Mind Association

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

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392

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October I989

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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.

KRIPKE

ON MEANING

PROBLEM

AND

THE

SCEPTICAL

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:
2.

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

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and brief reflection exercise is by no meanstrivial. It cannot concept oftheparadox howthis extension howthis needis tobe met.then.it will be worthwhile In fact.however.since it is fromlinguistic withoutthereby meaningthat thoughtcontentis held to derive. Boghossian Do on the question of priority: natureof this relationand. that is most influential.it is the Griceanview. Oxford. For a debateon thepriority question see 'The Chisholm-Sellars CorresponMindand Language.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. I44-6. and related papers. A. meaningscepticism. properties byvirtue ofbeing usedwith certain intentions.But on a a demonstration Gricean view mattersare not so simple.in Intentionality. For theGricean viewsee H. I957. the semantic propertiesof language derive from the representational or is it the otherway round?5Whateverthe correct properties of thought. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Since the Gricean holds that fixedcontent itemsacquire theirmeaningfromthe antecedently linguistic to the effect thatnothingnon-mental fixes of mentalstates. linguisticmeaningwithoutthreatening cannot threaten since it is fromthoughtthatlinguisticmeaningis held to derive.however... Oxford. Press. ed. one cannot threatenlinguisticmeaning threatening thoughtcontent. S. is consideredand foundwanting: In theUnitedStates. I984. that Kripke explains showsthatthe to thelevelof concepts is to be carried out. as Sellarslikesto putit-that tendsto predominate. of IllinoisPress.an argument meaningwould leave the Griceanunmoved.thatresultis automatic.5 IO Paul A.5. I972.118 on Sun. Schiffer. beliefs. London. thatnothing non-mental fixeslinguistic meaning. Philosophical Review. be said. McGinn is wrongon both counts. 6 ColinMcGinn. I972.University dence'. Basil Blackwell. is likewise devoidoffactual foundation. . contentand meaningmust stand or fall together.therewould appear to be no plausible way to promotea one On the former (Gricean) picture. . See also.thatlinguistic expressions acquiretheir semantic and desires.6 I think to see why. This content downloaded from 168. points at thelevelof forKripketo applyhis paradox The pointis thatit is necessary thatis. pp.. in particular.he needs to be given linguistic of mentalcontent. Either way. answer.on a Sellarsianview.it must also threaten given (or content). Marras. language-specific thoughtcontent. and on the latter (Sellarsian) picture.'Meaning'.Routledge and KeganPaul. he has to arguethatthe notionof possessing a determinate concepts.Urbana. in Britain whereas it appearsto be theSellarsian (Wittgensteinian?) viewthatthinking is a form of internalized speaking-speech inforointerno.in his Science. I963. Grice. Clarendon Meaning.Wittgenstein onMeaning.Of course. the suggestionthat some appropriatelygeneral thoughtor intention the soughtaftermeaning-determining factcomes up constitutes the dispositional accountof meaning before earlyin Kripke's presentation. For the Sellarsianview see his and thePhilosophy 'Empiricism ofMind'.176. meaningis to have any prospectof If a scepticalthesisabout linguistic of mentalmeaning the possibility succeeding. presentation up a reallacunain Kripke's My third point . P. Perception andReality.

p. 8 Op.althougha forthe scepticalstrategy. Fortunately contestablepremissabout thoughtis involved.that is.. . But how was theirmeaning thatfigurein thosethoughts. There is just no analogue The idea of mental contentcannot be threatenedby Kripke. even it is stillimpossibleto runa Kripkemodel ofthinking. Hence on associated experiential and not by factsconcerning the assumptionthat no other sort of fact is relevantto the fixationof meaning by nothing.it is nothingso rich as a But we will be in a positionto appreciate hypothesis. I meant response.I5-I6.176. pp. stylescepticalargument The normativity of meaning 4. McGinn writes: in has no clearcontent issueforKripke. of thought: whatdoes it meanto ask whether my to the language application of a of thought (i. a linguistic granted againstthought. the expressions of use.But this is equivalentto assuming. correctinterpretation thatthe scepticalchallengehas been met withrespectto Kripke suggests.8 What kind of linguisticmistakeis envisagedhere?.e. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .And althoughtheremay expressions thisview. (if history Not by factsabout theiractual or counterfactual fixed? accountof meaningis to be believed). intended it wouldjust be a different thatoriginally content from a different concept.It is incompatible onmymind It is engraved additions listofparticular notthefinite quus. i6ff). but is it not problematic? The strategy seems to depend on the assumption that thought contents are the identifiablebearers properties.7 mypresent and determines justifies in thepast. at someearlier gavemyself I explicitly I maysuppose. Cit.5. The troubleis thatit seemsclear. . McGinn 7 K.. of propertiesof syntactically belongingto a 'language of thought'.118 on Sun. This content downloaded from 168. I47.that thatI performed that And his responseto it seems clear (p. 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). that with thehypothesis as ona slate.does Kripke reallywish to restthe be much to recommend scepticalconclusionon so contestablea premiss? we will see below that. This setofdirections. It is thissetofdirections.5II Considerations TheRule-Following time.still.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. languageof thought this properlyonly afterwe have examined McGinn's claim that. againsta dispositional theargument episodes. thecrucial The issueofnormativeness.

if it then expressesthe same meaningas it did earlier. forinstance. 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.. We mayappreciatethispointby observing thattherequirement defined 9 Ibid.'incorrect'if.5.. expressionindependently But we have no such independentaccess to the expressionsof our language of thought.cannotmake sense of usingthem intentions or incorrectly in the sense definedby McGinn.You cannotintendthatsome expressionhave a certainmeaning unless you are able to referto that of its semanticproperties. without intendingto introducea change of meaning by explicit stipulation.it is an idea that is equally problematic. 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. then. the lateruse of the expressionis 'correct'. Boghossian argues. thatthe 'normativity' requirement definedby McGinn has nothingmuch to do withthe concept of meaningper se and is not the requirement that Kripke is operatingwith. correctly If McGinn's understanding ofnormativity werethe correct one.we do not.But although that is certainly true. I74.it to see how it could operateat thelevel of thought would indeed be difficult (thoughnot quite forthe reasonshe gives). It is in such facts as this that the of meaningis said to consist.accordingto McGinn.176. hence.because theprincipal requirement by whichputative reconstructions of thatnotionare to be dispatched-the normativity requirement-has no cogent application to the language of thought.118 on Sun.know what theylook like.. but employingan expression in the languageof thought with a different contentfromthatoriginally whichis a rather intended.p. normativity ofnormativity. however. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .9 So.. 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.it is also irrelevant: whatwe need to make sense of is not a concept witha different fromthatoriginally employing content intended. different matter.5I2 Paul A.however. This content downloaded from 168.The claim calls for a ofthenormativity somewhat moresearching articulation thesisthanwe have of meaningconsist? attempted so far. As it happens.it expresses a different meaning. So we cannot have semantic in respectof themand.In what does the normativity McGinn offers the following characterization: The notion ofnormativeness is a transtemporal Kripke wants captured notion . It oughtto be clear.

that is.176. 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. 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.thus satisfying different How to explain.whatis thecorrect use ofthatword.5I 3 Considerations TheRule-Following on theoriesof by McGinn could hardlyact as a substantiveconstraint meaning.simply in ofmeaning ofwhether one thinks namefor thefamiliar fact that.This is not.on thisunderstanding itwouldseem. meaningful truth-theoretic correctness consistsin true of correct use. regardless possess expressions or assertion-theoretic terms.one cannotread theory might appearto failit:for. in otherwords. conditions was to realizethatthis in warranted use.The fact that the expressionmeans truthsabout my somethingimplies. The answer is that the normativity McGinn outlines.What is it then? that 'green' meansgreen.Any meaning. property meaning constituting in question. it expressionat one timeand meaningsomething by it at some timeand its is rather.I am notheretrying is muchmorecomplicated to thenormativity succumb objection to stateit. a relationbetween meaningsomethingby an by it at some latertime.the main theory would easily requirement. a whole set of normative behaviourwith that expression:namely. ofthe ofadequacyon theories intoa condition observation maybe converted in virtue ofmeaning: determination anyproposedcandidatefortheproperty of which an expressionhas meaning. rather.118 on Sun. a relationbetweenmeaningsomething use at that time.It followsimmediately Suppose the expression things(the greenones) onlyto these 'green' applies correctly theexpression and not to those(the non-greens). on theother. butmerely assesstheobjection.that my use of it is correctin applicationto certainobjects and not in applicationto others. 10 As weshallsee below.5.) Kripke'sinsight use. This content downloaded from 168. as McGinn would have it. to thanthis.a oftherequirement It is easyto see how. do accounts ofmeaning whether really thequestion dispositional however.In particular. Kripke's claim that a dispositional requirement. requirement? founderspreciselyon the normativity theory requirementis not the thesis 5. then. an expressionhas the same or a are-it is always possible to ask whether McGinn's meaning on a dispositionaltheory. a new The normativity ofmeaning turnsout to be. to use wordsincorrectly). 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . '0 notthatone should (one can havedispositions will. (On the one construal.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.must be such as to ground the from anyalleged ofmeaning-it oughtto be possibleto readoff 'normativity' ofa word.

according hypothesis. And not dispositional factsaboutthetokening conditions of of mentalese sincemeaningful sions.'' in placewe arefinally ofthenormativity thesis in 6.as promised.For:what on of Not other of in meaning expressions thelanguage thought? thoughts. andno natural way to bring thenormativity requirement to bearagainst it. tokening or factsabout associatedqualitative expressions episodes.desire. For. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5. thatnothing Indeed.however. fixes the against public language? yes.hence. what its correctness conditions are and in virtueof what theyare determined. thatthesceptical argument's strategy does presuppose thatcontent properties havesome sortof bearer (evenifnot a structured there necessarily one).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. After all. expressions possess thesamesenseas publiclanguage correct use in precisely expressions do. for.we arealso nowin a position ofthought needed. to see. Butitshouldbe quiteclearthat nothing argument on theassumption depends ofstructure: eveniftherepresentation wereto no internal possess syntax.strictly speaking contestable. wish and.judgement. this commitment it is also very is. contents do not figure in a mental life exceptas subtended by a particular mode belief. event. natural and plausible. willbe no natural way to formulate ofthought a dispositional theory content.5 I4 Paul A. to get tokened undercertain circumstances on a disposition constitutes.forfamiliar of such expresreasons.118 on Sun.can.in proper Kripkean fashion. Therehas to be or particular.otherwise. In other of thought contents to a language words. and (b) thatthe representation whosetokening possessesa combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure. and does (in intent.176.and sinceit willease exposition. And so we see thatthe sceptical argument must. ofa certain itspossession Andalthough dispositional theory. thought are the semantic of syntactically and semantically properties structured in thesceptical bearers. becausecorrectness cannot be reconstructed dispositionally. of such actual Not factsabout the pain of viciousregress. anyway) include mental content within thescopeofthescepticism willhangon it. Boghossian it aims to promote. I suppose. content. This content downloaded from 168. It wouldappear. nothing fixes their meaning. I shallhenceforth l Since nothing write as ifa ofthought language hypothesis weretrue. arenaturally understood as theproperties ofthestates or events thatinstantiate thosemodes. it neednotmatter which whose something-a state. we couldstillask. Withthisclarification to settlethe question:can Kripkedevelopthe same sortof a position ofthought as he develops meaning-sceptical argument against a language Andtheanswer is: clearly. So.

completely of a constitutive What it is suited for is the promotion scepticism. 12 McGinn's failure how the constitutive and epistemological to notethisleads himto wonder the distinct from 'fortheepistemological claimis clearly are related. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . mental. pp. I willdiscussthatbelow.thatI have statedthe sceptical problem about meaningwithoutonce mentioning Kripke's notorious sceptic. of For ifhis sceptic is able to showthat. thus.That to character. cit.'2 Kripke'ssceptical to promoting unsuited an epistemological scenario is. to justify his claimthathe meantaddition beingchallenged by '+'. is stillunableto justify his interlocutor access to all the relevant facts. but the theconcept sceptic challenges himtoprove that in question wasnotinfact fora singularity where is justlikeaddition. the two problems are the same.by the way.5. and physical history. equippedwithordinary cognitive powers. I havedescribed thesceptical couldnot It mayseem.TheRule-Following Considerations 5I 5 Theconstitutive nature ofthesceptical problem 7. as everyone knows.176. ofmeaning.Kripke's sceptic is notafter ofthatsort. In fact. then. anyparticular 13 butto conclude thatthere are no facts aboutmeaning.This is evident from thefact in a thesis thathisinterlocutor. evenwith thebenefit scepticism. challenge is to explainhow anything could possessthat. problem to be Kripke's. problem constitutive. he is notrestricted to thesortof knowledge thatan ordinary creature. in the interlocutor's arithmetical at a pointnot previously encountered practice. notourknowledge epistemological-its topicis thepossibility of it. Notice.however. 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. 76I-2. The defend a claim aboutwhat he previously meant bytheexpression interlocutor innocently assumeshimself to havemeant addition. Against Private Journal to thesceptical problem.. Havinga meaning is essentially a matter of possessing a correctness And the sceptical condition. Language'.proceedsby inviting his interlocutor '+'. thatwouldleaveus no choice claimaboutwhathe meant.118 on Sun. theproblem is not-not evenin Pace manyofKripke's readers. is permitted complete and omniscient access to all the facts about his previous behavioural. aspectsof Kripke'sdiscussion metaphysical claim'(op.would be expectedto possess. dimension sortofepistemological This content downloaded from 168.p. that then. abouta givenclass ofjudgements is theview Epistemological scepticism thatour actualcognitive capacities are incapableof delivering justified in that opinions concerning judgements class. Kripke merely the constitutive in an epistemological choosesto present problem guise. quaddition except quaddition. ofPhilosophy. of theArgument Wright in his 'Kripke'sAccount 13 This pointis made very nicely by Crispin another however. Wright. 149). discerns I984.

The pointis thatthe a rule-as opposed to that of merely ordinary conceptof following 14 For example.See his 'Against Kripkean Tennant Scepticism'. and hence that 'the rulefollowing considerations' is.at leastin one'sowncase. once we havecorrected for thedistortions induced there bythedialogic setting.at leaston theordinary a understanding itcannot be true ofall expressions-in rule. on theone hand. it and yetbelieve to havean epistemological dimension. the answeris 'nowhere'. he adduces intention whatever Kripkemayhavehad. cit.hence.. 140-50. strictly a misnomer forthediscusspeaking. It wouldnotbe inappropriate towonder at this what all this hasto point do withthe topicof rule-following? is the connection Where. maywellbe right aboutthis.5.118 on Sun. Boghossian part-epistemological scepticism about meaning.exploring the possibility is tantamount to thepossibility ofrule-following. itcannot be true of particular. exception This content downloaded from 168.16 That. 1984.pp. I do notwishtoargue aboutthis It doesseemtomethat. forthcoming. exploring oftheconcept offollowing But. of course. for in the merepossibility example. at length.and the offollowing a rule. 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. ofcorrectness conditions that 5 The problem maybe.But hereagain.one mayagreethat theproblem is constitutive in character.op.precisely. G. between theconcepts ofmeaning and content. Neil Tennant Synthese. pp. considerations areplaying roleinKripke's argument. 772-5.pp.176. Kripkeis not interested of correctness he is interested in thepossibility conditions.I think. 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. cit. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .on theother. 16 Withone relatively minor to be notedbelow. mentalexpressions-that theycome to have correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of them. has complained that a convincing Kripke's sceptic doesnotultimately bent-rule supply of reinterpretation his interlocutor's words.5I6 Paul A. howI shallpresent them. butacceptable to it are to answers to an epistemic be subject constraint. 409-I0. McGinn. oughtnot to be any residualtemptation to thinkthatepistemological a critical In anycase. The 'rule-following' considerations? 8. Many writers seemto assumethatthe connection is straightforward. sionon offer. concept I shallarguethat. Hacker.14But.anyway. Bakerand P.'On Misunderstanding Wittgenstein: Kripke'sPrivate LanguageArgument'. Expressions cometohave correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of of correctness them. is essentially constitutive in character. as reasoning they maybe represented as follows..known non-inferentially. 15 See op. forged? in an important sense. According to Crispin Wright.

and to andincorrect application there is sucha thing as thecorrect that I there is truth andfalsity. it is a conceptthatpresupposes sequently. verywell: is harmless.17 courseof thegame)permits previous a rule is the conceptof conceptof following the ordinary As such. Theoretical II My onlydisagreeI984. thetime castling at thatpoint. in fullgenerality. whichin turnmakesessential attitude. in Reflections Linguistics'.however. pp. ofthose apprehended in thelight what.176.517 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.'8 THE SCEPTICAL SOLUTION A non-factualist of meaning conception that no word could have the 9. it rule-governed. castling willfit orfailtofit therule. 18 Simon conditions. George. of therebeingcorrectness shall talkindifferently and of theirobeyingprinciplesof application. have conditions mental expressions themselves acquire meaning then. itis natural applying a ruletoa newcasewill.Correctly at of chessmen of theconfiguration willdependbothon apprehension instance. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .it cannotbe truethatmentalexpressions rules in respectof them. ed. situation and to know presented for in thecourse ofa gameofchess. the productionof a termfrommere noise.Whateverthis is. Correctly of the features relevant both to apprehend a double success:it is necessary features. playwiththe idea of a propositional in thissense presupposesthat rule-following play withthe idea of content. 255.5.Oxford. on Chomsky.conan act among whose causal antecendents theidea ofa correctness condition. I intend no particular theoretical implications bytalking ofa term. (and the that configuration ofwhether and on a knowledge ofthemove. further supply conditions p. 281-2. withtruth conditions of correctness its identification mentwiththispassageconcerns or justification conditions proof one speciesof a correctness condition.talkof 'rule-following' correctness. Since it makesessential not one thatcan.Synthese. Strikes Back'. as a resultof anyonefollowing What Kripke's discussion is concerned with is the possibility of so long as we keep thatclearlyin mind. than tosaythat is no more there is sucha thing saythat of wordsbeing and incorrectness.Kripke turnsto askinghow this property 1 and the CentralProjectof Considerations Rule-Following 'Wittgenstein's CrispinWright: I989. This content downloaded from 168. are simply Truthconditions instances. On pain ofregress.Simon Blackburnhas capturedthis perspective The topic is ofrules here. ofcorrect application. help explainit. CrispinWrighthas decribedthis intuitive veryclearly: involve typically to think. 'The Individual Blackburn. Having established to his satisfaction of expressing a certainmeaning. and turns is the factthatdistinguishes utteranceinto assertion into the makingof judgment. lie contentful mentalstates.118 on Sun. Basil Blackwell. A.

Language?'. Thought andContext.Oxford.an unstableposition.I986. in other words. pp. Press.which conservesthe scepticalthesisthatthereare no factsforsuch nevertheless attributions to answerto. unintelligibility becauseit is hardto knowhow to interpret 'necessary unintelligibility'. Clarendon 20 K.20 correspond' 19 Following we maycall thistheconcept Goldfarb.176.if we applyto these thetests . is needed suggested to legitimize assertions thatsomeonemeanssomething is thattherebe roughly circumstances underwhichtheyare legitimately specifiable assertible. This content downloaded from 168. P. is a rehabilitation practice of attributing content to our thoughtsand utterances.258-6o Suggest a Cogent Argument Against Private inSubject. is incoherent. Surelyit cannotmean: a languageto whose predicates no twopeoplecould attach thesamedescriptive conditions.The question is urgent. 'Does Philosophical Investigations I. Goldfarb goeson to saythat Journal is moregeneral language thanthatof a Wittgensteinian 'private language'. no suchconclusion assertions Allthat follows.if notthat. Wright. to be not merelyshockingbut paradoxibecause the conclusionthreatens to theeffect cal. in our intuitivepicture of sentence meaning. Wittgenstein ofPhilosophy.McDowell.No supposition that'facts to thoseassertions is needed. It is hardto assessthis. to entail that thereis nothingI could mean by the use of that across all signs and all people.primafacie anyway. by that of conditions. Andit is notclearwhat it is to mean. 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. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .in his view. The second consists in a description of the assertibility conditionsformeaning-attributing assertibility sentences. Boghossian conclusion is to be accommodated.5. See his 'Kripkeon on Rules'.'9 community The scepticalsolutionhas two partsthatare usefully distinguished. Applied quite generally. and that the gameof asserting themhas a role in our lives.For usefuldiscussion see C. .118 on Sun.518 Paul A. of our ordinary What is called for. to which he may belong'. ed. forthelatter essentially involves theidea ofnecessary to another. becomes the seeminglyparadoxical and self-refuting thesis that no one could mean anything by theiruse of linguistic expressions. theideaofa solitary 1985. evermeansanything On theother hand. The firstconsists in the suggestion that we replace the notion of truth conditions. That is whatthe 'sceptical solution'is designed to do. 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.. then. the claim sign. thatassertions that anyone are meaningless. A scepticism about meaningfactswould appear to be. The troubleis thatwe would ordinarily takea remark that therecould not be any such thingas the factthatI mean something by the ' + ' sign.Sustainingit requiresshowingthatwhat it asserts does not ultimately lapse into a formof pragmaticincoherence. Pettit and J. of a 'solitary language'. 77-8. . 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.

p.however. Kripke is veryclear about the limited.5.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. evenifhe inclines under . according to Kripke.. And so a solitary language is impossible. betweena given speaker'spropensities the agreement. The argument against 'solitary language' emerges. III ARGUMENT LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT OF THE SOLITARY AGAINST and solitary accounts Constitutive language i i... 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . could be said to mean anything. Kripke continues.Following 21 K. Since.thisis as far [I]fwe confine ourselves to looking which we can saythat. in effect. This content downloaded from 168. heshould have alonecan say at his mindor behavior can he be wrong? No one else by looking ifhe does notaccordwithhis ownintention'. orvice-versa . the something like. introduceassertibility conditionsforjudgementsabout errorin termsof in the or lack of it.176. use of a termand the community's.5 Considerations TheRule-Following 9 sentence The proposed account is.and can only be accommodatedif we widen our gaze and take and betweenour imaginedrule-follower intoconsideration the interaction Were we to do so.we could a linguisticcommunity. 88. Thereareno circumstances what circumstances said'5'.21 virtue ofwhich of error.. Under tosay'125'. however. Let us turn now to an assessmentof the various central aspects of Kripke's argument. natureof the whollydescriptive explicationsof the view: scepticalsolution.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.'He is wrong are no facts abouthimin argument was thatthere wholepointof theskeptical he accords withhis intentions or not..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.118 on Sun.at least in his 'official' are madeand ofmeaning attributions We haveto see underwhatcircumstances exhortawhatroletheseattributions Wittgenstein's playin ourlives. . fromthe observationthat.is essentialto our ordinary The possibility concept of meaning.

176. This content downloaded from 168. hence.on pain of falling preyto the accepted scepticalconsiderations. If this is correct.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. we cannot introducesubstantive 22 K. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . could theprojectofproviding an account of their assertion conditionsaspire to anythingmore than descriptive adequacy? Were we equipped with an account of theirtruth of course.thatthe scepticalsolutioncan do no morethanrecordthe conditions underwhichspeakersin factconsiderthe attributionof a certain concept warrantedand the endorsementof a particular responseappropriate.however. And thiswould be a lot less thanthe resultwe were promised:namely.118 on Sun.. the mostthatwould licensesayingis thatourlanguageis not solitary. pp. It is important to see that the counselled modesty-we will not reason a prioriabout the role such statements ought to play-is compulsory. in the absence of a conceptionof the truth conditions ofmeaningattributing sentences.we will not reasona priori about the role such statements to play. Communal assertibility conditions? thisworry I 2. if we accept the sceptical conclusion. or an analysisof what such rule-following conditions) 'consists in'.For how.5. rather ought we will findout whatcircumstances actually license suchassertions and what rolethislicense actually to plays. Putting to one side. The conditionsmay not be understoodto providethe content(or assertibility truthconditions)of the meaning-attributing sentences. Boghossian tionnot to think but to look. Indeedsuchconditions wouldconstitute to the a 'straight' solution skeptical and havebeenrejected. assertion conditions oughtto be and. thatany possible language has to be communal.520 Paul A.however. 86-7. (That is whythe solutionon has to be sceptical:it has alreadybeen conceded thatnothingcould offer cogentlyamount to the fact that a meaning sentencereports). potentially. the modestyit counsels is enforcedby the factthat truthconditionsforthese sentences has been jettisoned.The Wittgensteinian exhortation 'not to thinkbut to look' is not merely(as it may be) good advice.It would appear to followfromthis. to revise the forassertion conditions actuallyacceptedforthem.we ought to be puzzled about how the scepticalsolutionis goingto delivera conclusionagainstsolitary language of the requisite modal force: namely.22 problem.For even ifit weretruethatour actualassertibility conditions for sentencesadvertto the dispositions meaning-attributing of a community.It is important realizethatwe are not looking and sufficient fornecessary conditions (truth for following a rule.we mightbe able to reasona prioriabout whattheir conditions. let us ask whether it is in facttruethat. that there could not be such a language.

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. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ..But how.23 Consider the following: to assertof Jones thathe means additionby '+'. Ibid.op.. is canvassed This sortofrejoinder 25 K. as Kripke himselfsays. cit.. As a description of systematic deviations. givethisdescription he must Necessarily practise. 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.521 Considerations TheRule-Following thatdo not advertto the conditionsformeaning-attributions assertibility that of a community of speakers?It appears.176. in another form oflifemight a participant case ofanysuchuse ofourlanguage.But as Goldfarbpointsout. and manyothersuch factors. bothin Goldfarb. from This is argued This content downloaded from 168. ance attaching may be safelyignoredforthe purposeof raisingthe following refinements of criticalquestion:what in the scepticalconclusionrules out attributions against form(A)? It had betterrule themout. as Kripke himselfrepeatedly emphasizes.. As a matter conditions Kripke outlines? thecommunalassertibility just the opposite seems true. which in McGinn.but have actuallydone so.on the contrary.the greaterimportbe made forthe importance But all these to simple cases..quite rough:roomhas to of our practice. Could it perphapsbe arguedthat(A) is permissible of fact.op cit. cit..118 on Sun. dispositions not only can we introducesuch conditions.and theargument mathematical language preserved? againstsolitary though parasiticon I3. in a non-standard in the description terms (such as 'agreement') applyvarious unless solution toWittgenstein's be an objection way. he is inclined with those toparticular addition agree answers problems 23 24 26 op.is (A) to be ruledout.26 runs as folaccount of meaning-attributions Kripke's communitarian lows: Jones's to meanaddition by 'plus' onlyifhe judgesthat SmithwilljudgeJones togive.pp.24 It can hardlybe objected that of the of 'sum' is being presupposedin the statement the interpretation solutionto condition.and in McGinn. of course. (A) It is warranted provided he has responded with the sum in reply to most queries posed thus far.5. This cannot 'quus-like' at all. of course.. thereappears to be nothingin the scepticalconclusionthatwill rule it out. I85-7. forthescepticalsolutionis not meantto be a straight the problem about meaning.if the argument for(A) advertsto no one otherthanthe languageis to be sustained. p. I46. thispointis derived.then. the sceptical argumentdoes not threatenthe existence of facts.. arithmetical (A) is. solitary individual..

9I. I have beena reliablecomputer underconditions where of sums. I conclude that thesceptical solution does notyielda convincing argument against solitary language. The sceptical conclusion hasitthat itcannot literally be true of 2 K. Jones by 'plus' only ifJones uses'plus'enough in thesamewayI am inclined times to use it. This content downloaded from 168. Kripke's communitarian account to read: mustbe modified to assert ofJones (B) It is warranted thathe meansaddition by '+'. It wouldbe absurd for me. Boghossian IfJones inagreement with consistently fails togive responses Smith Smith's. providedhe agreeswithmy responses to arithmetical queries.thisseemsacceptable enough. I willjudgethat means addition According then. thepresent will deviation justify Smith that hehaslapsed. and manyimportant refinements One of therefinements aside. injudging the past.522 Paul A. and becauseouractualassertibilityconditions formeaning ascriptions appearnotto be communitarian. It wouldappear. and thatthe basic assertion I condition acceptis just(A): It is warranted to assertof Jonesthathe meansadditionby '+'. in other that theacceptability words. IRREALIST CONCEPTIONS IV OF MEANING I4. thatis calledfor. p. provided he has responded withthesumin reply to mostarithmetical queries posedthusfar. In sum:bothbecauseitis difficult togenerate (impossible?) constitutive results outofnon-constitutive accounts.. As a roughdescription of our practice. The argument against wassupposed solitary language toflow from the of sentence adjustedunderstanding significance forced by the sceptical conclusion.27 to thisaccount. exposesthefactthatKripke's communitarian on thesolitary conditions are parasitic and nottheother conditions.5. way round. ofthecommunitaris ianconditions strongly on theacceptability ofthesolitary parasitic ones. Andthiswouldappearto showthat. But thismodification wouldseemimmediately toreveal that thereference to 'my own responses' is idle. however. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .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. at a minimum.118 on Sun. will that hedoesnot mean addition EvenifJones judge didmean itin by'plus'. and nottheother wayaround.176.

An error conception of a given region of discourse conserves the region's semantical appearances predicates are still understood to express properties.First. I98I .28 be understoodto consist Could not the moralof the scepticalargument in an errorconceptionof meaning discourse?It could not.is of doubtfulcoherence.The scepticalsolution's recommendation is that we blunt the forceof this result by refusingto thinkof sentencesignificance in termsof possession of truthconditions. thatno sentencewhatever possesses a meaning.176.in terms of possession of assertibility conditions. other ways of accommodatingthe sceptical conclusion? at leastat The solutionon offer is bound to strike one as an overreaction. or a capacity to state facts. perhaps. ofmoraldiscourse.the ontological discoveryis taken to exhibit merely-the systematic falsityof the region's (positive. forthcoming in my'The Statusof Content'. Penguin.a sentencecannotbe false unless it is meaningful thisin turnimpliesthat(i) cannotbe true:forwhat (i) says is thatsome sentences are false.Ethics:Inventing London. in that the solelyto the recommended non-factualism is global.in thatit opts fora form factualism. of nonfirst blush. This argument and thePropositional Attitudes'.the most conservative of being a witchis not to adopt a non-factualist nothinghas the property an error conceptionof witchtalk.5. Journal Materialism AprilI990.in contrast regions. declarative sentencesto possess truthconditions. reactionto the news that Semantically speaking.Since. 29 An error conception is elaborated ofPhilosophy. (i) implies.ratherthanrestricted region of discourse meaning talk that is directly affectedby the scepticalresultit seeks to accommodate.The view in question would consistin the claim thatall meaning-attributions are false: (i) For any S: FS means thatpl is false. and second.118 on Sun. But is this solution forced? Are there not. however. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .it is to offer conceptionof such talk.Considerations 523 TheRule-Following any symbolthatit expressesa particular meaning:thereis no appropriate factfora meaning-attributing sentenceto report.thatis. Philosophical Review. forsuch a Rightand Wrong. for an error with errorconceptionsof other conceptionof such discourse.as opposed to an error theory. and defended This content downloaded from 168. of the truth But the disquotationalproperties predicateguaranteethat(i) entails (2) For any S: [Si has no meaning.I977.in two possiblerespects. We should think of it.29 sentences namelymeaning-attributing 28 See JohnMackie. conception see his 'Eliminative has beenadvocated ofmeaning by Paul Churchland. rather.atomic) sentences. to begin with.

524 Paul A. ifno other. cit. Boghossian So it appearsthatKripkewas right to avoid an error of conception fare any meaningdiscourse. It is.30 For consider a non-factualism aboutmeaning-the solely viewthat. p: rS meansthat As I noted above. Since thetruth-condition ofanysentence S is (in part.courtesy properties a sentence oftheformrS has truth-condition pl is trueifand predicate. This content downloaded from 168. meaning-attributing Thus. and since(5) has it that rS has truthcondition it follows pl is never that simply true.D. I986. in thisrespect. non-factualism. pl is nottruth-conditional. Content and Rules'.118 on Sun. 769-70 and in my 'Meaning. The canonical formulation view-and theone that is Kripkehimself declarative sentence favours-hasit thatsometargeted not genuinely A non-factualism truth-conditional. Dissertation Essayson Meaning and Belief. (4) For any S: rS[ is not truthconditional.5..as seemsnatural. p: rS has truth-condition of the disquotational of the truth However. no meaning-attributing sentence canbe truth-conditional. while for oftherest preserving it. the projectivism recommended by the solution is intended to applyglobally: it is notconfined to sceptical solely sentences. since there is no suchproperty as a word'smeaning something. at leastsomeregions of language? Kripkedoes notsay.in PartI of myPh. then. a fascinating consequenceof a non-factualism about that itentails a global meaning. Princeton. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . (5) For all S. a non-factualism aboutmeaning from distinguishes itself a similar thesis 30 Somewhat different are givenforthisbothin Crispin arguments Wright's 'Kripke'sAccount'. consists. thatis. however.176.since.But it maybe thathe glimpsed thatthe oftheprojectivism globalcharacter is in fact forcedin thepresent case. 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. a view?Why does he not suggest Whydoes Kripkeadopt so extreme that we abandon a truth-conditional modelfor merely semantic discourse. Ioc. onlyif S has truth-condition p. in theviewthat pl is nottruth-conditional. and henceno suchfact. about meaning.pp.But does his non-factualist conception better? ofa non-factualist I5. (4) For anyS: rSi is nottruth-conditional justas predicted. anyway) a function ofits a non-factualism meaning. (3) For anyS.

5. a non-factualist orderto frame suppose about truth as a result of accepting a non-factualismabout meaning. There are philosophicalmistakes. For on a of truth...I do believe thata non-factualism Rather.Dover. of theprojectivism would have consists. In fact. and not the concept of some genuineproperty some 'real relation' thata sentence(or thought)may enjoy.32here I have space only to sketchits outlines.but not because of its global character. oftheskeptical oftheconclusion statement be projective.a global projectivism whatthe instability thatno sentencepossesses a truth to admitthatit is no morethanassertible here. J..176. say. 32 In 'The Status 3" Ibid.a sentencewill be truth-conditional understanding deflationary of Content'. Truthand Logi'c. cit. ittocomeby want willpresumably theprojectivist discourse.. The pointthatneeds to be keptin focusis thatthesentenceof whichtruth sentence. thesisabout. 33~ A.it is condition.Ayer.525 Considerations TheRule-Following about any othersubject matter.For this declarative conditionsare being denied is a significant of which the in of truth terms that the concept factimmediately implies thatA.New York. then non-factualismis nowhere a coherent option. not a transparent about meaningis i6.however exactly quiteglobally. This content downloaded from 168.31 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.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. P.a fortheformer failto qualify statements thatcertain wayof a discovery to is notitself instance.the reasonshave unstable. I have developed the argumentfor this in some detail elsewhere.I952. [but] seemsto standforsomething in which theword'truth' sentences does notstandforanything. J.. .118 on Sun. andnon-fact-stating class. Language. as Ayer claims in this passage. for argument.To be sure. merelythe concept of a device for semantic ascent. . to do with the clash between what you have to suppose about truthin and whatyou have to thesisabout anything. p. like most of truth conception . The traditional real . 770.to a failureto analyze sentencescorrectly . . 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .however. 89.CrispinWrighthas suggestedthatit also problematic: rendersit irremediably views couldbe applied that projectivist tosuppose itis coherent that itis doubtful between fact-stating be drawn thedistinction For..But whatis wrongwiththat?If thereis an instability one. concept be deflationary is cannot the thesis framed non-factualist follows: as described Ayersuccinctly as a 'real quality'or a 'real relation'is due. to say that p is true is simply a way of assertingp. loc.

willhaveto be possessed of robust truth-conditions. in form. present essay. 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. Boghossian provided onlythatit is apt forsemantic ascent.And thisexposesthecontradiction we havebeenstalking: a nonfactualism aboutmeaning boththattruth is robust and thatit is implies not.now. but they are notincoherent.as I shallhenceforth put it. judgements aboutit willhaveto be factual. eligibility willnotbe certified purely bythefact that a sentence is declarative and significant. of theclaimis boundto arousesuspiThe uncompromising strength cion.noticethatjudgements about an objectpossessesa robustproperty whether could hardly fail to be factual. of sometargeted.robust.It in thefact consists error that and non-factualist theories aboutany subject matter claims certain abouttruth andtruth-conditions. significant. theory. solution.118 on Sun. So long as it is a genuine.fora moredetailed treatment see 'The Statusof Content'. instance. therewill be no understanding its claim that a significant sentence.and it will be apt for semantic ascent provided onlythat it is a significant. In particular. declarative failstc. there ofthematter couldfailtobe a fact aboutwhether an object hasP.however. itis truth-conditional. declarative sentence. It follows.possesstruth-conditions.176. But.526 Paul A. then abouta sentence's judgements truth valuemust themselves be factual. declarative that sentence. language-independent property. So we haveitthat thesis truth that anynon-factualist presupposes is. loc. If P is somegenuinely robust thenit is hardto see how property. appealing Whyshouldmatters standdifferently withmeaning discourse? The source oftheasymmetry is actually notthat hardto track down. It does not matter if P is subjective or otherwise dependent upon our responses. I7 It is hard to do justice to theissuesinvolved within theconfines ofthe I do hope. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . by Churchland. if truth is a robust property. Irrealist of otnerdomainsmay not be particularly conceptions or plausible. But it is constitutive ofa non-factualist thesis precisely thatit denies.5. cit. This content downloaded from 168.34 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. Otherwise. 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. for meaning. therefore. 34 Again. Not surprisingly theensuing result is unstable. presuppose that an error ornon-factualist directed conception at ourtalkofmeaning precisely itself endsup denying.

if theseconsiderations way appears tobe no stable there be sustained: conclusion cannot sceptical about meaning. robust conception thedenialofthatpresupposition. entails thedenialofthatpresupposiat ourtalkaboutmeaning precisely a presupposes matter aboutanysubject tion. objection tonaturalistic facts restriction is but chargesthat the scepticalargument of naturalism. Colin McGinn.527 Considerations TheRule-Following thatthe presupposes thesisaboutany subjectmatter Thus. op.All the anti-reductionist suggestion. of course. construal anti-reductionist against an appropriately powerless the andin thenext thenaturalistic objections. This content downloaded from 168. That itsconclusion depends claim they issuefrom a naturalistic perspective: The first twoobjections even granted a failsto establish its thesis. therefore.an account thatis.also. entails talkaboutmeaning then. I68-74. I should say at the outset. of accommodating the claim thatthereare no truths to theargument that appeared mustbe wrong.. an error But an errorthesis directed targetsentencesare truth-conditional. are distinctfrom constraint. Warren of normativity This restson themisunderstanding Goldfarb charges that Kripke neglectsto consider causal/informational to a failure This derivesfrom of meaning.however.36 accountsof the determination of meaningis simplyone see that. cit. the on a number has beenfaulted argument i8. 36 See Goldfarb. facts.118 on Sun.a non-factualism precisely at our directed But a non-factualism oftruth. argument thatthe sceptical The final concedes andproperties..Thus.op. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I3. The sceptical being: mostimportant of meaning do not dispositional accounts against That its arguments work. the failure ofmeaning.pp.5. naturalistic all theavailable That it neglects to consider on an unargued reductionism. In thispartI shallexamine the secondkindand will not discussthemin any detailhere. Capacities. claims that Kripke neglectsto considerthe that possession of a concept mightconsist in possession of a possibility certainsort of capacity. Whatcouldit be? V REDUCTIVE ACCOUNTS OF MEANING ofgrounds.thatI see no meritto objectionsof thatKripkeignoresvariousviable thatI have seen to theeffect suggestions reduction bases formeaningfactsseem to me to reston misunderstanding.in all essentialrespects. cit.a causal theory of meaning. forexample. theory species of a dispositional 3 See McGinn.176. with Something lead us to it. McGinn explains.theywould show thatthe are correct.n.35 dispositionsand are bettersuited to meet the normativity outlinedabove.

on informational of thecontentofmental theories symbols. For conceptual roletheories see: H.Otherwise.118 on Sun. It is unfortunate the sceptical obscured in Kripke's discussion. Midwest Studies in Philosophy. I986. Kripke argues.I98I. the sake of concreteness. whatis to say thatmy dispositionis not a dispositionto or some such?But no one can apply the termto the property nearbvhorse. in what my dispositions always be a serious indeterminacy are.This has given rise to the impressionthat his discussion of dispositionalism does not covercausal theories.ratherthan on causal/informational versions. forPsychology'. Cambridge. Meaning andConceptual ofPhilosophy.includinghorsesso faraway and so farin the past thatit would be nonsense to suppose I could ever get into causal contactwith them. thenI should be disposed to apply it to all horses. MIT Press. of MinnesotaPress.2. to suggestingthat therewill Kripke's firstobjection amounts.but theissues thatariseare generaland applyto anydispositional theorywhatever.I987. I977. The root formof an information-style dispositionaltheoryis this: I am disposed My mentalsymbol'horse' expresseswhateverproperty to apply it to. 'Logic. This content downloaded from 168. Minneapolis. ofMinnesota University Press. Stampe. 37For correlational theories see: F. I977.to focus on conceptual of meaning. Midwest Studiesin Philosophy.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. The singlemostimportant strandin the scepticalargument consistsin the considerations against dispositionaltheoriesof meaning.Because Kripke illustrates problem throughthe use of an arithmetical example. Boghossian thatthis connectionis extensively discussed by Kripke. he tends.528 Paul A. Field. For.5. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . vol. Minneapolis. Psychosemantics. the most influentialcontemporary theories of content-determination 'informational' theories and 'conceptual-role' theories are both forms of a for dispositionalaccount.'Towardsa Causal Theoryof Linguistic Representation'.But the impression is misleading. Ned Block. andtheFlowofInformation. Dretske. 'Advertisement for a Semantics Journal Role'.It would be hard to exaggeratethe importanceof such theories for contemporary philosophyof mind and semantics:as I have just indicated. vol. D.in effect. Jerry University Fodor. Dispositions and meaning: finitude 19.176. Knowledge Cambridge. thus renderingdispositional propertiesan inappropriatereduction base for meaningproperties. MIT Press. underrole versionsof a dispositionalaccount standably.Io.37In my discussionI shall tend to concentrate.if it is indeed the property horse thatI am disposed to applythetermto.

176.Kripke considerssuch a responseand complains: in this? How in theworldcan I tellwhat But howcan we haveanyconfidence brainmatter? .And it certainlyseems conceivable that a willrenderthecounterfacsuitableidealizationofmybiologicalproperties tual about my behaviouron Alpha Centauritrue. All dispositionalproperties their exercise the holding of the relevant counterfactualtruth is on theabsence ofinterfering or equivalently. it seems completely For example. criticism For a related This content downloaded from 168. is false. on the conditions. . of the form.it is anotherto in no positionnow to show that provethethesistrue. can with Similarly.if C..forexample. counterfactual If conditionswere ideal. The argument does not convince.And we are certainly trouble is that not every true The we do have infinitary dispositions.39 the conditionsover be true if molecules and containersactuallysatisfied that does not preventus from which the ideal gas laws are defined. For example.If I werenow to go to Alpha Centauri.But that by itselfneed not pose an insuperableobstacle to are such that ascribingthe dispositionto me. however. p. p.I would call the horses there 'horse'.I would call the horses there'horse'. it is one thingto dispel an objection to a thesis. See 'A Theory Part II.but if were their volume would vary know there ideal gases..but that need not preventus fromclaimingto know that. S would do A to S the dispositionto do A in C.if I were to survivesuch a trip. inversely pressure I a to if were modified as to survive so all of whatwould be true trip Alpha Centauri. cit. then. 27.no one can claim to knowall of whatwould unacceptable. by out thatifconditionswereideal forthe tortoise if. pointing 38 39 40 K. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . op. definedover ideal conditionsunless one knows acceptinga generalization would be true if the ideal conditions exactly which counterfactuals obtained. ofKripkeon thisscoresee Blackburn. can be used to attribute one can hardlycredit a tortoisewith the abilityto overtakea hare. for no one can have a dispositionwithrespectto inaccessibleobjects. the counterfactual If I were now to go to Alpha Centauri. then.40 Still. of Content'.Of course. contingent presence of ideal conditions. I5 (manuscript).38 speculation to science thatone can have no reason for If the pointis supposed to be. on no one claim to know the them. Surely such with extra wouldhappenifmybrainwerestuffed shouldbe left fiction writers and futurologists.5. as JerryFodor has pointed out. claimingto that.I probablywould not be in anypositionto call anything by any name.forI would probablydie before I got there.Considerations 529 TheRule-Following have a disposition to call all horses 'horse'.118 on Sun.

implies to use thatexpression. The relation ofmeaning and intention to future actionis normative. Computational and other error.it is not to say descriptive that.4' The fact that I mean somethingby an expression. p.however. It is also truethatto say that a given expressionhas a given extensionis not to make any sort of simple remark about it.5.because we cannot be completely confident thatthe idealized counterfactuals needed to support such ascriptionsare licit. I should mypastmeaning answer 'I25'. Boghossian it weremuch biggerand faster-thenit would overtake it. In particular. truths about how I ought truths about how it would be correct forme to use it. In the absence of such an account.the expressionwillbe applied onlyto thosethings which are in its extension.as a matter of fact. factors disturbing may lead me notto be disposed to respond as I should. notdescriptive. not ifI meant descriptive. 41 K. butifso.we cannotbe completely confident that ascriptions of infinitary dispositions are acceptable.Kripke seems to think.530 Paul A. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 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. he has not done. of course. But this is not the rightaccountof the relation. addition by + '. I havenotactedin accordance withmyintentions. ifI intend butthat.176. 37- This content downloaded from 168.. SupposeI do meanaddition ofthis by' + '.of course.only certainidealizationsare permissible. 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. toaccord with of' + '. This much. The point is notthat. I willanswer 'I25'.This is unsurprising given the difficulty and delicacyof the issues involved.that these observations by themselves ought to be enough to show thatno dispositional theory of meaning can work. 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. finiteness ofmycapacity.we do not now knowwhichidealizationsthoseare.is incontestable.118 on Sun.and also obviously.In whatsense is meaning a normative notion?Kripke writes: 20. 'I 25'.Kripke says. 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. whichis normative. Obviously. And here matters are not so straightforward.

This content downloaded from 168.and theyare closelyrelated. this is a dispositionto make a mistake. disposed to use it. I am disposed to am disposed to apply the expressionto. But thisleads to the unacceptableconclusionthat'horse' does not express horseor cow. .And as Wittgenstein possibility seems ofcorrectness is to make sense at all. giventhatit identifies to.of identifying actual dispositionswith respectto that expression. ipsofacto. can hope to succeed.Ned Block has written treatment one that rolesemantics] theorists. of error. in the extensionof that expression. am disposed. simplyequates under consideration.The first by it. comprehensive of conceptualrole theories. like the There is a related conceptual difficulty. hopeless theory. I prefer actually what to say . in ideal or normative or shouldit be tied to whatpeople understood terms. show.. but it is surprisinghow little they are appreciated. If conceptual role is supposed to determine preyto Kripke's meaning.on pain of falling an expression'sconceptual role with a subject's objection. cit.that is. becauseI'm notsure do? .. that no dispositional The objections from normativity I meanby theproperty thatassumes the simple formof identifying theory I am disposed to call 'horse'. the property horsebut ratherthe disjunctiveproperty Any theorywhich.176. 'horse'withtheproperty What did not assume this simple form? But what if a dispositional theory 2I. 42 Ned Block. as a matter ifthe idea was fondof remarking.thentherecan be no question. to apply the Intuitively.But our crude dispositional expressionto something withthe I meanbyan expression theproperty theory. crude dispositionaltheorycurrently how it would be correctforme to use a certainexpressionwithhow I am the very of definition. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . dark also be true that there are certain circumstances sufficiently horseylookingones such that. is thatthe theory difficulty of them.. This is a 'horse' means whateverproperty There are two of course. is bound to get theextensionof 'horse' wrong. 63I. would have ruled out. op. In a recent. theneverything apply the expressionto is. but the reasons are instructive.118 on Sun. 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. notto comment on thismatter . then.p.5. not in its extension. thenit cannotbe thatwhatever right.I nights-and certaincows sufficiently to call those cows 'horse' too. under those circumstances. But it will Then.Suppose I mean horse I have a dispositionto call horses 'horse'. 42 This ought to seem odd. presumably.. ofa choicethatmustbe madeby [conceptual role be shouldconceptual has had no discussion (as faras I know):namely. rightto me is (by definition) One would have thoughtthese points too crucial to miss.53I Considerations TheRule-Following above: theory mentioned Let us beginwiththe verycrude dispositional I am disposed to apply it to.

dispositions expression falsely. If onlysufficiency disposition's wererequired we wouldnotknow.5. they ofdistinct A number arefacts ofwriters sorts. If a dispositional theory is to have any prospect of succeeding. normativity canvassed so far wouldappeartohavebeenmet. couldwe not however.is there really M? And. Provided the theory specified a principle of selection that outonly theextension-tracking andprovided also that picked dispositions.Therewillbe no fear that theequation willissuein falseverdicts aboutwhattheexpression means. Kripke seems to thinkthat even if therewere a suitablyselected theextension thatcaptured of an expression disposition that accurately.43 Givensucha property. for predicate. theexpression's For although meaning.118 on Sun.176. possessing dispositions with respectto that expression that possess M? For.it identified it onlywithcertain select dispositions. Kripkeis clearly sceptical abouttheexistence of an appropriate I will consider M-property. is therereallyno more to thenormativity ofmeaning thanspecifying capturing sucha property? Now. But thatis notright.In other toKripke. Boghossian dispositions withthatproperty to will be guaranteed to be dispositions bothof the objections from applythe expression correctly. evenif words. according there werea dispositional that covaried with a meaning predicate logically theonefact couldstillnotbe identified with theother. to constitute to applythe therefore.instead ofidentifying I meanby'horse'with what theentire ofmy range in respect dispositions of 'horse'. thensafely equatemeaning with:thesetof something by an expression This content downloaded from 168. And so we wouldnothaveevena sufficient condition fortheexpression's a givenmeaning. has written: 43 It is occasionally suggested thatit wouldbe enoughif possession of M weresufficient forthe correctness.SimonBlackburn. ofM is necessary non-semantic a property M suchthat: terms. it mustselectfrom amongthe I have for 'horse'. disposition thefact it with because stillremains of a disposition truethattheconcept is descriptive whereas ofmeaning theconcept is not. of a definition simply by virtue of M. meaning wouldit notthenbe truethattheobjections from had beendisarmed? normativity toputmatters Let us try a little more precisely. in terms it specified thatprinciple thatdid notpresuppose thenotion of or extension.those dispositions whichare meaningdispositions In other it mustcharacterize. in non-intentional and determining.sinceit is onlyM-dispositions thatare guaranteed to be correct. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . havebeeninclined tofollow himin this. At thispointtwoquestions sucha property arise. possession for to applyan expression in accordwith andsufficient a disposition being itscorrectness conditions. couldstill notbe identified ofmeaning. thatquestionbelow. And. since if. supposingtherewere. we wouldknowwhat properties were definitely part oftheexpression's meaning we wouldnotknow ifwe hadthem all. it willno longer is right: follow thatwhatever seemsright thosedispositions notpossessing M willnotbe dispositions toapply theexpression towhat it meansand willbe free. But morethanthis.First. forinstance. second.532 Paul A. words.

cation of dispositionsthatmirror of factsabout meaningas groundsfor character But he citesthe normative But what preciselyhas been leftover.118 on Sun. And thisis whata dispositional so that of expressions. p.propertyM. hence. unlike mustbe. I do notthink It is justthat. But the dispositional of any disposition.withoutpresupposingany semantic or intentionalmaterials.They for selection ofa function couldat mostgiveus standards rule.. and by JohnMcDowell. 329.To be told whereasthis does followfromthe attribution that 'horse' means horseimplies that a speakerought to be motivatedto only to horses.and. as comparedwithhow he actuallyresponds.Perhaps theM-dispositionsare those dispositionsthat a person would have when his cognitivemechanisms are in a certainstate. it is conceivablethatthatwould amountto a nonthosemechanisms. This would ensure the Second. once the extensionshave been specifiedcorrectly? of themeaningof One might have a thought likethis. This content downloaded from 168. envisaging Blackburnhere is explicitly the extensionsof expressionscorrectly.pp. 289-9I.176. it must show how possession of theory'sextensionalcorrectness. It is not clear thatthisis in generaltrue. specified. I984. because it never follows from the mere attribution use. Rule'.seems to carryno such implication.is state conditionson an adequate dispositional theory.44 they Indeed. What we are in a positionto do. that thereare factsconcerningcorrect howeverselectively of an extension. cit. forcapturingthe normative There is clearly no way to settle the matter in advance of the considerationof particulardispositional proposals.. circular specificationof how the person would ideally respond. 77I-2.533 Considerations TheRule-Following they we succeedin identifying dispositions I shareKripke's viewthatwhatever which we mean.Synthese. to a previous ofwhat it is to be faithful an account provide us with couldn't tothetask areinadequate dispositions Kripke. Similar Strikes "4 'The Individual a on Following 10c. it would also specify its extension an expression would notmerely is an extension namely. however.cit.A properreduction correctly.whereasto be told. covarywiththe extensions thatlogically dispositions in questionthe expressions' correctness one could read offthe dispositions factdoes not amountto the meaningfact.'Wittgenstein his 'Kripke'sAccount'. any such theorymust specify. denyinga dispositionalreduction. specifisubstantive the successful.thatit would suffice forceof an ascriptionof meaning.loc.5. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . There might theory condition. conditions. forinstance. and perhaps it can be non-question-beggingly of certified thatthatstatecorrespondsto a stateof theproperfunctioning If so.First.I think of providing standards. thatdeservesto be called a an M-dispositioncould amountto something motivated to correctness condition. somethingwe would be inherently in aremadebyWright concessions Back'.pp. a correctness reveal that what it is specifying be cannotdo.that apply the expression underwhicha speakeris disposed to thereare certainselectcircumstances apply the expressiononly to horses.

dispositions. long associated with Wittgenstein to specifyM by seeks himself.it foundits in Wright's Wittgenstein most sustained treatment on the Foundations of Mathematics. one.attempts to defineM in termsof the notionof an optimality condition. (His morerecent longerholds this view. There is a reason forthis. Even beforethe current distinguished history concern with a 'rule-following problem'. it is a communityof assent which supplies the essential backgroundagainst This content downloaded from 168. I98I. however.if the problemat the level of the individual is now merely to be replayed at the level of the 4 Harvard Cambridge. many commentators-whether rightly or wrongly-identified communitarianism as a centralthesisof the later writings. in effect. thus paving the way foran outright reductionof meaningto dispositions. 46 Ibid.534 Paul A.ed.'Reply: Rule-Following: The Natureof Wittgenstein's in Wittgenstein Arguments'. and forthecommunity itself there is no authority. exploiting the notion of a community. University that writings suggest Wright no Press.) See also Christopher Peacocke. incorrect. the other.The suggestionthat correctness consistsin agreementwith the dispositionsof one's community is designed to meet this need. The idea thatcorrectness withone's fellows consistsin agreement has a in thestudyofWittgenstein.5. The proposal will not serve its purpose. Holtzman and Leich. Boghossian satisfy.46 It is important to understand that. pp.176.between correctand incorrect distinction. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . . What property two sortsof proposal: mightM be? There are. on Following a Rule.i980. in specifying the communaldispositionsthatare to serve as the constitutive arbitersof correctness. to select fromamong the community's actual dispositionsa privilegedsubset.45 Which of the manydispositionsa speakermay have with respect to a given expressiondetermineits meaning?Or. The communitarian account 22. 2I9-20.I shall begin with the communitarian account.London. As a response to the problemabout meaning... Communitarianism is a response to the perceived inabilityto definea at the level of the individual. .The theorydoes not attempt. so no standard to meet..118 on Sun. equivalently..accordingto the proposal on offer. Routledge and Kegan Paul. 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 correct application of a term is determined by the totalityof the community's actual dispositionsin respectof thatterm. This would ensure the intensional equivalence of the two propertiesin question. None of us can unilaterally make sense of correctemployment of whichalone it makessense to thinkof individuals' responses as correct or . of more recent provenance.

is thatthe emaciated notionof truthyielded by communitarianism is the best we can hope to considerations. Spreading theWord. thusmimicsto some degreethe sortof responsethatis essentialto truth. whether communitarianism offers any concept deservingof that name. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . But I also have a disposition.unliketruth.therefore.5.loc. The crucial question. op. Does communal consensus responsecharacteristic of truth? A number of criticshave complained against communitarianism that communalconsensusis simplynotthesame property as truth.118 on Sun. the 'intensional'requirement. forit quite clearlydoes not. What dispositionsdo I have in respect of this expression?To be sure.TheRule-Following Considerations 535 A communitarian community. 4 48 This content downloaded from 168. pp. does not want it to be a further question whether a given actual communal disposition is itself correct. I have a dispositionto apply it to horses.176.I984. How does the proposal fare with respect to the outlined adequacy conditionson dispositionaltheories? Consider firstthe 'intensional' requirement.on sufficiently dark nights. 82ff. Consider the term 'horse'. This is a large question on which I do not propose to spend a lot of time. cit. For a moreextensive discussion see my Essayson Meaningand Belief. cit.forthe sake of the use of intentional materials?). but non-collusively. This is.. Non-collusive communal agreementon a judgement does usually provide one with some sort of reason for not witha decisiveone).to apply it to the factsare clear. as offering the folowing characterization of M: M is theproperty ofagreeing withtheactual dispositions of thecommunity. it is. see also Blackburn.47 communitarian is not best read as offering an analysis of the ordinary but a displacement of it. means horseand my dispositionto apply it to cows on dark nightsis See Blackburn. Wherecommunitarianism fails.it seemsto me. thatthe proposaldoes not fareall thatbadlyin connection with argument. of course. The proposal must be understood. is not so much hereas with the extensional requirement. it the judgement embracing (even if.48Althoughthereare subtle questionsabout how much of logic will be recoverablefromsuch a view.But the applicationof a givenpredicate. rather.that possession of the favoured M-property appear intuitivelyto resemble possession of a command the sort of correctnesscondition. is not whethercommunitarianism captures our ordinarynotion of truth. 'Horse' deceptively horseylookingcows. expectin lightof the rule-following then. Intuitively. thatthereis no incoherencein the suggestionthat all the members of a linguistic in the off-track community have gone collectively. and whetherit can be suitablynonarticulated reductively (can 'non-collusiveagreement'be definedwithout I am preparedto grant.undeniable. Oxford University Press. His thought notionof truth. Oxford.

and so forth-that effective presenceof features bad lighting. about the term'horse'.possessionof M by a dispositionis necessary of a property forthat disposition'scorrectness.Even fromamong the community ifwe have to selectthosewhichmay be consideredmeaning-determining. is general.what is to preventI7. they are the community's dispositions.The communitarresultsystematically those which ian's idea is that the correctdispositionsare constitutively community's disposiare the What. If we are to have any prospectof identifying expressions correctly. motive for definingM over communaldispositions. Boghossian mistaken. agree with the community's. of meaning. and sufficient we lack any Of course.118 on Sun.it will simply not do to identifytruth with ' dispositions.accordingto none of our predicateshave the extensionswe take communitarianism. however. It seems to me thatwe have no optionbut to rejecta pure communitariof our the extensions anism.000 people just like me from The point is impostor? being takenin by the same.176. rather.I submit. then. instead.are bound to be duplicated at the level of the systematically for The communitarian. but. theyarise because of the we make are systematic: thatmanyof themistakes disguises. however exactly specified.) But. then. topic approachesthe problemand to a discussionof whichI now propose to turn.5. of course. once we have abandoned communitarianism. firm that 'horse' means not horse convictionto the contrary notwithstanding. (This is presumably what makes 'magicians' possible. After cow on a dark night. He must insist. horseor cow. This content downloaded from 168. tions likelyto be? The community. then. community. have a generalizable and predictable effecton creatures with similar cognitive endowments. The upshot would appear to be that.536 Paul A. admittedly effective.thus failingthe firstrequirement adequate dispositionaltheory. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . we communalconsensus.cannotcall themmistakes. ifI can be takenin by a deceptively nights'horse'. nothing-at least nothingobvious-tells against definingAMdirectlyover an individual's the way the voluminousliterature on this Which is precisely dispositions.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. any of my dispositions that are in this sense mistaken. There are countless possible special and thereis nothing impostors undercountlesspossibleconditions. The problem.The problem is to come up with a theorythat delivers this and in purelydispositionalterms.Which is to say thatwe are still are to have a plausible theory was supposed to provide:the specification lackingwhatcommunitarianism M such that. but mean something is bound to issue in false verdictsabout the say that communitarianism on an meanings of most expressions.Which is to wildlydisjunctive themto have.

cit.thatno at specifying can hope to succeed. J.Part I. 51 K. we may equate what theymean by a given (mental) expressionwith.52 Here.this underestimates the complexity problems involved and failsto do justiceto the influence thatsuch proposals WhatKripkeneeds. Fodor: 'Psychosemantics'. What I wouldliketo do in theremainder is forthatconclusion. 5 This amounts to saying that such theoriescannot meet the extensional requirement. I987." But.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. accounts to succeed.the properties theyare disposed to apply the expression Different to. He briefly considers thesuggestion thatwe attempt to define idealized will revealthe futilitv of dispositions and says that'a littleexperimentation of the such an effort'. 'A Theory of Conteint'. 32.TheRule-Following Considerations 537 Optimaldispositions 23. incapable of mistaken judgements. The literature supplies what is. I shy awaayfromsaying whetherR. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . is a set of principled considerations of non-semantically.hence. Mlillikan. holds that optimal conditionsare the conditions under which the meaning of the expressionwas firstacquired. MIT Press. hence. and Fodor. cit. surely.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. and OtherBiological Categories. forexample. 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. Fred Dretske.MS. that this theoryis subject to the same difficulties 50 For theories of this form see: David Papineau. Cambridge. loc. Psjychosemantics. against teleological theoriessee my Essays on Meaning and Belief. I984. Oxford. 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.176.. however. for one or another reason. and. I987. proposalsprovidedifferent characterizations of the conditionsthatare supposed to be optimalin thissense.. p.but does not reallyprovide.Basil Blackwell.5. to beginto sketch an argument Severalspecific problems of an optimality forspecific versions have receiveddiscussionin the theory an argument with a more literature. in Meaning in Mind: EssaYs on the Wfork forthcoming Fodor.50 Now. This content downloaded from 168. presentsa Language. loc. forthcoming. I argue of/jerry as confrontstandard optimalityversions. Part II. Kripkeis very short withsuchpossibleelaborations ofa dispositional theory.118 on Sun.In 'Naturalizing Content'.underoptimalconditions. MIT. non-intentionally againstthe existence specifiable optiof thissection mality conditions.so I shall not even consider whetherthey meet the intensionalone. Oxford. 52 Against Dretske see Fodor. Thought theoryof this form. Reality and Representation.ifhisrejection ofdispositional is currently exert. See his 'A Theory of Content'. . in effect. Basil Blackwell.

ditions. 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.5. 25.whenconditions conditions mustreallybe mustbe satisfied: (i) the specified conditions itwillbe false that thepossibility oferror-otherwise.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. thethought to his mistaking cows. This content downloaded from 168.Now. stiff constraints imposedby a were not requiredto meet the rather and in non-semantic specification reductive dispositionalism-namely. relation) (object. looking cowson darknights. suchas to preclude 'horse'willgetappliedonlyto whatit means. Clearly. say.to beginwith.Consider outwith to laytheproblem 24. are conditions to. whenhe applies'horse'to and thaton thoseoccasions Neil meanshorse.intuitively. Neil and a particular expression. objective non-intentional terms.'horse'. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . without theconditions must be specified purely thetheory willhaveasor intentional materials-otherwise.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.118 on Sun. to call onlyhorses'horse'. Let it be clear. a cow fora horse.(ii) underthoseconditions theuse of naturalistically. a priori willbe suchas to yield setofconditions 0. to figure expresses. thoseconditions. evenif 0 equations we oughtnot to expectoptimality property. Neil to be disposed Neil to meanhorse by'horse'is for facts: for meaning two are optimal. 'horse' under in turn that.But that it of the property willget tokened (in the beliefmode) onlyin respect means: look at the out what any expression So.when toapply theexpression Neil is disposed properties of The end result is a dispositional reconstruction in thissenseoptimal. implies there is one. anysemantic a reconstruction of.538 Paul A. It willbe worthwhile repertoire. S and concept (8) For anysubject be sucha setof conditions? Could there Notice. it was supposed to provide sumedthevery properties to satisfy bothofthese to argueis thatit is impossible WhatI propose conditions simultaneously.176. which specifiable of the form: equations optimality R: O-(S judgesRx-+Rx). and objective contents Optimaldispositions non-intentionally is aftera non-semantically. The dispositionalist true.thatwhereR is the conceptof an objective forR.54 in the identification mistakes ofhimonlyif in front that there is a horse he wouldbelieve then. thevery idea ofa wholly For.

The basic difficulty belief which fix belief. p. I countenancewholly objective. belief that that is just what magpies look like. by virtue of being committedto the existence of optimality equations for every concept.but it is typicalto think agree.as a resultof seeing a currawong. a magpie. holism and belief Optimaldispositions of the processes derivesfromthe holisticcharacter 26. ed. or because of his further are magpies. It is thus committedto obliterating betweenaccessible and inaccessiblecontents.under0.thata dispositional meaning.55 is witha class of contentsforwhichtheredoes exista range The contrast authoritasubjectsare necessarily such that. inaccessible contentsin the first to arguing against the dispositional theoryon neutral turn. Thought an property. under normal circumstances. And this dependence is. I25. It nota constitutive distinction.I986. The point is that. Error and theObjectivity 'Cartesian TylerBurge. 5 Clarendon Press. given person's abilitiesand judgementsto truthsabout that property. this objection will not impress anyone reluctant to place.or because beliefthatthe onlybirdsin the immediate vicinity the Pope says goes and his beliefthatthe Pope of his beliefthatwhatever in Subject.subjectiveor objective. forexample.118 on Sun. is committedthereby to treatingevery the concept as if it were accessible. terms. however. therefore.We shallhave by thejudgements aboutour pains.5. Neil may come because of his to believe Lo. robust: just about any stimuluscan cause just about any belief. Pettit. in non-semantic.Thus. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .thereis no necessaryfunction forsuch a property.it is impossibleto satisfy of a set of condidispositionalism'sbasic requirement:the specification subjects are immune from error about judgements involving that concept. of objective oftheconcept formulation similar one. fixationis typicallymediated by backgroundtheory-what contents a thinker is preparedto judge will depend upon what othercontentshe is arbitrarily prepared to judge. See.56 versus inaccessible a distinction betweenaccessible of theory We are now in a positionto see. thefactthata content from does notfollow from thefactthatwe are authoritative to conclude aboutit. ofPerception'. fora Oxford.thatpainsare constituted claimsofthissortlateron in thepaper. (I takeit no one is tempted judgements we makeaboutthem. McDowell and P. and non-intentional tions0.176.appropriate of circumstances Philosophersdistive about those contentsunder those circumstances. of fallwhere.539 Considerations TheRule-Following of any givenperson'sabilitiesor judgements: whosenatureis independent froma in otherwords. and Context.about whatcontents about pain about shape as whollyobjectiveand of judgements judgements class. J. Let us call this exampleofthecontrasting as representing an extreme contents. distinction Of course.ofcourse. again typically. thatthisis an epistemological 56 It is important to appreciate by ourbest constituted thatit is therefore is accessible. occasion to discussconstitutive This content downloaded from 168.given a suitablymediatingset of backgroundassumptions. such that. ground:forany concept.

And so on. what the content justifies scepticism? Not.540 Paul A.corresponding to the potentially indefinite number of background thetransition. optimality non-intentionin which allyspecified situation itis guaranteed that noneofthispotential infinity of background clusters of beliefis present. think. meaning? OF This content downloaded from 168. theorist without use of semantic or in whicha thinker intentional a situation will be disposedto materials. in Mackie'sphrase. willinvolve. therelooks to be a potential infinity of such clusters of belief. a situation characterized ofall thebeliefs specifying which bytheabsence fromnon-magpies could potentially mediatethe transition to magpie beliefs. a non-semantically. in question. far more conclusion. of course. Boghossian saysthatthispresented is a magpie. If these are correct. of magpies. simply couldnotbe any content properties. sceptic doesnotmerely drawan anti-reductionist he concludes.176. that there radically. there wouldappearto be plenty of reasonto doubt the reducibility of content properties to naturalistic But Kripke's properties. a magpie beliefs arefixed that a thinker willbe disposed holistically implies to think Lo.if we had thatwe would alreadyhave a reductive theory of meaning-wewouldnotneeda dispositional theory! Which is to saythat. The thought currawong can gettriggered in anyofan that is a magpie something bya currawong indefinite number of ways.it cannot taketheform ofa dispositional theory. But.Since. therefore. one of two further things is needed. optimality at a minimum. an background Specifying condition for'magpie'. But how is such a situation to be specified? Whatis neededis precisely whata dispositional wassupposed toprovide: theory a setofnaturalistic namely. showing somehow inherently 'queer'. ofan indefinite number provided onlythatthe appropriate beliefs are present. property thatit is.118 on Sun.5. a magpie in respect ofnon-magpies. Suppose we grantthe anti-reductionism. VI ANTI-REDUCTIONIST CONCEPTIONS MEANING An argument fromqueerness? considerations 27. beliefs whichcouldmediate Now. But theobservation that onlyin respect Lo. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ifthere is to be anysortofreductive story aboutmeaning at all. necessary and sufficient conditions forbeinga beliefwitha certain content. a frontal assaulton theirreducible Or. the anti-reductionism by At a minimum itself. how does all this bear on the prospects fora dispositional of theory A dispositional has to specify. mediating background non-intentionally specified situation is a non-semantically.Eitheran totheeffect independent that argument only naturalistic properties arereal. however. of course. failing that.

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. This content downloaded from 168.. contained in ourfinite minds.at present. it leavesthenature wayWittgenstein mayevenacceptit. passage containsa couple of considerations The first chargeis thatwe would have no idea how to explainour ability " 58 K.and his brief attemptat a and unconvincing: 'queerness' argumentis half-hearted addition by 'plus' is a by arguing thatmeaning Perhaps we maytryto recoup. Perhapsit is simply a thanwe havearguedbefore.is that there is no interesting mentalcontent.without otherwisedescribed. nortobe assimilated in an appropriate and ifit is taken Such a movemayin a sensebe irrefutable. It Such a statewouldhaveto be a finite object. 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. stateevenmoresui generis orheadaches orany'qualitative' tosensations primitive state. todispositions. nottobe assimilated ofa uniquekind ofitsown. buta state states.rather. in myexplicitly table. pp. ofcertainty whenever it are awareofit with somefair degree yetwe supposedly mean thathe does. thealleged'qualitative' state showsthat we havesaid hitherto.118 on Sun.one stateper expression.5.. thatintrospection butalso thatit is logically ofunderstanding is a chimera. occurs.at some appropriate level Accordingto anti-reductionism.Considerations 54I TheRule-Following is thathe The singlegreatest weaknessin Kripke's scepticalargument fails to bring offeitherrequirement. 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. See thepaperscitedundern.For howelse can each ofus be confident in is the logical difficulty implicit additionby 'plus'? Even more important as I think notmerely that argues. Wittgenstein Wittgenstein's sceptical argument. impossible (or at least forthere to be a stateof 'meaning thatthere logicaldifficulty) is a considerable addition by "plus"' at all. mental content propertiesmust simply be taken for granted. properties. it the appropriate anti-reductionist suggestion.But it seemsdesperate: stateof 'meaning addition by of thispostulated state the primitive primitive It is notsupposed to be an introspectible state... with properties prospectof identification for this suggestion?The Does Kripke manage to create a difficulty thatmay be so construed. 51-2.I take it thatit misconstrues reallyis not plausible that there are 'primitivestates' of meaningpublic The process in certainways. In the firstplace.He does not even tryto defend a reductionist principle about the intentional. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .176. propertiesto physical/functional reduction of mental content in otherwords. 3 above. "plus"'-completely mysterious.

Butthis he does notprovide. mental with We knowthat states contents arestates with general infinitary normative it is precisely characters. 60 See.'Individualism of Philosophy. But. and Self-Knowledge'. Now. January 61 It is interesting to note. contains information nevertheless aboutthecorrect applicabilityof a sign in literally no end of distinct situations. incidentally. introspectible. withthatobservation thattheentire ifhe is topulloff discussion began. He merely that Kripke. an argument from is somesubstantive distinct from queerness. None of this should be understood as suggesting that an antireductionism aboutcontent is unproblematic. We see theduck-rabbit nowas a duck. hisanti-reductionargument. and serious. no one who has contemplated theproblem of selfcan failto be impressed knowledge But I think that byitsdifficulty. we required on theorder ofa something proofthatno satisfactory epistemology was ultimately to be had. the antireductionist suggestion emerges as a stable responseto the sceptical one that is untouched conclusion. why notcountenance we should suchstates. thequalitative character ofthe visualexperience remains thesameevenas theaspectchanges. Tyler Burge.542 Paul A.because theremay be non-introspective accountsof self-knowledge. of all things. is nevertheless nota change for qualitative.62 But in the contextof Kripke's dialectic. no suchproof. _7ournal November I988. although manifestly insomething introspectible. nowwith And we knowimmediately another.118 on Sun. realizedin a finite that mind.60And second. Davidson. again. There are.59 we wouldbe forgiven we allowedthisto driveus to a dubiously if. thatit is not to theanti-reductionist second is that Kripke's itis objection suggestion utterly mysterious how therecould be a finite state. byWittgenstein himself. WhatKripke needs.'Knowing One's Own Mind'.176. This content downloaded from 168.6' I987. seemingly by all the considerations in the latter's favour. adduced 5 For discussion of someof thedifficulties see my'Content and Self-Knowledge'. forit is farfrom it. Philosophical Topics. difficulties an antireconciling reductionism aboutcontent properties with a satisfying conception oftheir causal efficacy. SpringI989. familiar. Proceedings oftheAPA. muchdiscussed ofseeing-as. if we endorsed a non-reductionist conception of their content. And thisis problematic fortworeasons. that one ofthemorestriking examples oftheintrospective discernment of a non-qualitative mentalfeature is providedby. adducing anyindependent reasonwhywe should. 62 See below. howwe are seeingthese precisely objects as. istconsiderations. however. whenwe see them nowin one way. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .becauseit does notobviously follow from the fact thata mental statelacksan individuative phenomenology. an experiential I havein mind phenomenon. Boghossian to knowour thoughts.nowas a rabbit. First. provides notes thenonof contentful phenomenal character statesprecludesan introspective accountof their epistemology. forexample. and D.5.this to insisting amounts thatwe findthe idea of a contentful merely state without problematic. forexample. thephenomenon. But thischange of'aspect'.before coherent irrealism aboutcontent. we see theNecker cube nowwithone face forward. nowin theother.

. of the possibility correctunderstanding of in virtue question: answers to the constitutive reductive substantive possessmeaning? whatdo expressions that: has written McDowell.543 Considerations TheRule-Following McDowell on privacyand community of meaning.63 to McDowell'sWittgenstein. warnsus not to tryto dig below'bedrock'. a Rule'.in this vision. on Following 'Wittgenstein 65 Ibid. about no substantive results from which a position aboutmeaning. By Wittgenstein's notions(like 'following for normative whichwe no longerhave application according to therule').. him. in communal ofagreement responses a certain measure claimthat steinian to be motivated? But howis sucha thesis formeaning.. offacts aboutbehavior of the of meaning.118 on Sun.On the forthe possibility the conditions moralof therule-following he claimsthatit is the discernible contrary. incorrect) him to a McDowell does not takethis to commit Oddly. Wittgenstein a web liesdownthere: as itwere. 348.p. considerations ofa private thepossibility thusprecluding ofa communal practice.. context He writes: language. 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. 349. a senseofwhat. not thought have certainly attractive suggestion an anti-reductionist lessonsforthe important in thoseconsiderations theyhave discerned while rejecting of meaning. in But it is difficult.One is likelyto be struckby the sheer contingency of on which. does that conception a non-reductionist 28.176. This content downloaded from 168.forexample. according thetemptation. of course. contingencies ofthenotion applicability . If we endorse disturbnothingin our considerations mean that the rule-following A number whohavefound ofwriters conception ofthatnotion? ordinary so.the possibility between individuals resemblances seemsto depend meaning And: the below 'bedrock'would undermine disorderliness It is truethata certain bear So theunderlying ofrule-following. p.65 to thenotion ofrule-following relation an intimate of thefamiliar WittgenMcDowell'scharacterization This is. thatcorrectness. to avoidacquiring reading without describable usingthenotion and 'inner' episodes. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . John we can dig downto a levelat to think it is a mistake lights. is a precondition to theconstitutive answers of substantive How.. cit. quietism of meaning can be gleaned.. can existonlyin the and hencemeaning. in lightof therejection 63 64 Ibid.however.5. p. 34I. loc.

most centrally. actual and without any prospect of reconstruction truthsabout communal use. including. CrispinWright a to Kripke'sScepticmayseemto provide flat-footed [t]hissomewhat response I .rejectsthe suggestion in termsof communaldispositions.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. 67 'Wittgenstein's of Theoretical consideration and theCentral LinguisRule-Following Project tics'. part. McDowell'sproblems his rejection of difficulty confronting a would-beinterpreter of Wittgenstein is how to reconcile ofmeaning.544 Paul A.how.correctness. own.The main Wittgenstein's butbya meeting ofminds'.5. and on thecontrary. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . thefamily-resemblance concepts.' though. 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. is it to be argued for? The claim that communal practice is on the concept claim. in But McDowell. 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.. cit. accessible [that] is conceived as boundtogether.shortof a substantive account.176. Consider the contrastwith the communitarian answerto a substantive question. 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. merereflection necessary formeaningis a surprising constitutive ofmeaningdoes notrevealit.could conceivablygroundit? view consideredabove. Ioc.66 of meaning judgement-dependence Wright on the that: conception about theanti-reductionist has written 29. with in conformity is said to consist a communalpractice:since correctness and with it meaning. if contentproperties 66 Thoughsee hisremarks which I do notunderstandon a 'linguistic community I am afraid inmere tojustanyone).offers That viewengagestheconstitutive of forthe necessity argument thereby.beneathwhichwe mustnot dig. But this constitutive questions.unreduced and to be allowed to take the idea of correctness in terms of. Boghossian question. 237.I think. . And what. can be correct. notbya match externals (facts hereecho. goodexample is acute. thatcorrectapplicationmightbe analysed myview. In fact. and generates. This content downloaded from 168.and is one of think therealproblem Argument posed by theSceptical is notthat ofanswering the fundamental Buttheproblem concerns. Wittgenstein's answer given howand whythecorrect The problem is thatofseeing Argument. he normsare accountofcorrectness: rejectstheverydemandfora substantive partof the 'bedrock'.are possible only where one's fellows. But ifwe are simply forgranted. rightly thereare otherswithwhom one may conform. . as I have alreadynoted. of 'loss of problems. say.Indeed.118 on Sun. p. a straightforward it.

1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5.. withrespect ments-judgements truth. Pressingthe epistemohowever. cognitively . facts?or is it. presumably. of sentencesascribingcontentto mentalstates. the target of the ruleis not the realityof contentfacts. is between facts which are constitutedindependentlyof our judgements.68 whenwe operate to the We may explain the contrast Wrighthas in mind here by recurring idea of an accessible content(see above). determine the truth-value which confer statesof affairs constituted theydo not trackindependently truthor falsity upon them. that facts about content are 'judgement-dependent'. there bycontrast. This content downloaded from 168. is a standardconstituted Truth. a question may be raised about the correct optimalcircumstances. use this question to embarrasshis anti-reductionist projectin mind.truth.545 Considerations TheRule-Following either in experientialor granted.howeveroptimal. 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. under those optimal circumstances. beingbest.has a more constructive logical question will reveal. which pass the test. and circumstance-and ofbothjudger idealconditions matter.. rather. explanationfor this authority:is it that. without prospect of reconstruction to terms. An accessible contentis one about which subjects are necessarily authoritativeunder cognitively Now. so he claims.And the claim is that facts about content have to be construed on the latter model. 246.that judgementsunder constituted independently the facts in question? A fact is those circumstancessimply constitute if the latter. 68 Ibid.but.176. which what we judgeto be true is constitutively for suchjudgements. concerning of anyconsiderations independently true and is no distance between being ments failthetest. Pace Kripke.Wrightreconstructs extensively and inferential concepagainstboth introspective ing set of considerations exhaustingthe epistemologies tions of self-knowledge.. for judgements For judgecognitive pedigree.p. Kripke attempted dispositional opponent. rather. Drawing available on the alternative the epistemologies attacking an intereston Wittgenstein's actual text. if the former. judgement-independent Best judgements constitutively thing) conception of their constitution.and factswhich are constiideal tutedprecisely by the judgementswe would formunder cognitively circumstances. Wright.can theybe known?As we saw. thus. undercognitively idealconditions. subjects are exceptionallywell-equipped to track the relevant. judgement-dependent judgement-independent The contrast. conceptionof contentby Wrightarguesforthis'judgement-dependent' model.a considerations following if you thinkthesecome to the same (or Platonist.118 on Sun.then.

Is it reallytruethatWittgenstein's accomplishment' theoriesof self-knowledge? Supposing it does.or. So. as trackedby our self-regarding judgements. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and so a firstand foremost..formedunder the relevantC-conditions. But not just any biconditionalof this form will serve to secure the accessibility of colour.69 This seems right.thatKripke's unstablecontentirrealism is to be avoided at all costs. terms. Boghossian available to his opponent. biconditionalof the following form: if C: S would judge x to be blue+-+x is blue. is precludedfrompresupposing facts about the colours of objects.avoidinga 'whatever-it-takes' ofcolour the accessibility Now. it will remain entirelyopen whethersubjects' judgements.iffactsabout colourare to judgement-dependent? We would need.unless restrictions are placed on the permissible specificationsof C. aresatisfied in a case is logically ofanytruths thedetails particular independent concerning ofthe extension of colourconcepts. 69 Ibid.118 on Sun. is that thequestion whether theC-conditions.pp.Wrightoffers the case of colour. what does this amount to? For illustrative purposes.For unless the specification of the C-conditions. indeed. This content downloaded from 168. The suggestion and thatthisis to be accomplished content as genuineobjectsof cognition. so substantially specified. just let C be: conditions under which S is infallibleabout colour. to secure the accessibility of colour facts. it must be further requiredthat C be specifiedin substantial formulation. Well. every propertywill turn out to be accessible. Here I have adequatelyaddressedwithinthe confines to settle for raising a question about whethera judgement-dependent conceptionof content could everbe the cogentmoral of any argument.5.546 Paul A. 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. For example. whatit would taketo groundnotmerely What is needed.On the assumption. and difficult Wright'sdiscussion raises a number of interesting quesall 'cognitive discussiondestroys tions. by regardingthem as constituted by truthsconcerningour best judgements about mental content. of the presentessay. mental is thatwe must not construefactsconcerning 30. So long as facts about our mental states are construedas independent of. 247-8. hence. of anything else on the left-hand-side.and. we can have no satisfactory explanation of our abilityto know them. as Wrightpoints facts.but their judgement-dependence? out.What would have to be true.So goes Wright'sargument.thatleaves the judgement-dependent conception as the only contender.176. then.

given what judgement-dependence in the case of mentalcontentshould amountsto.176. For it is inconceivable. For. implausibly.For it cannotin by our judgements generalbe truethatfactsabout contentare constituted about content: facts about content. are in orderas well. The rathermore promising(and more popular) proposal. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .A should have been clear from difficulty In a way. and prospects robust realism Conclusion: -problems designatethe view thatjudgementsabout meaning realism 3I. The proposal that Reductionist about meaning concern communal dispositionsis unsatisjudgements not merelybecause.5. otherrequirements seeinghow factsabout mental alreadyclearthatthereis a seriousdifficulty on judgementthe statedrequirements contentcould conceivablysatisfy dependence.thatjudgementsabout meaningconcerna rather 70 For a veryilluminating thatwould have to be met. I trust.in connection with facts about colour or sound. mentsabout meaningare non-factual-appears not even to be a coherent variant.. that the biconditionals be freeof any assumpthat theirleft-hand-sides the requirement satisfy tions about mental content.) versionsof realism appear to be false. of the conditions discussion pp.an intuitive a conception of a given fact is. by Paul option. the contentof the said to fixthe factsabout mental contenthave to be presupjudgements will alwayspresuppose posed.though less clearly appropriate. (An error-theoretic Churchland. by definition.as promoted. 246-54. Let robust Then the moral of and judgement-independent. This content downloaded from 168. 'judgement-dependent' by our conception of that fact according to which it is constituted The idea is clearlyappropriatein connectionwithfactsabout judgements. to robustrealism this paper-if it has one-is thatthe major alternatives are beset by veryserious difficulties.for example.it precludes the possibilityof factory themeaning but because it appears bound to misconstrue communalerror. and. at a minimum. impossibleas a conceptionof factsabout mentalcontent. fixedconstitution dently is preciselytruthsabout best judgementthatfixthose facts. For satisfaction reallydid determine would always presuppose some antecedescribed on the left-hand-side theclaim thatit thusundermining of colourfacts. it would appear. judgements. the start. And thatmeans thatany such biconditional of constitution by best of mentalcontentquite independent a constitution judgement.irreducible. the chic or the fashionable. that judgeIrrealism-the view.seems no better.118 on Sun. of every expression in the language. advocated by Kripke's Wittgenstein.see ibid.familiar. are factual.547 Considerations TheRule-Following of the conditions factsabout colour. No doubt.70 But it is. constitutedindependentlyof the are presupposedby the model itself.

118 on Sun. as I undermeaning. to an inferential to have a substantial epistemology that worse conception-aconception maybe. norreducible. theorizing programs an anti-reductionism aboutmeaning how are we to reconcile properties witha satisfying oftheir causalor explanatory conception efficacy? And. is bestunderstood as a thesis reductionism aboutmeaning aboutmental notaboutlinguistic So anti-reductionism.7' But I do notsee that theantiembarrassment If anything. our (first-person) ofthem? finally: howare we to explain knowledge I cannot. that considerations itis hard. Boghossian also appearsto confront serious certainsort of idealizeddisposition. with Butiftheconsiderations thealternatives thissentiment.Robustrealism harbours some the solutions to whichappearnot to be trivial. As forthe chargethattherewould be nothing leftfora theory of it seemsto me simply to be. to livewiththatfact. as I have stressed. meaning Let me heremention that survive therejection justa fewofthequestions of reductionist For one thing.It wouldappearto follow of self-knowledge. seemsto me. This content downloaded from 168. canvassed against andifitis true the'rule-following' leavean arecorrect.548 Paul A. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ofcourse. as I haveargued elsewhere. reductionist conception of contenthas a specialproblemabout selfno onehasa satisfactory knowledge. it.is notonlyconsistent butpositively a theory about with. standit. alsotoagree anti-reductionist conception untouched. unanswered questions. ifreductionism is eschewed. invites. it reductionist needfeel aboutthis. bybestjudgement ofmeaning. meaning. " See my'Content and Self-Knowledge'. hopeto address anyofthesequestions adequately here. loc. ofmeaning a judgement-dependent seemsnotto And. ultimately.72 The anti-reductionist laboursunderno comparable burden. As far as I amconcerned.finally. First:whatsortof roomis leftfor There are threemain difficulties. ifreductionist areeschewed? Second: aboutmeaning. in a difficulties: it is hardto see howtheidealizations are to be specified non-question-begging way. I cannotsee that an antiTo begin with the last questionfirst. that thereductionist is committed. conception ideaofconstitution because thevery be a stable option.176.5. cit. ifhe is ally.Meaning tobe neither with properties appear eliminable. explanation ofourability to know ourownthoughts. 72 Againsee myibid. thanimplausible. a nonprogrammes. theprospects A reductionist would have it thatmeanings are fixedby certain kindsof that thesort offact couldhardly be known observationdispositional fact. it is timethatwe learned Perhaps I do notpretend thatthiswillbe easy. false. 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. anyspecial are better forhimthanforhis opponent.A fewbrief remarks willhaveto suffice.

if stein's.'MakingMind Matter andJerry This content downloaded from 168. Press.74 University of Michigan Ann Arbor.73 But propositionalattitudesrationalize partlyby virtueof theircontent-it is partlybecause Neil's beliefis that attitude thereis winein his glass. Reasons and Causes'.And. of the compositional structure theories There is hardlyany fear. we foregoreductionist programmes thereis thequestionofmentalcausation:how are we to Finally. Lewis. conceptionof content. Journal ofPhilosphy. Loewer. 'MindMatters'.and withthe claim thatthe graspingof certainmental contentsdepends on the graspingof others. papers Topics.anti-reductionism otherpeople.and so with of mentalcontent. finally.reductionist the speech and employin interpreting successfully principles we evidently is about mentalcontent an anti-reductionism mindsof others. and Events. that propositionalattitudeexplanations are not causal explanations. USA ofPhilosophy Department PAUL A. if in the theoryof mentalcontent. eness of physics? foran anti-reductionist This is.It may be thatit will eventually work But the subject is relativelyunexplored.5. whetheror not the view was Wittgenfew adherentstoday. MI.Philosophical Fodor. and much interesting remainsto be done. Grandy. now. Davidson. recent seeE. witha satisfying about contentproperties reconcilean anti-reductionism It is a view long associated with conception of their causal efficacy? Wittgenstein himself. How do public language play in that symbolscome to acquire meaningand whatrole does thought withwanting in mysenseis consistent process?Secondly. in his Essayson Actions 73 See 'Actions. BOGHOSSIAN 48109 Oxford Oxford.then.But. nor is best understoodin theoryof radical interpretation of the Its propergoal is the articulation aspirations. More'. But. attitudes-that propositional as opposed to a wish or a desire. the single greatestdifficulty proveits undoing. how is an causal role in the explanationof intentional to accord thema genuinecausal about contentproperties anti-reductionist to the essentialincompletrole withoutcommitting implausibly. of whatmakesa givenmentalstatea belief. it has justifiably are to rationalizebehaviourat all. termsof.118 on Sun. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . SpringI989.of course. himself. that he reaches forit. I believe.thatwe shall run out of thingsto do.i980. then attitudeexplanations propositional they must do so by causing it.though. The by whichwe interpret a generalaccountof the principles important work of Quine. so. propositional have a genuine commitus to holdingthatcontentproperties explanations action. As Davidson showed.549 Considerations TheRule-Following the relation between thought and language.and otherson the neitherneeds. University 7' For some I987. LePoreandB. consistentboth with substantivetheoriesof the nature of the perfectly is.176.