse'. S would do A to S the dispositionto do A in C. 27.but that need not preventus fromclaimingto know that. pointing 38 39 40 K. ofKripkeon thisscoresee Blackburn.but if were their volume would vary know there ideal gases. is false. See 'A Theory Part II. contingent presence of ideal conditions.I probablywould not be in anypositionto call anything by any name. claimingto that. The argument does not convince. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . however. op. then. then.if C.it is anotherto in no positionnow to show that provethethesistrue.And we are certainly trouble is that not every true The we do have infinitary dispositions. on no one claim to know the them. of the form. for no one can have a dispositionwithrespectto inaccessibleobjects.. p.38 speculation to science thatone can have no reason for If the pointis supposed to be.no one can claim to knowall of whatwould unacceptable.If I werenow to go to Alpha Centauri. of Content'. inversely pressure I a to if were modified as to survive so all of whatwould be true trip Alpha Centauri.I would call the horses there'horse'.40 Still. For example.forI would probablydie before I got there. . as JerryFodor has pointed out.5.
I havenotactedin accordance withmyintentions.4' The fact that I mean somethingby an expression.530 Paul A. he has not done.5.. not ifI meant descriptive. I willanswer 'I25'. factors disturbing may lead me notto be disposed to respond as I should.only certainidealizationsare permissible. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .however. The point is notthat. In the absence of such an account. Obviously.the expressionwillbe applied onlyto thosethings which are in its extension.This is unsurprising given the difficulty and delicacyof the issues involved. But this is not the rightaccountof the relation.we cannotbe completely confident that ascriptions of infinitary dispositions are acceptable. And here matters are not so straightforward.Kripke seems to think.In whatsense is meaning a normative notion?Kripke writes: 20.we do not now knowwhichidealizationsthoseare. of course. implies to use thatexpression. The fact that'horse' means horse impliesthat'horse' is correctly applied to all and onlyhorses:the notionof the extensionof an expressionjust is the notion of what it is correctto apply the expressionto. whichis normative. I should mypastmeaning answer 'I25'. finiteness ofmycapacity. Whatis therelation tothe supposition question howI willrespond to theproblem '68 + 57'?The dispositionalist a gives ofthis if' + ' meant account relation: I willanswer descriptive then addition. The set of permissible counterfactuals is constrained by criteria of whichwe currently lack a systematic account.because we cannot be completely confident thatthe idealized counterfactuals needed to support such ascriptionsare licit.Kripke says. 'I 25'. butifso.is incontestable. truths about how I ought truths about how it would be correct forme to use it.118 on Sun. toaccord with of' + '.as a matter of fact. SupposeI do meanaddition ofthis by' + '. notdescriptive. ifI intend butthat.and also obviously. But I thinkit is fairto say that the burden of proofherelies squarelyon Kripke's shoulders:it is up to him to show that the relevantidealizationswould be of the impermissible And this variety.it is not to say descriptive that.of course. Dispositions and meaning: normativity Few aspects of Kripke's argument have been more widelymisunderstood than his discussion of the 'normativity'of meaning and his associated criticismof dispositionaltheories. 41 K.that these observations by themselves ought to be enough to show thatno dispositional theory of meaning can work. In particular. addition by + '. Boghossian it weremuch biggerand faster-thenit would overtake it. p. The relation ofmeaning and intention to future actionis normative. This much. It is also truethatto say that a given expressionhas a given extensionis not to make any sort of simple remark about it.176. 37- This content downloaded from 168. Computational and other error.
Ned Block has written treatment one that rolesemantics] theorists. presumably. in the extensionof that expression. But it will Then.p. would have ruled out. cit. disposed to use it. This is a 'horse' means whateverproperty There are two of course. dark also be true that there are certain circumstances sufficiently horseylookingones such that. 63I. like the There is a related conceptual difficulty. If conceptual role is supposed to determine preyto Kripke's meaning.thentherecan be no question. ipsofacto. thenit cannotbe thatwhatever right. is bound to get theextensionof 'horse' wrong. This content downloaded from 168. . op..I nights-and certaincows sufficiently to call those cows 'horse' too.The first by it.176..Suppose I mean horse I have a dispositionto call horses 'horse'. lacks the resources by I am disposedto apply the expression property which to effectthe requisite distinctionbetween correctand incorrect I withwhatever If whatI mean by an expressionis identified dispositions. can hope to succeed. becauseI'm notsure do? ... of error.But our crude dispositional expressionto something withthe I meanbyan expression theproperty theory. But thisleads to the unacceptableconclusionthat'horse' does not express horseor cow. show.that is. In a recent. this is a dispositionto make a mistake. theneverything apply the expressionto is.5. then. the property horsebut ratherthe disjunctiveproperty Any theorywhich. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . that no dispositional The objections from normativity I meanby theproperty thatassumes the simple formof identifying theory I am disposed to call 'horse'.118 on Sun. under those circumstances. hopeless theory. in ideal or normative or shouldit be tied to whatpeople understood terms.and theyare closelyrelated. 42 This ought to seem odd. notto comment on thismatter . but it is surprisinghow little they are appreciated. giventhatit identifies to. am disposed. crude dispositionaltheorycurrently how it would be correctforme to use a certainexpressionwithhow I am the very of definition. 42 Ned Block. rightto me is (by definition) One would have thoughtthese points too crucial to miss. to apply the Intuitively.And as Wittgenstein possibility seems ofcorrectness is to make sense at all. is thatthe theory difficulty of them. I am disposed to am disposed to apply the expressionto. but the reasons are instructive. I prefer actually what to say .of identifying actual dispositionswith respectto that expression. as a matter ifthe idea was fondof remarking. 'horse'withtheproperty What did not assume this simple form? But what if a dispositional theory 2I. simplyequates under consideration. comprehensive of conceptualrole theories. not in its extension.53I Considerations TheRule-Following above: theory mentioned Let us beginwiththe verycrude dispositional I am disposed to apply it to. ofa choicethatmustbe madeby [conceptual role be shouldconceptual has had no discussion (as faras I know):namely.on pain of falling an expression'sconceptual role with a subject's objection.
they ofdistinct A number arefacts ofwriters sorts. But thatis notright. it mustselectfrom amongthe I have for 'horse'. meaning wouldit notthenbe truethattheobjections from had beendisarmed? normativity toputmatters Let us try a little more precisely.those dispositions whichare meaningdispositions In other it mustcharacterize. If a dispositional theory is to have any prospect of succeeding. in terms it specified thatprinciple thatdid notpresuppose thenotion of or extension. If onlysufficiency disposition's wererequired we wouldnotknow. evenif words. according there werea dispositional that covaried with a meaning predicate logically theonefact couldstillnotbe identified with theother.SimonBlackburn. Provided the theory specified a principle of selection that outonly theextension-tracking andprovided also that picked dispositions.43 Givensucha property. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . in non-intentional and determining. havebeeninclined tofollow himin this. Boghossian dispositions withthatproperty to will be guaranteed to be dispositions bothof the objections from applythe expression correctly. couldstill notbe identified ofmeaning.In other toKripke. disposition thefact it with because stillremains of a disposition truethattheconcept is descriptive whereas ofmeaning theconcept is not. to constitute to applythe therefore. At thispointtwoquestions sucha property arise. has written: 43 It is occasionally suggested thatit wouldbe enoughif possession of M weresufficient forthe correctness.Therewillbe no fear that theequation willissuein falseverdicts aboutwhattheexpression means. it willno longer is right: follow thatwhatever seemsright thosedispositions notpossessing M willnotbe dispositions toapply theexpression towhat it meansand willbe free. thatquestionbelow.532 Paul A. supposingtherewere. Kripke seems to thinkthat even if therewere a suitablyselected theextension thatcaptured of an expression disposition that accurately. theexpression's For although meaning. And so we wouldnothaveevena sufficient condition fortheexpression's a givenmeaning. for predicate.instead ofidentifying I meanby'horse'with what theentire ofmy range in respect dispositions of 'horse'. of a definition simply by virtue of M. since if. thensafely equatemeaning with:thesetof something by an expression This content downloaded from 168. couldwe not however. Kripkeis clearly sceptical abouttheexistence of an appropriate I will consider M-property.First.5.118 on Sun. words. ofM is necessary non-semantic a property M suchthat: terms. dispositions expression falsely. But morethanthis.it identified it onlywithcertain select dispositions. second. possession for to applyan expression in accordwith andsufficient a disposition being itscorrectness conditions. possessing dispositions with respectto that expression that possess M? For. normativity canvassed so far wouldappeartohavebeenmet.sinceit is onlyM-dispositions thatare guaranteed to be correct. we wouldknowwhat properties were definitely part oftheexpression's meaning we wouldnotknow ifwe hadthem all.is there really M? And. is therereallyno more to thenormativity ofmeaning thanspecifying capturing sucha property? Now.176. And. forinstance.
covarywiththe extensions thatlogically dispositions in questionthe expressions' correctness one could read offthe dispositions factdoes not amountto the meaningfact.533 Considerations TheRule-Following they we succeedin identifying dispositions I shareKripke's viewthatwhatever which we mean.propertyM. Similar Strikes "4 'The Individual a on Following 10c. There might theory condition.that apply the expression underwhicha speakeris disposed to thereare certainselectcircumstances apply the expressiononly to horses. somethingwe would be inherently in aremadebyWright concessions Back'.. to a previous ofwhat it is to be faithful an account provide us with couldn't tothetask areinadequate dispositions Kripke. and perhaps it can be non-question-beggingly of certified thatthatstatecorrespondsto a stateof theproperfunctioning If so.First.pp.118 on Sun. What we are in a positionto do. This would ensure the Second.loc.and. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .A properreduction correctly. once the extensionshave been specifiedcorrectly? of themeaningof One might have a thought likethis. it is conceivablethatthatwould amountto a nonthosemechanisms. cit. I984.44 they Indeed.To be told whereasthis does followfromthe attribution that 'horse' means horseimplies that a speakerought to be motivatedto only to horses.They for selection ofa function couldat mostgiveus standards rule. it must show how possession of theory'sextensionalcorrectness. thatdeservesto be called a an M-dispositioncould amountto something motivated to correctness condition. specifisubstantive the successful. it would also specify its extension an expression would notmerely is an extension namely. denyinga dispositionalreduction. cation of dispositionsthatmirror of factsabout meaningas groundsfor character But he citesthe normative But what preciselyhas been leftover.withoutpresupposingany semantic or intentionalmaterials. p. because it never follows from the mere attribution use. 77I-2. that thereare factsconcerningcorrect howeverselectively of an extension. But the dispositional of any disposition. circular specificationof how the person would ideally respond. as comparedwithhow he actuallyresponds. It is not clear thatthisis in generaltrue. envisaging Blackburnhere is explicitly the extensionsof expressionscorrectly. any such theorymust specify..Perhaps theM-dispositionsare those dispositionsthat a person would have when his cognitivemechanisms are in a certainstate. however. And thisis whata dispositional so that of expressions. forinstance. 289-9I. This content downloaded from 168.5. Rule'.176.is state conditionson an adequate dispositional theory.whereasto be told. a correctness reveal that what it is specifying be cannotdo.Synthese. hence.'Wittgenstein his 'Kripke'sAccount'. conditions. forcapturingthe normative There is clearly no way to settle the matter in advance of the considerationof particulardispositional proposals.thatit would suffice forceof an ascriptionof meaning.seems to carryno such implication.I think of providing standards. I do notthink It is justthat. and by JohnMcDowell.cit. unlike mustbe.pp. specified. 329.
) See also Christopher Peacocke. .5..The suggestionthat correctness consistsin agreementwith the dispositionsof one's community is designed to meet this need. Communitarianism is a response to the perceived inabilityto definea at the level of the individual.. to select fromamong the community's actual dispositionsa privilegedsubset. one.. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 46 Ibid. so no standard to meet.176.if the problemat the level of the individual is now merely to be replayed at the level of the 4 Harvard Cambridge.between correctand incorrect distinction. pp. it is a communityof assent which supplies the essential backgroundagainst This content downloaded from 168. which of the many dispositionsa speaker may have with respect to an expressionare dispositionsto use it correctly? Wright'scommunitarian account furnishes the following answer: language save by reference to theauthority ofcommunal assenton thematter.The theorydoes not attempt. Holtzman and Leich. incorrect.534 Paul A.it foundits in Wright's Wittgenstein most sustained treatment on the Foundations of Mathematics. I98I. What property two sortsof proposal: mightM be? There are. The idea thatcorrectness withone's fellows consistsin agreement has a in thestudyofWittgenstein. Even beforethe current distinguished history concern with a 'rule-following problem'. Boghossian satisfy.i980. (His morerecent longerholds this view. University that writings suggest Wright no Press.London. 2I9-20. The communitarian account 22. There is a reason forthis. however. This would ensure the intensional equivalence of the two propertiesin question.118 on Sun.'Reply: Rule-Following: The Natureof Wittgenstein's in Wittgenstein Arguments'.attempts to defineM in termsof the notionof an optimality condition. exploiting the notion of a community. Routledge and Kegan Paul. equivalently. . many commentators-whether rightly or wrongly-identified communitarianism as a centralthesisof the later writings. dispositions.. None of us can unilaterally make sense of correctemployment of whichalone it makessense to thinkof individuals' responses as correct or . of more recent provenance.accordingto the proposal on offer.45 Which of the manydispositionsa speakermay have with respect to a given expressiondetermineits meaning?Or. As a response to the problemabout meaning. and forthecommunity itself there is no authority. on Following a Rule. The proposal will not serve its purpose. in effect.I shall begin with the communitarian account.46 It is important to understand that. long associated with Wittgenstein to specifyM by seeks himself. the other.ed. the correct application of a term is determined by the totalityof the community's actual dispositionsin respectof thatterm. thus paving the way foran outright reductionof meaningto dispositions. in specifying the communaldispositionsthatare to serve as the constitutive arbitersof correctness.
What dispositionsdo I have in respect of this expression?To be sure.undeniable.that possession of the favoured M-property appear intuitivelyto resemble possession of a command the sort of correctnesscondition. forit quite clearlydoes not. 'Horse' deceptively horseylookingcows. Oxford. How does the proposal fare with respect to the outlined adequacy conditionson dispositionaltheories? Consider firstthe 'intensional' requirement. The crucial question. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . cit. For a moreextensive discussion see my Essayson Meaningand Belief.176. whether communitarianism offers any concept deservingof that name. I have a dispositionto apply it to horses. This is a large question on which I do not propose to spend a lot of time. Non-collusive communal agreementon a judgement does usually provide one with some sort of reason for not witha decisiveone). But I also have a disposition. The proposal must be understood. is not so much hereas with the extensional requirement. His thought notionof truth.to apply it to the factsare clear. Consider the term 'horse'. Spreading theWord.TheRule-Following Considerations 535 A communitarian community. does not want it to be a further question whether a given actual communal disposition is itself correct. and whetherit can be suitablynonarticulated reductively (can 'non-collusiveagreement'be definedwithout I am preparedto grant. the 'intensional'requirement. pp. thatthereis no incoherencein the suggestionthat all the members of a linguistic in the off-track community have gone collectively. but non-collusively. Oxford University Press.loc. see also Blackburn. This is.on sufficiently dark nights. is thatthe emaciated notionof truthyielded by communitarianism is the best we can hope to considerations. thusmimicsto some degreethe sortof responsethatis essentialto truth..48Althoughthereare subtle questionsabout how much of logic will be recoverablefromsuch a view.47 communitarian is not best read as offering an analysis of the ordinary but a displacement of it. expectin lightof the rule-following then. Does communal consensus responsecharacteristic of truth? A number of criticshave complained against communitarianism that communalconsensusis simplynotthesame property as truth.forthe sake of the use of intentional materials?). 4 48 This content downloaded from 168. Intuitively.I984. op. means horseand my dispositionto apply it to cows on dark nightsis See Blackburn.it seemsto me.unliketruth.5. thatthe proposaldoes not fareall thatbadlyin connection with argument. it is. 82ff. as offering the folowing characterization of M: M is theproperty ofagreeing withtheactual dispositions of thecommunity. cit. is not whethercommunitarianism captures our ordinarynotion of truth. rather. Wherecommunitarianism fails.therefore. it the judgement embracing (even if. of course.But the applicationof a givenpredicate.118 on Sun.
and sufficient we lack any Of course. theyarise because of the we make are systematic: thatmanyof themistakes disguises. however exactly specified. agree with the community's.thus failingthe firstrequirement adequate dispositionaltheory. Boghossian mistaken. rather. but. topic approachesthe problemand to a discussionof whichI now propose to turn.it will simply not do to identifytruth with ' dispositions. they are the community's dispositions. The problem.118 on Sun. After cow on a dark night.The problem is to come up with a theorythat delivers this and in purelydispositionalterms. once we have abandoned communitarianism.536 Paul A. but mean something is bound to issue in false verdictsabout the say that communitarianism on an meanings of most expressions. This content downloaded from 168. any of my dispositions that are in this sense mistaken.176. of course.are bound to be duplicated at the level of the systematically for The communitarian.Even fromamong the community ifwe have to selectthosewhichmay be consideredmeaning-determining. ifI can be takenin by a deceptively nights'horse'. then. tions likelyto be? The community.possessionof M by a dispositionis necessary of a property forthat disposition'scorrectness. He must insist.is bound to exhibitpreciselythe same dualityof dispositionsthat I do: it too will be horseylookingcows on dark disposed to call both horsesand deceptively horsey looking all.The communitarresultsystematically those which ian's idea is that the correctdispositionsare constitutively community's disposiare the What. then. however.accordingto none of our predicateshave the extensionswe take communitarianism. horseor cow.and so forth-that effective presenceof features bad lighting. There are countless possible special and thereis nothing impostors undercountlesspossibleconditions. nothing-at least nothingobvious-tells against definingAMdirectlyover an individual's the way the voluminousliterature on this Which is precisely dispositions. then. If we are to have any prospectof identifying expressions correctly.Which is to say thatwe are still are to have a plausible theory was supposed to provide:the specification lackingwhatcommunitarianism M such that. The upshot would appear to be that. It seems to me thatwe have no optionbut to rejecta pure communitariof our the extensions anism. admittedly effective. is general. we communalconsensus.000 people just like me from The point is impostor? being takenin by the same. (This is presumably what makes 'magicians' possible. motive for definingM over communaldispositions.5. firm that 'horse' means not horse convictionto the contrary notwithstanding. about the term'horse'. instead. community.I submit.) But.Which is to wildlydisjunctive themto have. of meaning. have a generalizable and predictable effecton creatures with similar cognitive endowments. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .cannotcall themmistakes.what is to preventI7.
this underestimates the complexity problems involved and failsto do justiceto the influence thatsuch proposals WhatKripkeneeds. Cambridge. in Meaning in Mind: EssaYs on the Wfork forthcoming Fodor. See his 'A Theory of Content'. What I wouldliketo do in theremainder is forthatconclusion. . Part II. 5 This amounts to saying that such theoriescannot meet the extensional requirement. to beginto sketch an argument Severalspecific problems of an optimality forspecific versions have receiveddiscussionin the theory an argument with a more literature. cit.I want to attempt could general sweep:I wantto arguethatwe havereasonto believethatthere not be naturalistically conditions specifiable under which a subjectwill be disposedto apply an expression onlyto whatit means.ifhisrejection ofdispositional is currently exert.50 Now. MIT.118 on Sun. I shy awaayfromsaying whetherR. 51 K.TheRule-Following Considerations 537 Optimaldispositions 23. cit. however. p. in effect.hence. A numberof otherwriters subscribeto some formor otherof a teleological proposal: optimality conditionsare those conditions definedby evolutionarybiology-under which our cognitivemechanismsare functioning just as theyare supposed to. Kripkeis very short withsuchpossibleelaborations ofa dispositional theory. Mlillikan. This content downloaded from 168. presentsa Language. Fred Dretske.so I shall not even consider whetherthey meet the intensionalone. that this theoryis subject to the same difficulties 50 For theories of this form see: David Papineau. Thought theoryof this form. 52 Against Dretske see Fodor. surely. we may equate what theymean by a given (mental) expressionwith.Basil Blackwell.In 'Naturalizing Content'. loc. forexample. hence.Part I. I987. Reality and Representation. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5. Oxford.MS. Oxford. forthcoming. loc. J. 'A Theory of Conteint'. a set of variations on a basic theme:M is theproperty of: beinga disposition to apply (an expression)in a certain type 49 The idea behindsuch proposalsis thatthereis ofstu a certainset of circumstances call them 'optimality conditions' under which subjects are.underoptimalconditions. and OtherBiological Categories. The literature supplies what is. is a set of principled considerations of non-semantically.thatno at specifying can hope to succeed.but does not reallyprovide. I987. Fodor: 'Psychosemantics'. I argue of/jerry as confrontstandard optimalityversions. I984. against teleological theoriessee my Essays on Meaning and Belief. holds that optimal conditionsare the conditions under which the meaning of the expressionwas firstacquired. 32. Basil Blackwell.52 Here. MIT Press. incapable of mistaken judgements.53 such conditions attempt There is one exception to this generalization:JerryFodor's recent proposal has it that S's are those that serve as an 'asymmetric dependence base' for S's other meaning-determining dispositions. He briefly considers thesuggestion thatwe attempt to define idealized will revealthe futilitv of dispositions and says that'a littleexperimentation of the such an effort'. Psjychosemantics." But. accounts to succeed. and Fodor.. non-intentionally againstthe existence specifiable optiof thissection mality conditions..the properties theyare disposed to apply the expression Different to. and. for one or another reason.176. proposalsprovidedifferent characterizations of the conditionsthatare supposed to be optimalin thissense.
thatwhereR is the conceptof an objective forR. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . thethought to his mistaking cows. anysemantic a reconstruction of.in Neil's mental to token 'in thebelief thatexpression And supposethatNeil is disposed horsey mode' both in respectof horsesand in respectof deceptively that'horse'for furthermore. looking cowson darknights.176. Let it be clear. ditions.whenconditions conditions mustreallybe mustbe satisfied: (i) the specified conditions itwillbe false that thepossibility oferror-otherwise. a priori willbe suchas to yield setofconditions 0. Neil to be disposed Neil to meanhorse by'horse'is for facts: for meaning two are optimal. 'horse' under in turn that.(ii) underthoseconditions theuse of naturalistically. objective non-intentional terms. and objective contents Optimaldispositions non-intentionally is aftera non-semantically. relation) (object. This content downloaded from 168. suchas to preclude 'horse'willgetappliedonlyto whatit means. evenif 0 equations we oughtnot to expectoptimality property. which specifiable of the form: equations optimality R: O-(S judgesRx-+Rx).5.538 Paul A.intuitively. It willbe worthwhile repertoire. it was supposed to provide sumedthevery properties to satisfy bothofthese to argueis thatit is impossible WhatI propose conditions simultaneously. is theidea ofa property property (or objector relation) from a desire tosimplify 5 This restriction toperceptually fixed beliefs stems partly exposition and from a desire to consider suchtheories at their partly strongest. thevery idea ofa wholly For. to figure expresses.Now. Clearly. to call onlyhorses'horse'. whenhe applies'horse'to and thaton thoseoccasions Neil meanshorse.to beginwith. implies there is one. stiff constraints imposedby a were not requiredto meet the rather and in non-semantic specification reductive dispositionalism-namely.'horse'.Consider outwith to laytheproblem 24. 25.118 on Sun.But that it of the property willget tokened (in the beliefmode) onlyin respect means: look at the out what any expression So. The dispositionalist true. a cow fora horse. Neil and a particular expression. are conditions to.thisamounts is a set is thatthere theory ofa dispositional an optimality version behind underwhichNeil cannotmake conditions specifiable of naturalistically Under thoseconof presented items. Boghossian somecare.54 in the identification mistakes ofhimonlyif in front that there is a horse he wouldbelieve then. thoseconditions.when toapply theexpression Neil is disposed properties of The end result is a dispositional reconstruction in thissenseoptimal. without theconditions must be specified purely thetheory willhaveasor intentional materials-otherwise. say. S and concept (8) For anysubject be sucha setof conditions? Could there Notice.
Thought an property.it is impossibleto satisfy of a set of condidispositionalism'sbasic requirement:the specification subjects are immune from error about judgements involving that concept. fixationis typicallymediated by backgroundtheory-what contents a thinker is preparedto judge will depend upon what othercontentshe is arbitrarily prepared to judge. thatthisis an epistemological 56 It is important to appreciate by ourbest constituted thatit is therefore is accessible. such that.appropriate of circumstances Philosophersdistive about those contentsunder those circumstances.subjectiveor objective. It nota constitutive distinction.Thus. Pettit. p.56 versus inaccessible a distinction betweenaccessible of theory We are now in a positionto see.ofcourse. in non-semantic. ofPerception'. a magpie. And this dependence is. Error and theObjectivity 'Cartesian TylerBurge.We shallhave by thejudgements aboutour pains. ground:forany concept. thefactthata content from does notfollow from thefactthatwe are authoritative to conclude aboutit.118 on Sun. The basic difficulty belief which fix belief. ed. Let us call this exampleofthecontrasting as representing an extreme contents. given person's abilitiesand judgementsto truthsabout that property. holism and belief Optimaldispositions of the processes derivesfromthe holisticcharacter 26. inaccessible contentsin the first to arguing against the dispositional theoryon neutral turn.I986.539 Considerations TheRule-Following of any givenperson'sabilitiesor judgements: whosenatureis independent froma in otherwords.176. It is thus committedto obliterating betweenaccessible and inaccessiblecontents.55 is witha class of contentsforwhichtheredoes exista range The contrast authoritasubjectsare necessarily such that.but it is typicalto think agree. J. distinction Of course. terms. 5 Clarendon Press. Neil may come because of his to believe Lo. robust: just about any stimuluscan cause just about any belief. of fallwhere. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . therefore. The point is that.about whatcontents about pain about shape as whollyobjectiveand of judgements judgements class. again typically. and Context. See. I countenancewholly objective.thereis no necessaryfunction forsuch a property. or because of his further are magpies. belief that that is just what magpies look like.or because beliefthatthe onlybirdsin the immediate vicinity the Pope says goes and his beliefthatthe Pope of his beliefthatwhatever in Subject. fora Oxford. is committedthereby to treatingevery the concept as if it were accessible. forexample. of objective oftheconcept formulation similar one. under normal circumstances.given a suitablymediatingset of backgroundassumptions.as a resultof seeing a currawong.thatpainsare constituted claimsofthissortlateron in thepaper. occasion to discussconstitutive This content downloaded from 168.thata dispositional meaning. and non-intentional tions0.under0. however. by virtue of being committedto the existence of optimality equations for every concept. I25. this objection will not impress anyone reluctant to place.5. McDowell and P. (I takeit no one is tempted judgements we makeaboutthem.
there wouldappearto be plenty of reasonto doubt the reducibility of content properties to naturalistic But Kripke's properties. But theobservation that onlyin respect Lo. in Mackie'sphrase. Boghossian saysthatthispresented is a magpie.176. of course.Eitheran totheeffect independent that argument only naturalistic properties arereal.it cannot taketheform ofa dispositional theory. think. meaning? OF This content downloaded from 168. And so on. optimality non-intentionin which allyspecified situation itis guaranteed that noneofthispotential infinity of background clusters of beliefis present. ofan indefinite number provided onlythatthe appropriate beliefs are present. of magpies. a frontal assaulton theirreducible Or.118 on Sun. necessary and sufficient conditions forbeinga beliefwitha certain content. a situation characterized ofall thebeliefs specifying which bytheabsence fromnon-magpies could potentially mediatethe transition to magpie beliefs. how does all this bear on the prospects fora dispositional of theory A dispositional has to specify. Suppose we grantthe anti-reductionism. willinvolve. showing somehow inherently 'queer'. one of two further things is needed. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . a magpie in respect ofnon-magpies. VI ANTI-REDUCTIONIST CONCEPTIONS MEANING An argument fromqueerness? considerations 27. a magpie beliefs arefixed that a thinker willbe disposed holistically implies to think Lo. far more conclusion. But how is such a situation to be specified? Whatis neededis precisely whata dispositional wassupposed toprovide: theory a setofnaturalistic namely.540 Paul A. sceptic doesnotmerely drawan anti-reductionist he concludes. simply couldnotbe any content properties. of course. mediating background non-intentionally specified situation is a non-semantically. in question. that there radically. beliefs whichcouldmediate Now.if we had thatwe would alreadyhave a reductive theory of meaning-wewouldnotneeda dispositional theory! Which is to saythat.Since. the anti-reductionism by At a minimum itself. an background Specifying condition for'magpie'. what the content justifies scepticism? Not. If these are correct. however.corresponding to the potentially indefinite number of background thetransition. theorist without use of semantic or in whicha thinker intentional a situation will be disposedto materials. therefore. therelooks to be a potential infinity of such clusters of belief. failing that. But. ifthere is to be anysortofreductive story aboutmeaning at all. The thought currawong can gettriggered in anyofan that is a magpie something bya currawong indefinite number of ways. a non-semantically.5. optimality at a minimum. property thatit is.
ofcertainty whenever it are awareofit with somefair degree yetwe supposedly mean thathe does. This content downloaded from 168. in myexplicitly table. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5. impossible (or at least forthere to be a stateof 'meaning thatthere logicaldifficulty) is a considerable addition by "plus"' at all.rather.and his brief attemptat a and unconvincing: 'queerness' argumentis half-hearted addition by 'plus' is a by arguing thatmeaning Perhaps we maytryto recoup.For howelse can each ofus be confident in is the logical difficulty implicit additionby 'plus'? Even more important as I think notmerely that argues. 3 above..He does not even tryto defend a reductionist principle about the intentional.176. "plus"'-completely mysterious. occurs. thealleged'qualitative' state showsthat we havesaid hitherto.at some appropriate level Accordingto anti-reductionism. nottobe assimilated ofa uniquekind ofitsown.. with properties prospectof identification for this suggestion?The Does Kripke manage to create a difficulty thatmay be so construed. In the firstplace. Wittgenstein Wittgenstein's sceptical argument. of each case of theaddition thinking does notconsist which ina quus-like ofa finite state notbe interpreted could way? Can weconceive How couldthatbe?57 There are several problems with this passage. buta state states.at present.is that there is no interesting mentalcontent.without otherwisedescribed. mental content propertiesmust simply be taken for granted.. It Such a statewouldhaveto be a finite object. nortobe assimilated in an appropriate and ifit is taken Such a movemayin a sensebe irrefutable. propertiesto physical/functional reduction of mental content in otherwords.I take it thatit misconstrues reallyis not plausible that there are 'primitivestates' of meaningpublic The process in certainways. passage containsa couple of considerations The first chargeis thatwe would have no idea how to explainour ability " 58 K.Considerations 54I TheRule-Following is thathe The singlegreatest weaknessin Kripke's scepticalargument fails to bring offeitherrequirement. See thepaperscitedundern.But it seemsdesperate: stateof 'meaning addition by of thispostulated state the primitive primitive It is notsupposed to be an introspectible state. pp. todispositions.. thatintrospection butalso thatit is logically ofunderstanding is a chimera.one stateper expression. 51-2. properties. contained in ourfinite minds. language expressions by which the inscriptionsand vocables of a public language acquire an enormousarrayof complexprocess involving meaningis a manifestly appropriatepropositionalattitudes the outlinesof which may arguably be found in the writingsof Paul Grice and others. it leavesthenature wayWittgenstein mayevenacceptit.58A plausible antireductionismabout meaning would not wish to deny that there is an content and to be told about the relationbetweenlinguistic interesting story what it maintains. stateevenmoresui generis orheadaches orany'qualitative' tosensations primitive state.118 on Sun. it the appropriate anti-reductionist suggestion. Perhapsit is simply a thanwe havearguedbefore.
First. We see theduck-rabbit nowas a duck. an experiential I havein mind phenomenon. again. provides notes thenonof contentful phenomenal character statesprecludesan introspective accountof their epistemology. And thisis problematic fortworeasons. incidentally. Proceedings oftheAPA. and serious. we see theNecker cube nowwithone face forward. mental with We knowthat states contents arestates with general infinitary normative it is precisely characters.5. howwe are seeingthese precisely objects as. byWittgenstein himself.59 we wouldbe forgiven we allowedthisto driveus to a dubiously if.because theremay be non-introspective accountsof self-knowledge.'Knowing One's Own Mind'. whenwe see them nowin one way. There are. the antireductionist suggestion emerges as a stable responseto the sceptical one that is untouched conclusion. and Self-Knowledge'. WhatKripke needs. however.becauseit does notobviously follow from the fact thata mental statelacksan individuative phenomenology. withthatobservation thattheentire ifhe is topulloff discussion began. 60 See. an argument from is somesubstantive distinct from queerness. contains information nevertheless aboutthecorrect applicabilityof a sign in literally no end of distinct situations. forit is farfrom it.6' I987. adduced 5 For discussion of someof thedifficulties see my'Content and Self-Knowledge'.nowas a rabbit. Philosophical Topics. and D. Butthis he does notprovide. familiar. Boghossian to knowour thoughts.60And second. nowin theother. This content downloaded from 168. although manifestly insomething introspectible. muchdiscussed ofseeing-as. Tyler Burge. But thischange of'aspect'. adducing anyindependent reasonwhywe should. if we endorsed a non-reductionist conception of their content. Davidson. But. Now. why notcountenance we should suchstates. realizedin a finite that mind.this to insisting amounts thatwe findthe idea of a contentful merely state without problematic. introspectible. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 62 See below. None of this should be understood as suggesting that an antireductionism aboutcontent is unproblematic. forexample. _7ournal November I988. is nevertheless nota change for qualitative. of all things. difficulties an antireconciling reductionism aboutcontent properties with a satisfying conception oftheir causal efficacy. that one ofthemorestriking examples oftheintrospective discernment of a non-qualitative mentalfeature is providedby. forexample. hisanti-reductionargument. thephenomenon. He merely that Kripke.542 Paul A. no one who has contemplated theproblem of selfcan failto be impressed knowledge But I think that byitsdifficulty. nowwith And we knowimmediately another.'Individualism of Philosophy. we required on theorder ofa something proofthatno satisfactory epistemology was ultimately to be had. seemingly by all the considerations in the latter's favour.176. thatit is not to theanti-reductionist second is that Kripke's itis objection suggestion utterly mysterious how therecould be a finite state.62 But in the contextof Kripke's dialectic.118 on Sun. January 61 It is interesting to note.before coherent irrealism aboutcontent. no suchproof. istconsiderations. SpringI989. thequalitative character ofthe visualexperience remains thesameevenas theaspectchanges.
in But it is difficult.. in lightof therejection 63 64 Ibid. on Following 'Wittgenstein 65 Ibid. can existonlyin the and hencemeaning. We haveto resist levelat are at thedeepest of'bedrock' 'of howthings to form a picture the place of [meaning]in the which we may sensiblycontemplate world' which does not alreadyemploythe idea of the correct(or use ofan expression...118 on Sun. of the possibility correctunderstanding of in virtue question: answers to the constitutive reductive substantive possessmeaning? whatdo expressions that: has written McDowell.however. does that conception a non-reductionist 28.in this vision. John we can dig downto a levelat to think it is a mistake lights.On the forthe possibility the conditions moralof therule-following he claimsthatit is the discernible contrary. quietism of meaning can be gleaned.forexample. By Wittgenstein's notions(like 'following for normative whichwe no longerhave application according to therule'). in communal ofagreement responses a certain measure claimthat steinian to be motivated? But howis sucha thesis formeaning. 34I. about no substantive results from which a position aboutmeaning. of course. p.. is a precondition to theconstitutive answers of substantive How. a senseofwhat. cit. to avoidacquiring reading without describable usingthenotion and 'inner' episodes. If we endorse disturbnothingin our considerations mean that the rule-following A number whohavefound ofwriters conception ofthatnotion? ordinary so.176. This content downloaded from 168. considerations ofa private thepossibility thusprecluding ofa communal practice..the possibility between individuals resemblances seemsto depend meaning And: the below 'bedrock'would undermine disorderliness It is truethata certain bear So theunderlying ofrule-following. loc.543 Considerations TheRule-Following McDowell on privacyand community of meaning. him. according thetemptation.65 to thenotion ofrule-following relation an intimate of thefamiliar WittgenMcDowell'scharacterization This is. not thought have certainly attractive suggestion an anti-reductionist lessonsforthe important in thoseconsiderations theyhave discerned while rejecting of meaning. contingencies ofthenotion applicability .. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . offacts aboutbehavior of the of meaning. context He writes: language. a Rule'. 348. p.5. thatcorrectness. 349. incorrect) him to a McDowell does not takethis to commit Oddly. Wittgenstein a web liesdownthere: as itwere.p.63 to McDowell'sWittgenstein. warnsus not to tryto dig below'bedrock'.One is likelyto be struckby the sheer contingency of on which.
how. merereflection necessary formeaningis a surprising constitutive ofmeaningdoes notrevealit.I think. 237. In fact. is to saythat substantive constitutive accounts especially see Zettel #i6:'The mistake constitutive and transcendental there is anything that meaning something consists' with theobvious the rejection It is fashionable to soft-pedal of pretensions of the rule-following considerations.are possible only where one's fellows.' though.118 on Sun. . representing it as displaying a mere'distrust' on Wittgenstein's is tiedtoextremely ignores thefact that therejection ofanalyses andnecessary andsufficient conditons viewof important first-order theses aboutmeaning. a straightforward it. actual and without any prospect of reconstruction truthsabout communal use. he normsare accountofcorrectness: rejectstheverydemandfora substantive partof the 'bedrock'. Boghossian question. notbya match externals (facts hereecho. including. Consider the contrastwith the communitarian answerto a substantive question. with in conformity is said to consist a communalpractice:since correctness and with it meaning.Indeed. goodexample is acute. And what. cit. is it to be argued for? The claim that communal practice is on the concept claim.unreduced and to be allowed to take the idea of correctness in terms of. of 'loss of problems.66 of meaning judgement-dependence Wright on the that: conception about theanti-reductionist has written 29. part. Ioc.beneathwhichwe mustnot dig.67 suggestionis that there are importantconstitutive Wright's intriguing question we shelved some resultsto be gleaned fromthe epistemological are simplyto be takenfor pages back: namely. This content downloaded from 168.rejectsthe suggestion in termsof communaldispositions. Wittgenstein's answer given howand whythecorrect The problem is thatofseeing Argument.544 Paul A. 67 'Wittgenstein's of Theoretical consideration and theCentral LinguisRule-Following Project tics'.and is one of think therealproblem Argument posed by theSceptical is notthat ofanswering the fundamental Buttheproblem concerns. But this constitutive questions. . accessible [that] is conceived as boundtogether. and generates.. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . rightly thereare otherswithwhom one may conform. But ifwe are simply forgranted.offers That viewengagestheconstitutive of forthe necessity argument thereby. thefamily-resemblance concepts. can be correct. McDowell'sproblems his rejection of difficulty confronting a would-beinterpreter of Wittgenstein is how to reconcile ofmeaning. as I have alreadynoted. most centrally.176. own. how is the necessityof an counterfactual From what does the demand 'orderly communal'practiceto be defended? for orderliness flow? And from what the demand for community? McDowell's paper containsno helpfulanswers. CrispinWright a to Kripke'sScepticmayseemto provide flat-footed [t]hissomewhat response I . in But McDowell.shortof a substantive account. and on thecontrary.could conceivablygroundit? view consideredabove.5. if contentproperties 66 Thoughsee hisremarks which I do notunderstandon a 'linguistic community I am afraid inmere tojustanyone).correctness. say. p. thatcorrectapplicationmightbe analysed myview.The main Wittgenstein's butbya meeting ofminds'.
subjects are exceptionallywell-equipped to track the relevant. use this question to embarrasshis anti-reductionist projectin mind.Wrightreconstructs extensively and inferential concepagainstboth introspective ing set of considerations exhaustingthe epistemologies tions of self-knowledge.has a more constructive logical question will reveal. judgement-dependent judgement-independent The contrast. Pace Kripke. determine the truth-value which confer statesof affairs constituted theydo not trackindependently truthor falsity upon them.And the claim is that facts about content have to be construed on the latter model.can theybe known?As we saw. Pressingthe epistemohowever. Wright.then.176. An accessible contentis one about which subjects are necessarily authoritativeunder cognitively Now.. rather. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . explanationfor this authority:is it that.. under those optimal circumstances.p. This content downloaded from 168.howeveroptimal. thus. so he claims.and factswhich are constiideal tutedprecisely by the judgementswe would formunder cognitively circumstances. and circumstance-and ofbothjudger idealconditions matter. that facts about content are 'judgement-dependent'. of sentencesascribingcontentto mentalstates.a considerations following if you thinkthesecome to the same (or Platonist. withrespect ments-judgements truth. rather. cognitively .68 whenwe operate to the We may explain the contrast Wrighthas in mind here by recurring idea of an accessible content(see above).118 on Sun. Drawing available on the alternative the epistemologies attacking an intereston Wittgenstein's actual text.that judgementsunder constituted independently the facts in question? A fact is those circumstancessimply constitute if the latter. Kripke attempted dispositional opponent. 246. judgement-independent Best judgements constitutively thing) conception of their constitution.truth. conceptionof contentby Wrightarguesforthis'judgement-dependent' model. the target of the ruleis not the realityof contentfacts. without prospect of reconstruction to terms. beingbest. is between facts which are constitutedindependentlyof our judgements. for judgements For judgecognitive pedigree. essentially What does it mean for a class of facts to be judgement-dependent? Wright'sexplanationis framedin termsof a failureto pass the 'order-oftest': determination test concernsthe relationbetweenbest judgeThe order-of-determination subject to theirparticular made in whatare.545 Considerations TheRule-Following either in experientialor granted. a question may be raised about the correct optimalcircumstances. which pass the test.but.. concerning of anyconsiderations independently true and is no distance between being ments failthetest. presumably. there bycontrast. if the former. is a standardconstituted Truth. 68 Ibid. undercognitively idealconditions. which what we judgeto be true is constitutively for suchjudgements.5. facts?or is it.
.On the assumption. 69 Ibid. so substantially specified.Wrightoffers the case of colour. to secure the accessibility of colour facts.formedunder the relevantC-conditions. then.and.and so a firstand foremost.176. So. by regardingthem as constituted by truthsconcerningour best judgements about mental content. terms. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . biconditionalof the following form: if C: S would judge x to be blue+-+x is blue. hence.69 This seems right. we can have no satisfactory explanation of our abilityto know them. does this Are inevitably driveus to a judgement-dependent conceptionof content? therenot otherconceptionsthatwould equally accommodatethe rejection of a tracking none of thesequestionscan be epistemology? Unfortunately. of the presentessay.Is it reallytruethatWittgenstein's accomplishment' theoriesof self-knowledge? Supposing it does. 247-8. indeed. This content downloaded from 168.thatKripke's unstablecontentirrealism is to be avoided at all costs. For example. The suggestion and thatthisis to be accomplished content as genuineobjectsof cognition. aresatisfied in a case is logically ofanytruths thedetails particular independent concerning ofthe extension of colourconcepts. But not just any biconditionalof this form will serve to secure the accessibility of colour. whatit would taketo groundnotmerely What is needed. it must be further requiredthat C be specifiedin substantial formulation. it will remain entirelyopen whethersubjects' judgements. of anything else on the left-hand-side.or. and difficult Wright'sdiscussion raises a number of interesting quesall 'cognitive discussiondestroys tions. is that thequestion whether theC-conditions.thatleaves the judgement-dependent conception as the only contender. Well.pp. just let C be: conditions under which S is infallibleabout colour. So long as facts about our mental states are construedas independent of. as trackedby our self-regarding judgements.5. Boghossian available to his opponent.For unless the specification of the C-conditions. Here I have adequatelyaddressedwithinthe confines to settle for raising a question about whethera judgement-dependent conceptionof content could everbe the cogentmoral of any argument.but their judgement-dependence? out. what does this amount to? For illustrative purposes.iffactsabout colourare to judgement-dependent? We would need.unless restrictions are placed on the permissible specificationsof C.avoidinga 'whatever-it-takes' ofcolour the accessibility Now.What would have to be true. is precludedfrompresupposing facts about the colours of objects. every propertywill turn out to be accessible.So goes Wright'sargument. mental is thatwe must not construefactsconcerning 30. as Wrightpoints facts.546 Paul A.118 on Sun.
of every expression in the language. that the biconditionals be freeof any assumpthat theirleft-hand-sides the requirement satisfy tions about mental content.though less clearly appropriate. the start.For it cannotin by our judgements generalbe truethatfactsabout contentare constituted about content: facts about content.) versionsof realism appear to be false.5. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . mentsabout meaningare non-factual-appears not even to be a coherent variant. impossibleas a conceptionof factsabout mentalcontent. The proposal that Reductionist about meaning concern communal dispositionsis unsatisjudgements not merelybecause.547 Considerations TheRule-Following of the conditions factsabout colour. fixedconstitution dently is preciselytruthsabout best judgementthatfixthose facts. it would appear. For satisfaction reallydid determine would always presuppose some antecedescribed on the left-hand-side theclaim thatit thusundermining of colourfacts. are factual.thatjudgementsabout meaningconcerna rather 70 For a veryilluminating thatwould have to be met. The rathermore promising(and more popular) proposal.70 But it is. that judgeIrrealism-the view. the chic or the fashionable. implausibly.an intuitive a conception of a given fact is.irreducible.118 on Sun. Let robust Then the moral of and judgement-independent. and prospects robust realism Conclusion: -problems designatethe view thatjudgementsabout meaning realism 3I. and. are in orderas well.it precludes the possibilityof factory themeaning but because it appears bound to misconstrue communalerror.given what judgement-dependence in the case of mentalcontentshould amountsto. constitutedindependentlyof the are presupposedby the model itself.as promoted. advocated by Kripke's Wittgenstein. I trust.A should have been clear from difficulty In a way. by Paul option.familiar.in connection with facts about colour or sound. No doubt. This content downloaded from 168..seems no better.176. to robustrealism this paper-if it has one-is thatthe major alternatives are beset by veryserious difficulties.see ibid. And thatmeans thatany such biconditional of constitution by best of mentalcontentquite independent a constitution judgement. otherrequirements seeinghow factsabout mental alreadyclearthatthereis a seriousdifficulty on judgementthe statedrequirements contentcould conceivablysatisfy dependence. at a minimum. judgements. of the conditions discussion pp. For. (An error-theoretic Churchland. 'judgement-dependent' by our conception of that fact according to which it is constituted The idea is clearlyappropriatein connectionwithfactsabout judgements. 246-54. by definition. the contentof the said to fixthe factsabout mental contenthave to be presupjudgements will alwayspresuppose posed.for example. For it is inconceivable.
thanimplausible. conception ideaofconstitution because thevery be a stable option.Meaning tobe neither with properties appear eliminable. standit. As forthe chargethattherewould be nothing leftfora theory of it seemsto me simply to be. alsotoagree anti-reductionist conception untouched.118 on Sun. our (first-person) ofthem? finally: howare we to explain knowledge I cannot. that thereductionist is committed.5.7' But I do notsee that theantiembarrassment If anything. as I have stressed. " See my'Content and Self-Knowledge'. I cannotsee that an antiTo begin with the last questionfirst. theprospects A reductionist would have it thatmeanings are fixedby certain kindsof that thesort offact couldhardly be known observationdispositional fact. As far as I amconcerned. as I undermeaning. theorizing programs an anti-reductionism aboutmeaning how are we to reconcile properties witha satisfying oftheir causalor explanatory conception efficacy? And. that considerations itis hard. unanswered questions. 72 Againsee myibid. First:whatsortof roomis leftfor There are threemain difficulties. Boghossian also appearsto confront serious certainsort of idealizeddisposition. ultimately. anyspecial are better forhimthanforhis opponent. a judgement-independent appearsto presuppose conception is too facile a It is sometimes said thatan anti-reductionist conception It is hardnotto sympathize response to theproblem aboutmeaning.A fewbrief remarks willhaveto suffice. cit. meaning Let me heremention that survive therejection justa fewofthequestions of reductionist For one thing.is notonlyconsistent butpositively a theory about with. ifreductionist areeschewed? Second: aboutmeaning. with Butiftheconsiderations thealternatives thissentiment. meaning. norreducible. canvassed against andifitis true the'rule-following' leavean arecorrect.72 The anti-reductionist laboursunderno comparable burden.It wouldappearto follow of self-knowledge. invites. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ifreductionism is eschewed. explanation ofourability to know ourownthoughts. as I haveargued elsewhere.548 Paul A. reductionist conception of contenthas a specialproblemabout selfno onehasa satisfactory knowledge.finally. to livewiththatfact. seemsto me. to an inferential to have a substantial epistemology that worse conception-aconception maybe. it is timethatwe learned Perhaps I do notpretend thatthiswillbe easy.176. bybestjudgement ofmeaning. ofcourse. false.Robustrealism harbours some the solutions to whichappearnot to be trivial. loc. ofmeaning a judgement-dependent seemsnotto And. ifhe is ally. hopeto address anyofthesequestions adequately here. it reductionist needfeel aboutthis. This content downloaded from 168. in a difficulties: it is hardto see howtheidealizations are to be specified non-question-begging way. a nonprogrammes. it. is bestunderstood as a thesis reductionism aboutmeaning aboutmental notaboutlinguistic So anti-reductionism.
MI. we foregoreductionist programmes thereis thequestionofmentalcausation:how are we to Finally. Loewer. nor is best understoodin theoryof radical interpretation of the Its propergoal is the articulation aspirations. in his Essayson Actions 73 See 'Actions. BOGHOSSIAN 48109 Oxford Oxford. Press. How do public language play in that symbolscome to acquire meaningand whatrole does thought withwanting in mysenseis consistent process?Secondly.'MakingMind Matter andJerry This content downloaded from 168. More'.and so with of mentalcontent.i980. witha satisfying about contentproperties reconcilean anti-reductionism It is a view long associated with conception of their causal efficacy? Wittgenstein himself. then attitudeexplanations propositional they must do so by causing it. propositional have a genuine commitus to holdingthatcontentproperties explanations action. As Davidson showed. the single greatestdifficulty proveits undoing. I believe. if in the theoryof mentalcontent. conceptionof content.73 But propositionalattitudesrationalize partlyby virtueof theircontent-it is partlybecause Neil's beliefis that attitude thereis winein his glass. and Events.118 on Sun. Journal ofPhilosphy.176.anti-reductionism otherpeople. Davidson. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . that he reaches forit. consistentboth with substantivetheoriesof the nature of the perfectly is. papers Topics.reductionist the speech and employin interpreting successfully principles we evidently is about mentalcontent an anti-reductionism mindsof others.And.Philosophical Fodor.74 University of Michigan Ann Arbor.and otherson the neitherneeds. eness of physics? foran anti-reductionist This is. that propositionalattitudeexplanations are not causal explanations. and much interesting remainsto be done.thatwe shall run out of thingsto do.and withthe claim thatthe graspingof certainmental contentsdepends on the graspingof others. USA ofPhilosophy Department PAUL A. attitudes-that propositional as opposed to a wish or a desire. whetheror not the view was Wittgenfew adherentstoday. finally.But. termsof.5. now. it has justifiably are to rationalizebehaviourat all. 'MindMatters'. how is an causal role in the explanationof intentional to accord thema genuinecausal about contentproperties anti-reductionist to the essentialincompletrole withoutcommitting implausibly. so. recent seeE. LePoreandB.then.of course. University 7' For some I987. Lewis. himself.though. Reasons and Causes'. SpringI989. The by whichwe interpret a generalaccountof the principles important work of Quine. of whatmakesa givenmentalstatea belief. if stein's. But.It may be thatit will eventually work But the subject is relativelyunexplored.549 Considerations TheRule-Following the relation between thought and language. of the compositional structure theories There is hardlyany fear. Grandy.
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