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




October I989


Press I989 OxfordUniversity

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5o8 Paul A. Boghossian

of their to the wider ultimate and of their relation arguments, cogency, in contemporary ofmeaning ofmindand language. discussion philosophy on thethread to a Pulling thatis Kripke's argument leadsquitenaturally ofmany ofthemostsignificant discussion issuesoccupying philosophers in thatlies themainimpetus behind thepresent today; essay. I proceedas follows. In partsI and II, I lay out the essentials of In subsequent I offer of Kripke'sargument. an extended parts, critique it presents, thedialectic on its own terms and independently considered of exegetical A discussion of the critical concerns. literature will be inas appropriate. The moral willnotbe recognizably woven Wittgensteinofmeaning ian:I shallargue theconception that, pace Kripke's intent, that is a realist, and judgement-independent conemerges non-reductionist, one which, sustains no obvious ception, moreover, animus against private language.







The sceptical problem As Kripke seesit,theburden oftherule-following is that considerations it cannot be trueofanysymbol thatit expresses someparticular literally This is the now-famous conceptor meaning. conclusion' he 'sceptical attributes to Wittgenstein:

function by '+'...

is no fact about methat distinguishes between mymeaning a definite [T]here
and mymeaning at all.4 nothing

to be supported? How is sucha radical thesis in effect, Kripke argues, by elimination: all the available factspotentially relevantto fixing the in a given ofa symbol meaning speaker's abouthowthe repertoire-facts hasactually usedtheexpression, facts speaker abouthowhe is disposed to use it,and facts abouthis qualitative mental and history are canvassed, foundwanting. on whatit is foran expression to Adequatereflection wouldbetray, so Kripke us to believe, possessa meaning invites that that couldnotbe constituted fact by anyof those. The claimis, of course,indisputable in connection withfactsabout actualuse and qualitative it is a familiar and well-assimilated phenomena; lessonof, precisely, Wittgenstein's thatneither Investigations, of those in isolation offact or in combination, species it could,either what capture is for a symbolto possess a meaning.Much more important and of a dispositional is Kripke'srejection controversial, however, of account
K., p. 2I.

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509 Considerations TheRule-Following meaningfacts.Why are factsabout how a speakeris disposed to use an its meaning? to determine expressionheld to be insufficient First,the idea of meaning Kripke develops two sortsof consideration. character if I meanplus by a wordis an idea withan infinitary something about how I oughtto apply no end oftruths by ' + ', thenthereare literally the term,namely to just the membersof this set of triplesand not to if I am to use it in accord withits meaning.This is not merelyan others, example; it holds forany concept. If I mean of the arithmetical artefact horseby 'horse', then there are literallyno end of truthsabout how it would be correctforme to apply the term to horseson Alpha Centauri, and so on, but not to cows or cats wherever to horsesin ImperialArmenia, theymay be if I am to use it in accord with its meaning.But, Kripke is finite, being the dispositionsof a of my dispositions argues,the totality time. And so, factsabout dispositions finite being that exists fora finite cannotcapturewhat it is forme to mean additionby '+'. stemsfromthe so-called theory The second objectionto a dispositional harderto state,but a of meaning.This objectionis somewhat 'normativity' will do fornow. The pointis that,if I mean something roughformulation of truths thatare generatedas thenthe potentialinfinity by an expression, to applythe about how I ought truths: theyare truths a resultare normative about ifI am to apply it in accord withits meaning,not truths expression, by an expression,it appears, how I-will apply it. My meaningsomething it guaranteesonly that does not guaranteethat I will apply it correctly; therewill be a factof the matterabout whethermy use of it is correct. may be convertedinto a conditionof adequacy on Now, this observation theoriesof meaning: any proposed candidate for being the propertyin virtueof whichan expressionhas meaningmust be such as to groundthe of meaning it ought to be possible to read offfromany normativity use of ofa word,whatis thecorrect property allegedmeaning-constituting Kripke maintains,that a disposithat word. And this is a requirement, to use a speaker'sdisposition cannotpass: one cannotread off tionaltheory for use of thatexpression, in a certainway whatis the correct an expression to be disposed to use an expressionin a certainway implies at most that one will, not that one should. The contentsof thought mental and othercontent-bearing intentions, 3. But whatabout thoughts, is More specifically: in the scepticalargument? states?How do theyfigure solelyto the scepticalthesisdirectedagainstthemas well, or is it confined representation? linguistic could be confined It is hardto see how a convincing meaningscepticism purely to the linguistic domain, given the intimate relation between thought and language. Philosophers divide, of course, on the precise

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

e. intended it wouldjust be a different thatoriginally content from a different concept.that is. There is just no analogue The idea of mental contentcannot be threatenedby Kripke.8 What kind of linguisticmistakeis envisagedhere?. correctinterpretation thatthe scepticalchallengehas been met withrespectto Kripke suggests. Cit. Fortunately contestablepremissabout thoughtis involved. I meant response.176. languageof thought this properlyonly afterwe have examined McGinn's claim that. McGinn writes: in has no clearcontent issueforKripke.. stylescepticalargument The normativity of meaning 4. .5. This content downloaded from 168. pp.. but is it not problematic? The strategy seems to depend on the assumption that thought contents are the identifiablebearers properties.it is nothingso rich as a But we will be in a positionto appreciate hypothesis.althougha forthe scepticalstrategy. the expressions of use. againsta dispositional theargument episodes. 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.And althoughtheremay expressions thisview.7 mypresent and determines justifies in thepast. .does Kripke reallywish to restthe be much to recommend scepticalconclusionon so contestablea premiss? we will see below that.that thatI performed that And his responseto it seems clear (p.118 on Sun. i6ff).p.I5-I6.still.5II Considerations TheRule-Following time. thecrucial The issueofnormativeness. that with thehypothesis as ona slate. of thought: whatdoes it meanto ask whether my to the language application of a of thought (i. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . (if history Not by factsabout theiractual or counterfactual fixed? accountof meaningis to be believed). The troubleis thatit seemsclear. 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). of propertiesof syntactically belongingto a 'language of thought'. 8 Op.It is incompatible onmymind It is engraved additions listofparticular notthefinite quus. I47. a linguistic granted againstthought. at someearlier gavemyself I explicitly I maysuppose. But how was theirmeaning thatfigurein thosethoughts.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. This setofdirections. It is thissetofdirections. McGinn 7 K.But this is equivalentto assuming.

cannotmake sense of usingthem intentions or incorrectly in the sense definedby McGinn..it is also irrelevant: whatwe need to make sense of is not a concept witha different fromthatoriginally employing content intended.'incorrect'if.it is an idea that is equally problematic.5.118 on Sun. It oughtto be clear. As it happens. then. forinstance.accordingto McGinn. 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.In what does the normativity McGinn offers the following characterization: The notion ofnormativeness is a transtemporal Kripke wants captured notion .. if it then expressesthe same meaningas it did earlier.The claim calls for a ofthenormativity somewhat moresearching articulation thesisthanwe have of meaningconsist? attempted so far. Boghossian argues. This content downloaded from 168. the lateruse of the expressionis 'correct'..it expresses a different meaning.know what theylook like. correctly If McGinn's understanding ofnormativity werethe correct one. different matter. hence. thatthe 'normativity' requirement definedby McGinn has nothingmuch to do withthe concept of meaningper se and is not the requirement that Kripke is operatingwith.9 So.5I2 Paul A. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . but employingan expression in the languageof thought with a different contentfromthatoriginally whichis a rather intended. I74. So we cannot have semantic in respectof themand. however.because theprincipal requirement by whichputative reconstructions of thatnotionare to be dispatched-the normativity requirement-has no cogent application to the language of thought.But although that is certainly true. 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.You cannotintendthatsome expressionhave a certainmeaning unless you are able to referto that of its semanticproperties. We mayappreciatethispointby observing thattherequirement defined 9 Ibid. 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.p.176. expressionindependently But we have no such independentaccess to the expressionsof our language of thought. normativity ofnormativity..we do not.it to see how it could operateat thelevel of thought would indeed be difficult (thoughnot quite forthe reasonshe gives). without intendingto introducea change of meaning by explicit stipulation.however. It is in such facts as this that the of meaningis said to consist.

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

And not dispositional factsaboutthetokening conditions of of mentalese sincemeaningful sions.judgement. Butitshouldbe quiteclearthat nothing argument on theassumption depends ofstructure: eveniftherepresentation wereto no internal possess syntax. event. thought are the semantic of syntactically and semantically properties structured in thesceptical bearers.strictly speaking contestable. becausecorrectness cannot be reconstructed dispositionally.we arealso nowin a position ofthought needed. thatnothing Indeed. And so we see thatthe sceptical argument must.and sinceit willease exposition. and (b) thatthe representation whosetokening possessesa combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure. arenaturally understood as theproperties ofthestates or events thatinstantiate thosemodes. what its correctness conditions are and in virtueof what theyare determined. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . for.118 on Sun. Withthisclarification to settlethe question:can Kripkedevelopthe same sortof a position ofthought as he develops meaning-sceptical argument against a language Andtheanswer is: clearly. andno natural way to bring thenormativity requirement to bearagainst it. Boghossian it aims to promote. natural and plausible. of such actual Not factsabout the pain of viciousregress. thatthesceptical argument's strategy does presuppose thatcontent properties havesome sortof bearer (evenifnot a structured there necessarily one). I shallhenceforth l Since nothing write as ifa ofthought language hypothesis weretrue. anyway) include mental content within thescopeofthescepticism willhangon it. Therehas to be or particular. contents do not figure in a mental life exceptas subtended by a particular mode belief. to see.otherwise.as promised. It wouldappear. and does (in intent. to get tokened undercertain circumstances on a disposition constitutes. wish and. willbe no natural way to formulate ofthought a dispositional theory content. this commitment it is also very is. fixes the against public language? yes. according hypothesis. I suppose.can. it neednotmatter which whose something-a state.in proper Kripkean fashion.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. This content downloaded from 168.5. nothing fixes their meaning.5 I4 Paul A. So. tokening or factsabout associatedqualitative expressions episodes. For. content. we couldstillask.however.For:what on of Not other of in meaning expressions thelanguage thought? thoughts.desire. In other of thought contents to a language words. After all. expressions possess thesamesenseas publiclanguage correct use in precisely expressions do.forfamiliar of such expresreasons. ofa certain itspossession Andalthough dispositional theory.hence.'' in placewe arefinally ofthenormativity thesis in 6.176.

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

409-I0. Boghossian part-epistemological scepticism about meaning.pp. of course.But hereagain. pp.5I6 Paul A. concept I shallarguethat. cit. he adduces intention whatever Kripkemayhavehad. exploring oftheconcept offollowing But. butacceptable to it are to answers to an epistemic be subject constraint.precisely. cit. 16 Withone relatively minor to be notedbelow. at length.and the offollowing a rule. ofcorrectness conditions that 5 The problem maybe. has complained that a convincing Kripke's sceptic doesnotultimately bent-rule supply of reinterpretation his interlocutor's words.exploring the possibility is tantamount to thepossibility ofrule-following. the perception thatthisaffects the force of thesceptical problem aboutmeaning is a result oftaking thedialogic tooseriously. howI shallpresent them. itcannot be true of particular.pp. oughtnot to be any residualtemptation to thinkthatepistemological a critical In anycase.I think. as reasoning they maybe represented as follows. Bakerand P.at leaston theordinary a understanding itcannot be true ofall expressions-in rule. and hence that 'the rulefollowing considerations' is. It wouldnotbe inappropriate towonder at this what all this hasto point do withthe topicof rule-following? is the connection Where. strictly a misnomer forthediscusspeaking.118 on Sun. 772-5. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1984.14But. I do notwishtoargue aboutthis It doesseemtomethat. forthcoming.. G.16 That. 15 See op. Hacker. on theone hand. considerations areplaying roleinKripke's argument. sionon offer.on theother.anyway. maywellbe right aboutthis. Neil Tennant Synthese.op. theconsiderations on behalf ofthesceptical to epistemoloconclusion appeartoowenothing gicalconstraints and can be stated their without is help. between theconcepts ofmeaning and content. is essentially constitutive in character.at leastin one'sowncase.known non-inferentially. Many writers seemto assumethatthe connection is straightforward.. Expressions cometohave correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of of correctness them. it and yetbelieve to havean epistemological dimension. Kripkeis not interested of correctness he is interested in thepossibility conditions. the answeris 'nowhere'. mentalexpressions-that theycome to have correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of them. exception This content downloaded from 168. According to Crispin Wright. The 'rule-following' considerations? 8. once we havecorrected for thedistortions induced there bythedialogic setting.176.See his 'Against Kripkean Tennant Scepticism'. 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. for in the merepossibility example. The pointis thatthe a rule-as opposed to that of merely ordinary conceptof following 14 For example.'On Misunderstanding Wittgenstein: Kripke'sPrivate LanguageArgument'.one mayagreethat theproblem is constitutive in character. 140-50. McGinn.hence. forged? in an important sense.5.

Strikes Back'. withtruth conditions of correctness its identification mentwiththispassageconcerns or justification conditions proof one speciesof a correctness condition. 281-2. This content downloaded from 168. lie contentful mentalstates. 'The Individual Blackburn. help explainit. thetime castling at thatpoint. ed. verywell: is harmless. the productionof a termfrommere noise. CrispinWrighthas decribedthis intuitive veryclearly: involve typically to think.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. (and the that configuration ofwhether and on a knowledge ofthemove. itis natural applying a ruletoa newcasewill. pp. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Since it makesessential not one thatcan. in fullgenerality.17 courseof thegame)permits previous a rule is the conceptof conceptof following the ordinary As such. I intend no particular theoretical implications bytalking ofa term.Kripke turnsto askinghow this property 1 and the CentralProjectof Considerations Rule-Following 'Wittgenstein's CrispinWright: I989.talkof 'rule-following' correctness.it cannotbe truethatmentalexpressions rules in respectof them. A. and to andincorrect application there is sucha thing as thecorrect that I there is truth andfalsity. as a resultof anyonefollowing What Kripke's discussion is concerned with is the possibility of so long as we keep thatclearlyin mind.however.Correctly at of chessmen of theconfiguration willdependbothon apprehension instance.118 on Sun.5.Simon Blackburnhas capturedthis perspective The topic is ofrules here. and turns is the factthatdistinguishes utteranceinto assertion into the makingof judgment.Whateverthis is. Theoretical II My onlydisagreeI984.176. castling willfit orfailtofit therule. situation and to know presented for in thecourse ofa gameofchess. Basil Blackwell. 18 Simon conditions. are simply Truthconditions instances. further supply conditions p. of therebeingcorrectness shall talkindifferently and of theirobeyingprinciplesof application. it rule-governed.Synthese. 255. on Chomsky. Correctly of the features relevant both to apprehend a double success:it is necessary features.'8 THE SCEPTICAL SOLUTION A non-factualist of meaning conception that no word could have the 9. George. Having established to his satisfaction of expressing a certainmeaning. it is a conceptthatpresupposes sequently.conan act among whose causal antecendents theidea ofa correctness condition. ofcorrect application. On pain ofregress.Oxford. in Reflections Linguistics'. ofthose apprehended in thelight what. than tosaythat is no more there is sucha thing saythat of wordsbeing and incorrectness. whichin turnmakesessential attitude. playwiththe idea of a propositional in thissense presupposesthat rule-following play withthe idea of content. have conditions mental expressions themselves acquire meaning then.

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

in effect..5. 88. fromthe observationthat. Since.at least in his 'official' are madeand ofmeaning attributions We haveto see underwhatcircumstances exhortawhatroletheseattributions Wittgenstein's playin ourlives.176. could be said to mean anything. the something like. use of a termand the community's.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. evenifhe inclines under . language The argument againstsolitary io. however.and can only be accommodatedif we widen our gaze and take and betweenour imaginedrule-follower intoconsideration the interaction Were we to do so. . And so a solitary language is impossible.thiswould appear to notionsof errorand be the onlyway to give substanceto the correlative no one considered wholly in isolation fromother speakers correctness..we could a linguisticcommunity. heshould have alonecan say at his mindor behavior can he be wrong? No one else by looking ifhe does notaccordwithhis ownintention'.. natureof the whollydescriptive explicationsof the view: scepticalsolution. Kripke is veryclear about the limited.is essentialto our ordinary The possibility concept of meaning. This content downloaded from 168.118 on Sun. betweena given speaker'spropensities the agreement. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .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. Let us turn now to an assessmentof the various central aspects of Kripke's argument.Following 21 K. introduceassertibility conditionsforjudgementsabout errorin termsof in the or lack of it.21 virtue ofwhich of error.however... Thereareno circumstances what circumstances said'5'.5 Considerations TheRule-Following 9 sentence The proposed account is. p.'He is wrong are no facts abouthimin argument was thatthere wholepointof theskeptical he accords withhis intentions or not. III ARGUMENT LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT OF THE SOLITARY AGAINST and solitary accounts Constitutive language i i. Under tosay'125'. The argument against 'solitary language' emerges.thisis as far [I]fwe confine ourselves to looking which we can saythat. orvice-versa . . Kripke continues. according to Kripke.

we mightbe able to reasona prioriabout whattheir conditions.176. It is important to see that the counselled modesty-we will not reason a prioriabout the role such statements ought to play-is compulsory. potentially. Boghossian tionnot to think but to look. Putting to one side. 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.we ought to be puzzled about how the scepticalsolutionis goingto delivera conclusionagainstsolitary language of the requisite modal force: namely.118 on Sun. pp. if we accept the sceptical conclusion. assertion conditions oughtto be and. the mostthatwould licensesayingis thatourlanguageis not solitary.It would appear to followfromthis. we cannot introducesubstantive 22 K.The Wittgensteinian exhortation 'not to thinkbut to look' is not merely(as it may be) good advice.on pain of falling preyto the accepted scepticalconsiderations. (That is whythe solutionon has to be sceptical:it has alreadybeen conceded thatnothingcould offer cogentlyamount to the fact that a meaning sentencereports). If this is correct. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .It is important realizethatwe are not looking and sufficient fornecessary conditions (truth for following a rule. the modestyit counsels is enforcedby the factthat truthconditionsforthese sentences has been jettisoned.however. The conditionsmay not be understoodto providethe content(or assertibility truthconditions)of the meaning-attributing sentences.For even ifit weretruethatour actualassertibility conditions for sentencesadvertto the dispositions meaning-attributing of a community.. rather ought we will findout whatcircumstances actually license suchassertions and what rolethislicense actually to plays. in the absence of a conceptionof the truth conditions ofmeaningattributing sentences.520 Paul A. to revise the forassertion conditions actuallyacceptedforthem. Indeedsuchconditions wouldconstitute to the a 'straight' solution skeptical and havebeenrejected. or an analysisof what such rule-following conditions) 'consists in'.5. And thiswould be a lot less thanthe resultwe were promised:namely. hence.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 will not reasona priori about the role such statements to play. let us ask whether it is in facttruethat. This content downloaded from 168. 86-7.For how.22 problem.however. Communal assertibility conditions? thisworry I 2. thatany possible language has to be communal. that there could not be such a language.

.op. cit.and in McGinn. p.23 Consider the following: to assertof Jones thathe means additionby '+'.. givethisdescription he must Necessarily practise. This cannot 'quus-like' at all. ance attaching may be safelyignoredforthe purposeof raisingthe following refinements of criticalquestion:what in the scepticalconclusionrules out attributions against form(A)? It had betterrule themout. (A) It is warranted provided he has responded with the sum in reply to most queries posed thus far. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . bothin Goldfarb..But how. which in McGinn.. thereappears to be nothingin the scepticalconclusionthatwill rule it out. is canvassed This sortofrejoinder 25 K. arithmetical (A) is.the greaterimportbe made forthe importance But all these to simple cases.521 Considerations TheRule-Following thatdo not advertto the conditionsformeaning-attributions assertibility that of a community of speakers?It appears. in another form oflifemight a participant case ofanysuchuse ofourlanguage. forthescepticalsolutionis not meantto be a straight the problem about meaning.quite rough:roomhas to of our practice. cit.176.26 runs as folaccount of meaning-attributions Kripke's communitarian lows: Jones's to meanaddition by 'plus' onlyifhe judgesthat SmithwilljudgeJones togive. Could it perphapsbe arguedthat(A) is permissible of fact.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.is (A) to be ruledout. Ibid.. dispositions not only can we introducesuch conditions.pp. as Kripke himselfrepeatedly emphasizes..But as Goldfarbpointsout.if the argument for(A) advertsto no one otherthanthe languageis to be sustained. As a matter conditions Kripke outlines? thecommunalassertibility just the opposite seems true. As a description of systematic deviations. as Kripke himselfsays.and theargument mathematical language preserved? againstsolitary though parasiticon I3. of course.118 on Sun. in a non-standard in the description terms (such as 'agreement') applyvarious unless solution toWittgenstein's be an objection way..on the contrary. the sceptical argumentdoes not threatenthe existence of facts.then.op cit. thispointis derived. he is inclined with those toparticular addition agree answers problems 23 24 26 op. from This is argued This content downloaded from 168...5.24 It can hardlybe objected that of the of 'sum' is being presupposedin the statement the interpretation solutionto condition. 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.but have actuallydone so. I85-7. of course. and manyothersuch factors. I46. solitary individual.

exposesthefactthatKripke's communitarian on thesolitary conditions are parasitic and nottheother conditions. at a minimum.. I willjudgethat means addition According then. IRREALIST CONCEPTIONS IV OF MEANING I4. ofthecommunitaris ianconditions strongly on theacceptability ofthesolitary parasitic ones.5. provided he has responded withthesumin reply to mostarithmetical queries posedthusfar. In sum:bothbecauseitis difficult togenerate (impossible?) constitutive results outofnon-constitutive accounts.118 on Sun. Andthiswouldappearto showthat. thepresent will deviation justify Smith that hehaslapsed.176.thisseemsacceptable enough.522 Paul A. p. Kripke's communitarian account to read: mustbe modified to assert ofJones (B) It is warranted thathe meansaddition by '+'. way round. and nottheother wayaround. in other that theacceptability words. I have beena reliablecomputer underconditions where of sums. But thismodification wouldseemimmediately toreveal that thereference to 'my own responses' is idle. The sceptical conclusion hasitthat itcannot literally be true of 2 K. It wouldbe absurd for me. thatis calledfor. Jones by 'plus' only ifJones uses'plus'enough in thesamewayI am inclined times to use it. I conclude that thesceptical solution does notyielda convincing argument against solitary language.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. however. 9I. and becauseouractualassertibilityconditions formeaning ascriptions appearnotto be communitarian. injudging the past. The argument against wassupposed solitary language toflow from the of sentence adjustedunderstanding significance forced by the sceptical conclusion. and thatthe basic assertion I condition acceptis just(A): It is warranted to assertof Jonesthathe meansadditionby '+'. This content downloaded from 168.27 to thisaccount. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . will that hedoesnot mean addition EvenifJones judge didmean itin by'plus'. Boghossian IfJones inagreement with consistently fails togive responses Smith Smith's. It wouldappear. and manyimportant refinements One of therefinements aside. As a roughdescription of our practice. providedhe agreeswithmy responses to arithmetical queries.

Philosophical Review.thatis.Considerations 523 TheRule-Following any symbolthatit expressesa particular meaning:thereis no appropriate factfora meaning-attributing sentenceto report. Journal Materialism AprilI990.5.28 be understoodto consist Could not the moralof the scepticalargument in an errorconceptionof meaning discourse?It could not.as opposed to an error theory.the most conservative of being a witchis not to adopt a non-factualist nothinghas the property an error conceptionof witchtalk. to begin with. conception see his 'Eliminative has beenadvocated ofmeaning by Paul Churchland.176. and defended This content downloaded from 168.in two possiblerespects.118 on Sun. and second. however. other ways of accommodatingthe sceptical conclusion? at leastat The solutionon offer is bound to strike one as an overreaction.First. declarative sentencesto possess truthconditions. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .An error conception of a given region of discourse conserves the region's semantical appearances predicates are still understood to express properties. (i) implies.in contrast regions.a sentencecannotbe false unless it is meaningful thisin turnimpliesthat(i) cannotbe true:forwhat (i) says is thatsome sentences are false. forthcoming in my'The Statusof Content'.ratherthanrestricted region of discourse meaning talk that is directly affectedby the scepticalresultit seeks to accommodate. We should think of it. rather. ofmoraldiscourse.I977.The view in question would consistin the claim thatall meaning-attributions are false: (i) For any S: FS means thatpl is false.Ethics:Inventing London. 29 An error conception is elaborated ofPhilosophy. I98I . of nonfirst blush. in that the solelyto the recommended non-factualism is global. This argument and thePropositional Attitudes'.in thatit opts fora form factualism. of the truth But the disquotationalproperties predicateguaranteethat(i) entails (2) For any S: [Si has no meaning. or a capacity to state facts.atomic) sentences. for an error with errorconceptionsof other conceptionof such discourse.The scepticalsolution's recommendation is that we blunt the forceof this result by refusingto thinkof sentencesignificance in termsof possession of truthconditions. reactionto the news that Semantically speaking.29 sentences namelymeaning-attributing 28 See JohnMackie. But is this solution forced? Are there not. perhaps.is of doubtfulcoherence.in terms of possession of assertibility conditions. forsuch a Rightand Wrong.Since.it is to offer conceptionof such talk.the ontological discoveryis taken to exhibit merely-the systematic falsityof the region's (positive. thatno sentencewhatever possesses a meaning. Penguin.

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

CrispinWrighthas suggestedthatit also problematic: rendersit irremediably views couldbe applied that projectivist tosuppose itis coherent that itis doubtful between fact-stating be drawn thedistinction For.Dover. and not the concept of some genuineproperty some 'real relation' thata sentence(or thought)may enjoy. concept be deflationary is cannot the thesis framed non-factualist follows: as described Ayersuccinctly as a 'real quality'or a 'real relation'is due. J. as Ayer claims in this passage. For on a of truth.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. loc.. of theprojectivism would have consists.To be sure. In fact.a fortheformer failto qualify statements thatcertain wayof a discovery to is notitself instance.118 on Sun.but not because of its global character. 32 In 'The Status 3" Ibid. ittocomeby want willpresumably theprojectivist discourse. like most of truth conception . andnon-fact-stating class..it is condition.But whatis wrongwiththat?If thereis an instability one. 89. then non-factualismis nowhere a coherent option. to do with the clash between what you have to suppose about truthin and whatyou have to thesisabout anything..I952. I have developed the argumentfor this in some detail elsewhere. 33~ A.32here I have space only to sketchits outlines. thesisabout. p.to a failureto analyze sentencescorrectly .. .a sentencewill be truth-conditional understanding deflationary of Content'. for argument. to say that p is true is simply a way of assertingp.New York. P. merelythe concept of a device for semantic ascent.525 Considerations TheRule-Following about any othersubject matter. the good: Consider a non-factualist (7) All sentencesof the form rx is goodl are not truth-conditional.33 thattheword'truth' has shown ouranalysis If the concept of truthwere. a non-factualist orderto frame suppose about truth as a result of accepting a non-factualismabout meaning.however. . This content downloaded from 168.I do believe thata non-factualism Rather.. Truthand Logi'c. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The traditional real .5. Language. not a transparent about meaningis i6.the reasonshave unstable. J.176.a global projectivism whatthe instability thatno sentencepossesses a truth to admitthatit is no morethanassertible here. [but] seemsto standforsomething in which theword'truth' sentences does notstandforanything. .. The pointthatneeds to be keptin focusis thatthesentenceof whichtruth sentence.For this declarative conditionsare being denied is a significant of which the in of truth terms that the concept factimmediately implies thatA. cit.however exactly quiteglobally. 770.Ayer. oftheskeptical oftheconclusion statement be projective. say. There are philosophicalmistakes..

presuppose that an error ornon-factualist directed conception at ourtalkofmeaning precisely itself endsup denying.possesstruth-conditions. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . instance. solution. 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.and it will be apt for semantic ascent provided onlythat it is a significant.526 Paul A. language-independent property. of sometargeted.And thisexposesthecontradiction we havebeenstalking: a nonfactualism aboutmeaning boththattruth is robust and thatit is implies not.It in thefact consists error that and non-factualist theories aboutany subject matter claims certain abouttruth andtruth-conditions. In particular. if truth is a robust property. there ofthematter couldfailtobe a fact aboutwhether an object hasP. It follows.robust. Irrealist of otnerdomainsmay not be particularly conceptions or plausible.as I shallhenceforth put it. So long as it is a genuine. It does not matter if P is subjective or otherwise dependent upon our responses. appealing Whyshouldmatters standdifferently withmeaning discourse? The source oftheasymmetry is actually notthat hardto track down. Boghossian provided onlythatit is apt forsemantic ascent. But. judgements aboutit willhaveto be factual.noticethatjudgements about an objectpossessesa robustproperty whether could hardly fail to be factual. but they are notincoherent. for meaning.now.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. in form. Not surprisingly theensuing result is unstable. I7 It is hard to do justice to theissuesinvolved within theconfines ofthe I do hope. willhaveto be possessed of robust truth-conditions.5. 34 Again.118 on Sun.however. of theclaimis boundto arousesuspiThe uncompromising strength cion. eligibility willnotbe certified purely bythefact that a sentence is declarative and significant. declarative that sentence. declarative failstc. loc. by Churchland. Otherwise. If P is somegenuinely robust thenit is hardto see how property. thata non-factualism about any subjectmatter presupposes a conception of truthricherthan the deflationary: it is to holding committed thatthe predicate 'true' standsforsome sortof language-independent forwhich property. theory. This content downloaded from 168.176. declarative sentence.fora moredetailed treatment see 'The Statusof Content'. So we haveitthat thesis truth that anynon-factualist presupposes is. therewill be no understanding its claim that a significant sentence. present essay. therefore. significant. then abouta sentence's judgements truth valuemust themselves be factual. cit. But it is constitutive ofa non-factualist thesis precisely thatit denies. itis truth-conditional.

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

in what my dispositions always be a serious indeterminacy are. Minneapolis.This has given rise to the impressionthat his discussion of dispositionalism does not covercausal theories. Ned Block.if it is indeed the property horse thatI am disposed to applythetermto.2. It is unfortunate the sceptical obscured in Kripke's discussion.37In my discussionI shall tend to concentrate. 'Logic. whatis to say thatmy dispositionis not a dispositionto or some such?But no one can apply the termto the property nearbvhorse. of MinnesotaPress. Midwest Studiesin Philosophy.'Towardsa Causal Theoryof Linguistic Representation'.Otherwise. This content downloaded from 168. Midwest Studies in Philosophy. I977.Because Kripke illustrates problem throughthe use of an arithmetical example. I977. thenI should be disposed to apply it to all horses. MIT Press. thus renderingdispositional propertiesan inappropriatereduction base for meaningproperties. 37For correlational theories see: F. Dispositions and meaning: finitude 19.in effect.includinghorsesso faraway and so farin the past thatit would be nonsense to suppose I could ever get into causal contactwith them. Field. vol.176.but theissues thatariseare generaland applyto anydispositional theorywhatever. 'Advertisement for a Semantics Journal Role'. Psychosemantics.ratherthan on causal/informational versions. Stampe.It would be hard to exaggeratethe importanceof such theories for contemporary philosophyof mind and semantics:as I have just indicated. D. For conceptual roletheories see: H. forPsychology'. Cambridge. The root formof an information-style dispositionaltheoryis this: I am disposed My mentalsymbol'horse' expresseswhateverproperty to apply it to.I98I. he tends. underrole versionsof a dispositionalaccount standably. Knowledge Cambridge. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .But the impression is misleading. the most influentialcontemporary theories of content-determination 'informational' theories and 'conceptual-role' theories are both forms of a for dispositionalaccount. on informational of thecontentofmental theories symbols. andtheFlowofInformation. vol.118 on Sun.I987. Minneapolis. For. Boghossian thatthis connectionis extensively discussed by Kripke.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.5.528 Paul A.to focus on conceptual of meaning. Meaning andConceptual ofPhilosophy. ofMinnesota University Press. to suggestingthat therewill Kripke's firstobjection amounts. the sake of concreteness. The singlemostimportant strandin the scepticalargument consistsin the considerations against dispositionaltheoriesof meaning. Kripke argues. Dretske. MIT Press.Io. Jerry University Fodor. I986.

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

of course. The set of permissible counterfactuals is constrained by criteria of whichwe currently lack a systematic account.because we cannot be completely confident thatthe idealized counterfactuals needed to support such ascriptionsare licit.of course. In particular.530 Paul A.as a matter of fact.it is not to say descriptive that.Kripke says.118 on Sun.we cannotbe completely confident that ascriptions of infinitary dispositions are acceptable. p. 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. The relation ofmeaning and intention to future actionis normative.is incontestable. factors disturbing may lead me notto be disposed to respond as I should. ifI intend butthat. not ifI meant descriptive. It is also truethatto say that a given expressionhas a given extensionis not to make any sort of simple remark about it.This is unsurprising given the difficulty and delicacyof the issues involved.and also obviously. But I thinkit is fairto say that the burden of proofherelies squarelyon Kripke's shoulders:it is up to him to show that the relevantidealizationswould be of the impermissible And this variety. finiteness ofmycapacity. truths about how I ought truths about how it would be correct forme to use it. And here matters are not so straightforward. The point is notthat. addition by + '. 37- This content downloaded from 168.5. butifso. I should mypastmeaning answer 'I25'.In whatsense is meaning a normative notion?Kripke writes: 20. whichis normative.we do not now knowwhichidealizationsthoseare. he has not done. notdescriptive. 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. This much. I havenotactedin accordance withmyintentions. toaccord with of' + '.that these observations by themselves ought to be enough to show thatno dispositional theory of meaning can work.4' The fact that I mean somethingby an expression.however.the expressionwillbe applied onlyto thosethings which are in its extension. 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. Obviously. implies to use thatexpression. Boghossian it weremuch biggerand faster-thenit would overtake it.176.Kripke seems to think. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In the absence of such an account.. I willanswer 'I25'. 41 K. Computational and other error. SupposeI do meanaddition ofthis by' + '.only certainidealizationsare permissible. But this is not the rightaccountof the relation. 'I 25'.

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

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

cit.44 they Indeed. cation of dispositionsthatmirror of factsabout meaningas groundsfor character But he citesthe normative But what preciselyhas been leftover. I do notthink It is justthat. specified. once the extensionshave been specifiedcorrectly? of themeaningof One might have a thought likethis.A properreduction correctly. 77I-2. Similar Strikes "4 'The Individual a on Following 10c.First.They for selection ofa function couldat mostgiveus standards rule.. any such theorymust specify.Synthese. it is conceivablethatthatwould amountto a nonthosemechanisms. because it never follows from the mere attribution use. envisaging Blackburnhere is explicitly the extensionsof expressionscorrectly. that thereare factsconcerningcorrect howeverselectively of an extension. and by JohnMcDowell. It is not clear thatthisis in generaltrue. it must show how possession of theory'sextensionalcorrectness.'Wittgenstein his 'Kripke'sAccount'. forcapturingthe normative There is clearly no way to settle the matter in advance of the considerationof particulardispositional proposals. unlike mustbe.176. somethingwe would be inherently in aremadebyWright concessions Back'. But the dispositional of any disposition. to a previous ofwhat it is to be faithful an account provide us with couldn't tothetask areinadequate dispositions Kripke.Perhaps theM-dispositionsare those dispositionsthat a person would have when his cognitivemechanisms are in a certainstate. p. 289-9I.is state conditionson an adequate dispositional theory.cit. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .pp.pp. it would also specify its extension an expression would notmerely is an extension namely. and perhaps it can be non-question-beggingly of certified thatthatstatecorrespondsto a stateof theproperfunctioning If so. This would ensure the Second..loc.withoutpresupposingany semantic or intentionalmaterials. There might theory condition.533 Considerations TheRule-Following they we succeedin identifying dispositions I shareKripke's viewthatwhatever which we mean. Rule'. 329. And thisis whata dispositional so that of expressions.thatit would suffice forceof an ascriptionof meaning.propertyM. as comparedwithhow he actuallyresponds. specifisubstantive the successful. hence. This content downloaded from 168.5. What we are in a positionto do. conditions.that apply the expression underwhicha speakeris disposed to thereare certainselectcircumstances apply the expressiononly to horses. circular specificationof how the person would ideally respond. covarywiththe extensions thatlogically dispositions in questionthe expressions' correctness one could read offthe dispositions factdoes not amountto the meaningfact. a correctness reveal that what it is specifying be cannotdo. forinstance. I984.and.118 on Sun.I think of providing standards.whereasto be told. thatdeservesto be called a an M-dispositioncould amountto something motivated to correctness condition.To be told whereasthis does followfromthe attribution that 'horse' means horseimplies that a speakerought to be motivatedto only to horses. denyinga dispositionalreduction. however.seems to carryno such implication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

there wouldappearto be plenty of reasonto doubt the reducibility of content properties to naturalistic But Kripke's properties. in question. sceptic doesnotmerely drawan anti-reductionist he concludes. optimality at a minimum. VI ANTI-REDUCTIONIST CONCEPTIONS MEANING An argument fromqueerness? considerations 27. property thatit is. ifthere is to be anysortofreductive story aboutmeaning at all. ofan indefinite number provided onlythatthe appropriate beliefs are present. necessary and sufficient conditions forbeinga beliefwitha certain content. The thought currawong can gettriggered in anyofan that is a magpie something bya currawong indefinite number of ways.Since. how does all this bear on the prospects fora dispositional of theory A dispositional has to specify. think. theorist without use of semantic or in whicha thinker intentional a situation will be disposedto materials. But.118 on Sun. however.540 Paul A. therefore. beliefs whichcouldmediate Now. a magpie in respect ofnon-magpies. But theobservation that onlyin respect Lo. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . of course. what the content justifies scepticism? Not.if we had thatwe would alreadyhave a reductive theory of meaning-wewouldnotneeda dispositional theory! Which is to saythat. of course.5. far more conclusion. a non-semantically. in Mackie'sphrase. meaning? OF This content downloaded from 168.176. therelooks to be a potential infinity of such clusters of belief. a magpie beliefs arefixed that a thinker willbe disposed holistically implies to think Lo. Boghossian saysthatthispresented is a magpie. that there radically. a frontal assaulton theirreducible Or. If these are correct. And so on. a situation characterized ofall thebeliefs specifying which bytheabsence fromnon-magpies could potentially mediatethe transition to magpie beliefs. the anti-reductionism by At a minimum itself. simply couldnotbe any content properties.it cannot taketheform ofa dispositional theory. But how is such a situation to be specified? Whatis neededis precisely whata dispositional wassupposed toprovide: theory a setofnaturalistic namely. of magpies. showing somehow inherently 'queer'. willinvolve. optimality non-intentionin which allyspecified situation itis guaranteed that noneofthispotential infinity of background clusters of beliefis present. mediating background non-intentionally specified situation is a non-semantically. an background Specifying condition for'magpie'.Eitheran totheeffect independent that argument only naturalistic properties arereal. failing that. Suppose we grantthe anti-reductionism.corresponding to the potentially indefinite number of background thetransition. one of two further things is needed.

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

None of this should be understood as suggesting that an antireductionism aboutcontent is unproblematic. mental with We knowthat states contents arestates with general infinitary normative it is precisely characters. difficulties an antireconciling reductionism aboutcontent properties with a satisfying conception oftheir causal efficacy.because theremay be non-introspective accountsof self-knowledge. introspectible.118 on Sun. and Self-Knowledge'.'Individualism of Philosophy. But thischange of'aspect'. realizedin a finite that mind. adducing anyindependent reasonwhywe should.6' I987. familiar. He merely that Kripke. nowwith And we knowimmediately another. thephenomenon. why notcountenance we should suchstates. forexample. Tyler Burge.'Knowing One's Own Mind'.this to insisting amounts thatwe findthe idea of a contentful merely state without problematic. we required on theorder ofa something proofthatno satisfactory epistemology was ultimately to be had. provides notes thenonof contentful phenomenal character statesprecludesan introspective accountof their epistemology. Butthis he does notprovide. seemingly by all the considerations in the latter's favour. nowin theother. contains information nevertheless aboutthecorrect applicabilityof a sign in literally no end of distinct situations. SpringI989.becauseit does notobviously follow from the fact thata mental statelacksan individuative phenomenology.60And second.before coherent irrealism aboutcontent. that one ofthemorestriking examples oftheintrospective discernment of a non-qualitative mentalfeature is providedby. an experiential I havein mind phenomenon. This content downloaded from 168.176. thatit is not to theanti-reductionist second is that Kripke's itis objection suggestion utterly mysterious how therecould be a finite state.5. adduced 5 For discussion of someof thedifficulties see my'Content and Self-Knowledge'. 60 See. the antireductionist suggestion emerges as a stable responseto the sceptical one that is untouched conclusion. no suchproof. istconsiderations.542 Paul A. forexample. however. we see theNecker cube nowwithone face forward. incidentally. and serious. withthatobservation thattheentire ifhe is topulloff discussion began. is nevertheless nota change for qualitative.59 we wouldbe forgiven we allowedthisto driveus to a dubiously if. And thisis problematic fortworeasons. byWittgenstein himself. although manifestly insomething introspectible. Boghossian to knowour thoughts. Philosophical Topics. hisanti-reductionargument. forit is farfrom it. Proceedings oftheAPA. again. WhatKripke needs. howwe are seeingthese precisely objects as. muchdiscussed ofseeing-as. Davidson. First. But. Now.62 But in the contextof Kripke's dialectic. _7ournal November I988. whenwe see them nowin one way. thequalitative character ofthe visualexperience remains thesameevenas theaspectchanges. We see theduck-rabbit nowas a duck. an argument from is somesubstantive distinct from queerness. and D. There are. of all things. no one who has contemplated theproblem of selfcan failto be impressed knowledge But I think that byitsdifficulty. January 61 It is interesting to note. if we endorsed a non-reductionist conception of their content. 62 See below. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .nowas a rabbit.

quietism of meaning can be gleaned. offacts aboutbehavior of the of meaning. him. 349.in this vision.176. warnsus not to tryto dig below'bedrock'.. in But it is difficult. 34I. does that conception a non-reductionist 28.118 on Sun.65 to thenotion ofrule-following relation an intimate of thefamiliar WittgenMcDowell'scharacterization This is. p..however. Wittgenstein a web liesdownthere: as itwere. incorrect) him to a McDowell does not takethis to commit Oddly. on Following 'Wittgenstein 65 Ibid. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . a senseofwhat. loc..543 Considerations TheRule-Following McDowell on privacyand community of meaning. according thetemptation. By Wittgenstein's notions(like 'following for normative whichwe no longerhave application according to therule').p. considerations ofa private thepossibility thusprecluding ofa communal practice. in lightof therejection 63 64 Ibid..5. can existonlyin the and hencemeaning. to avoidacquiring reading without describable usingthenotion and 'inner' episodes.On the forthe possibility the conditions moralof therule-following he claimsthatit is the discernible contrary.63 to McDowell'sWittgenstein. p. This content downloaded from 168. 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. of the possibility correctunderstanding of in virtue question: answers to the constitutive reductive substantive possessmeaning? whatdo expressions that: has written McDowell. is a precondition to theconstitutive answers of substantive How. in communal ofagreement responses a certain measure claimthat steinian to be motivated? But howis sucha thesis formeaning. John we can dig downto a levelat to think it is a mistake lights. a Rule'. of course. cit. contingencies ofthenotion applicability . 348. thatcorrectness.forexample. 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. context He writes: language..One is likelyto be struckby the sheer contingency of on which. not thought have certainly attractive suggestion an anti-reductionist lessonsforthe important in thoseconsiderations theyhave discerned while rejecting of meaning. about no substantive results from which a position aboutmeaning.

5. goodexample is acute.' though. can be correct. accessible [that] is conceived as boundtogether. own. p. he normsare accountofcorrectness: rejectstheverydemandfora substantive partof the 'bedrock'. if contentproperties 66 Thoughsee hisremarks which I do notunderstandon a 'linguistic community I am afraid inmere tojustanyone). and generates. cit. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . in But McDowell. thatcorrectapplicationmightbe analysed myview.The main Wittgenstein's butbya meeting ofminds'.544 Paul A. 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.I think.66 of meaning judgement-dependence Wright on the that: conception about theanti-reductionist has written 29. 237. notbya match externals (facts hereecho. In fact.correctness.beneathwhichwe mustnot dig. . 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. McDowell'sproblems his rejection of difficulty confronting a would-beinterpreter of Wittgenstein is how to reconcile ofmeaning.shortof a substantive account. and on thecontrary. as I have alreadynoted. Ioc. But this constitutive questions. with in conformity is said to consist a communalpractice:since correctness and with it meaning. Boghossian question. . actual and without any prospect of reconstruction truthsabout communal use. including.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. rightly thereare otherswithwhom one may conform. And what. 67 'Wittgenstein's of Theoretical consideration and theCentral LinguisRule-Following Project tics'. Consider the contrastwith the communitarian answerto a substantive question. thefamily-resemblance concepts. part. say.are possible only where one's fellows. 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. is it to be argued for? The claim that communal practice is on the concept claim.176. of 'loss of problems.how. CrispinWright a to Kripke'sScepticmayseemto provide flat-footed [t]hissomewhat response I .Indeed. This content downloaded from 168.118 on Sun.rejectsthe suggestion in termsof communaldispositions. most centrally.offers That viewengagestheconstitutive of forthe necessity argument thereby. merereflection necessary formeaningis a surprising constitutive ofmeaningdoes notrevealit..and is one of think therealproblem Argument posed by theSceptical is notthat ofanswering the fundamental Buttheproblem concerns. a straightforward it.could conceivablygroundit? view consideredabove. Wittgenstein's answer given howand whythecorrect The problem is thatofseeing Argument.unreduced and to be allowed to take the idea of correctness in terms of. But ifwe are simply forgranted.

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

hence.What would have to be true. of the presentessay.176. The suggestion and thatthisis to be accomplished content as genuineobjectsof cognition. terms. by regardingthem as constituted by truthsconcerningour best judgements about mental content. This content downloaded from 168.formedunder the relevantC-conditions.and. Here I have adequatelyaddressedwithinthe confines to settle for raising a question about whethera judgement-dependent conceptionof content could everbe the cogentmoral of any argument. of anything else on the left-hand-side.For unless the specification of the C-conditions. For example. So. Well. Boghossian available to his opponent.Wrightoffers the case of colour. as Wrightpoints facts. But not just any biconditionalof this form will serve to secure the accessibility of colour. so substantially specified.pp.118 on Sun.So goes Wright'sargument. whatit would taketo groundnotmerely What is needed. what does this amount to? For illustrative purposes. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5. 69 Ibid. it will remain entirelyopen whethersubjects' judgements. indeed.On the assumption. it must be further requiredthat C be specifiedin substantial formulation. is precludedfrompresupposing facts about the colours of objects.Is it reallytruethatWittgenstein's accomplishment' theoriesof self-knowledge? Supposing it does.unless restrictions are placed on the permissible specificationsof C.thatleaves the judgement-dependent conception as the only contender.and so a firstand foremost. and difficult Wright'sdiscussion raises a number of interesting quesall 'cognitive discussiondestroys tions. 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. 247-8. every propertywill turn out to be accessible. then. So long as facts about our mental states are construedas independent of.546 Paul A.thatKripke's unstablecontentirrealism is to be avoided at all costs. is that thequestion whether theC-conditions.avoidinga 'whatever-it-takes' ofcolour the accessibility Now. mental is thatwe must not construefactsconcerning 30.but their judgement-dependence? out. biconditionalof the following form: if C: S would judge x to be blue+-+x is blue. just let C be: conditions under which S is infallibleabout colour.69 This seems right.or.. we can have no satisfactory explanation of our abilityto know them. as trackedby our self-regarding judgements. aresatisfied in a case is logically ofanytruths thedetails particular independent concerning ofthe extension of colourconcepts.iffactsabout colourare to judgement-dependent? We would need. to secure the accessibility of colour facts.

implausibly. (An error-theoretic Churchland. And thatmeans thatany such biconditional of constitution by best of mentalcontentquite independent a constitution judgement. and prospects robust realism Conclusion: -problems designatethe view thatjudgementsabout meaning realism 3I. at a minimum. the chic or the fashionable. For it is inconceivable.an intuitive a conception of a given fact is. 246-54.547 Considerations TheRule-Following of the conditions factsabout colour.it precludes the possibilityof factory themeaning but because it appears bound to misconstrue communalerror.irreducible.) versionsof realism appear to be false.118 on Sun. advocated by Kripke's Wittgenstein.5. to robustrealism this paper-if it has one-is thatthe major alternatives are beset by veryserious difficulties. are factual. otherrequirements seeinghow factsabout mental alreadyclearthatthereis a seriousdifficulty on judgementthe statedrequirements contentcould conceivablysatisfy dependence. it would appear. mentsabout meaningare non-factual-appears not even to be a coherent variant. No doubt. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . constitutedindependentlyof the are presupposedby the model itself. by definition. This content downloaded from 168. of every expression in the language.for example. Let robust Then the moral of and judgement-independent. are in orderas well.as promoted.176. The rathermore promising(and more popular) proposal.seems no better. judgements.though less clearly appropriate.For it cannotin by our judgements generalbe truethatfactsabout contentare constituted about content: facts about content. For satisfaction reallydid determine would always presuppose some antecedescribed on the left-hand-side theclaim thatit thusundermining of colourfacts. I trust. The proposal that Reductionist about meaning concern communal dispositionsis unsatisjudgements not merelybecause. For. the start. by Paul option.familiar. fixedconstitution dently is preciselytruthsabout best judgementthatfixthose facts. the contentof the said to fixthe factsabout mental contenthave to be presupjudgements will alwayspresuppose posed. that the biconditionals be freeof any assumpthat theirleft-hand-sides the requirement satisfy tions about mental content. and. that judgeIrrealism-the view..see ibid.in connection with facts about colour or sound.given what judgement-dependence in the case of mentalcontentshould amountsto. 'judgement-dependent' by our conception of that fact according to which it is constituted The idea is clearlyappropriatein connectionwithfactsabout judgements.70 But it is. of the conditions discussion pp.thatjudgementsabout meaningconcerna rather 70 For a veryilluminating thatwould have to be met.A should have been clear from difficulty In a way. impossibleas a conceptionof factsabout mentalcontent.

in a difficulties: it is hardto see howtheidealizations are to be specified non-question-begging way. ifreductionist areeschewed? Second: aboutmeaning. standit.Robustrealism harbours some the solutions to whichappearnot to be trivial.finally. to an inferential to have a substantial epistemology that worse conception-aconception maybe. it. anyspecial are better forhimthanforhis opponent.72 The anti-reductionist laboursunderno comparable burden. as I haveargued elsewhere. I cannotsee that an antiTo begin with the last questionfirst. loc. unanswered questions.5. This content downloaded from 168. it is timethatwe learned Perhaps I do notpretend thatthiswillbe easy. theorizing programs an anti-reductionism aboutmeaning how are we to reconcile properties witha satisfying oftheir causalor explanatory conception efficacy? And. to livewiththatfact. a judgement-independent appearsto presuppose conception is too facile a It is sometimes said thatan anti-reductionist conception It is hardnotto sympathize response to theproblem aboutmeaning. a nonprogrammes. First:whatsortof roomis leftfor There are threemain difficulties. norreducible.is notonlyconsistent butpositively a theory about with. as I undermeaning. alsotoagree anti-reductionist conception untouched. ifreductionism is eschewed. As far as I amconcerned.548 Paul A. 72 Againsee myibid. conception ideaofconstitution because thevery be a stable option. it reductionist needfeel aboutthis.A fewbrief remarks willhaveto suffice.It wouldappearto follow of self-knowledge. ofcourse. that considerations itis hard. cit. our (first-person) ofthem? finally: howare we to explain knowledge I cannot. thanimplausible. hopeto address anyofthesequestions adequately here. bybestjudgement ofmeaning. meaning Let me heremention that survive therejection justa fewofthequestions of reductionist For one thing. ifhe is ally.118 on Sun. reductionist conception of contenthas a specialproblemabout selfno onehasa satisfactory knowledge.176.Meaning tobe neither with properties appear eliminable. invites. with Butiftheconsiderations thealternatives thissentiment. theprospects A reductionist would have it thatmeanings are fixedby certain kindsof that thesort offact couldhardly be known observationdispositional fact. As forthe chargethattherewould be nothing leftfora theory of it seemsto me simply to be. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . explanation ofourability to know ourownthoughts. is bestunderstood as a thesis reductionism aboutmeaning aboutmental notaboutlinguistic So anti-reductionism. ultimately. meaning. as I have stressed. " See my'Content and Self-Knowledge'. canvassed against andifitis true the'rule-following' leavean arecorrect. false.7' But I do notsee that theantiembarrassment If anything. seemsto me. ofmeaning a judgement-dependent seemsnotto And. Boghossian also appearsto confront serious certainsort of idealizeddisposition. that thereductionist is committed.

118 on Sun.It may be thatit will eventually work But the subject is relativelyunexplored. University 7' For some I987.then. SpringI989. propositional have a genuine commitus to holdingthatcontentproperties explanations action. attitudes-that propositional as opposed to a wish or a desire. Lewis.176. As Davidson showed.thatwe shall run out of thingsto do. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . MI.and so with of mentalcontent. BOGHOSSIAN 48109 Oxford Oxford. Reasons and Causes'.'MakingMind Matter andJerry This content downloaded from 168.74 University of Michigan Ann Arbor. of whatmakesa givenmentalstatea belief. and Events. More'. eness of physics? foran anti-reductionist This is. witha satisfying about contentproperties reconcilean anti-reductionism It is a view long associated with conception of their causal efficacy? Wittgenstein himself. nor is best understoodin theoryof radical interpretation of the Its propergoal is the articulation aspirations.of course. USA ofPhilosophy Department PAUL A. Journal ofPhilosphy.549 Considerations TheRule-Following the relation between thought and language. it has justifiably are to rationalizebehaviourat all. if in the theoryof mentalcontent.Philosophical Fodor. the single greatestdifficulty proveits undoing. we foregoreductionist programmes thereis thequestionofmentalcausation:how are we to Finally. I believe. The by whichwe interpret a generalaccountof the principles important work of Quine. and much interesting remainsto be done. LePoreandB. Grandy. if stein's.though. 'MindMatters'. recent seeE.and otherson the neitherneeds. of the compositional structure theories There is hardlyany fear. Press. How do public language play in that symbolscome to acquire meaningand whatrole does thought withwanting in mysenseis consistent process?Secondly. so. consistentboth with substantivetheoriesof the nature of the perfectly is. conceptionof content. Loewer.73 But propositionalattitudesrationalize partlyby virtueof theircontent-it is partlybecause Neil's beliefis that attitude thereis winein his glass. whetheror not the view was Wittgenfew adherentstoday.and withthe claim thatthe graspingof certainmental contentsdepends on the graspingof others. finally. papers Topics.reductionist the speech and employin interpreting successfully principles we evidently is about mentalcontent an anti-reductionism mindsof others.i980. in his Essayson Actions 73 See 'Actions. then attitudeexplanations propositional they must do so by causing it. how is an causal role in the explanationof intentional to accord thema genuinecausal about contentproperties anti-reductionist to the essentialincompletrole withoutcommitting implausibly. termsof. now.And. that he reaches forit.5. that propositionalattitudeexplanations are not causal explanations. Davidson.anti-reductionism otherpeople.But. But. himself.

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