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The Rule-Following Considerations Author(s): Paul A. Boghossian Source: Mind, New Series, Vol. 98, No. 392 (Oct., 1989), pp. 507-549 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2255039 . Accessed: 01/09/2013 20:48
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The Rule-Following Considerations'
PAUL A. BOGHOSSIAN This is thefifthof our commissioned State of the Art Series INTRODUCTION of interest in the i. Recentyearshave witnessed a greatresurgence of the later Wittgenstein, writings especiallywith those passagesroughly, Philosophical Investigations and Remarks on the ##I/38-242 Foundations ofMathematics, section VI-that areconcerned with thetopic ofrules.Much ofthecredit forall thisexcitement, unparalleled sincethe of Wittgenstein in the earlyI96os, mustgo to Saul heyday scholarship It is easyto explain Kripke'sWittgenstein onRulesandPrivate Language.2 why. To beginwith,the dialecticKripkeuncovered fromWittgenstein's is enormously on itsownterms. discussion exciting On Kripke's reading, on rule-following thepassages are concerned withsomeoftheweightiest of meaning, the reality, questionsin the theory questions-involving ofmeaning-that incontemandprivacy reducibility, occupy centre-stage as poraryphilosophy. Furthermore, Kripke represented Wittgenstein and extremely claimsconcerning defending a set of unified provocative fortheseclaimswithpowerand thesequestions. And,finally, he argued floodof articles and bookson the subjectof ruleThe ensuing clarity. and warranted. following was bothpredictable to survey thisliterature. The present paperis theresult ofan invitation on what It couldhavebeenaboutexegetical therecent discussions matters, have had to teachus about the historical Wittgenstein's philosophical witha it is almostentirely concerned views. In the event,however, of ofthephilosophical contributions. Limitations assessment retrospective thata choicebe made; and the philosophical assessment space dictated to do.3Despitea lotofdiscussion, there is seemed themore fruitful thing of Kripke's of the precisenature roomforan improved understanding
1 I am grateful including in thispaper, oftheissuescovered discussion peoplefor helpful to many Richard Allen, LarrySklar, Rorty, Barry Loewer, Fodor,Barry Burgess, Jerry John MarkJohnston, in various and participants SteveYablo, Nick White, Neil Tennant, Saul Kripke, Crispin Wright, Church, Jennifer aredue to Paul Benacerraf, Specialthanks at theUniversity ofMichigan. seminars and David Velleman. 'K'. 2 Cambridge, Harvard Press,I982. Henceforth, University interpretation of come to despairof a satisfactory 3 The main reasonis thatI have actually to appearin of Meaningin Wittgenstein', views.I tryto say whyin 'The Problem Wittgenstein's forthcoming. ed. K. Puhl,De Gruyter, Meaning Scepticism,
Mind, Vol. 98
Press I989 OxfordUniversity
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5o8 Paul A. Boghossian
of their to the wider ultimate and of their relation arguments, cogency, in contemporary ofmeaning ofmindand language. discussion philosophy on thethread to a Pulling thatis Kripke's argument leadsquitenaturally ofmany ofthemostsignificant discussion issuesoccupying philosophers in thatlies themainimpetus behind thepresent today; essay. I proceedas follows. In partsI and II, I lay out the essentials of In subsequent I offer of Kripke'sargument. an extended parts, critique it presents, thedialectic on its own terms and independently considered of exegetical A discussion of the critical concerns. literature will be inas appropriate. The moral willnotbe recognizably woven Wittgensteinofmeaning ian:I shallargue theconception that, pace Kripke's intent, that is a realist, and judgement-independent conemerges non-reductionist, one which, sustains no obvious ception, moreover, animus against private language.
The sceptical problem As Kripke seesit,theburden oftherule-following is that considerations it cannot be trueofanysymbol thatit expresses someparticular literally This is the now-famous conceptor meaning. conclusion' he 'sceptical attributes to Wittgenstein:
function by '+'...
is no fact about methat distinguishes between mymeaning a definite [T]here
and mymeaning at all.4 nothing
to be supported? How is sucha radical thesis in effect, Kripke argues, by elimination: all the available factspotentially relevantto fixing the in a given ofa symbol meaning speaker's abouthowthe repertoire-facts hasactually usedtheexpression, facts speaker abouthowhe is disposed to use it,and facts abouthis qualitative mental and history are canvassed, foundwanting. on whatit is foran expression to Adequatereflection wouldbetray, so Kripke us to believe, possessa meaning invites that that couldnotbe constituted fact by anyof those. The claimis, of course,indisputable in connection withfactsabout actualuse and qualitative it is a familiar and well-assimilated phenomena; lessonof, precisely, Wittgenstein's thatneither Investigations, of those in isolation offact or in combination, species it could,either what capture is for a symbolto possess a meaning.Much more important and of a dispositional is Kripke'srejection controversial, however, of account
K., p. 2I.
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509 Considerations TheRule-Following meaningfacts.Why are factsabout how a speakeris disposed to use an its meaning? to determine expressionheld to be insufficient First,the idea of meaning Kripke develops two sortsof consideration. character if I meanplus by a wordis an idea withan infinitary something about how I oughtto apply no end oftruths by ' + ', thenthereare literally the term,namely to just the membersof this set of triplesand not to if I am to use it in accord withits meaning.This is not merelyan others, example; it holds forany concept. If I mean of the arithmetical artefact horseby 'horse', then there are literallyno end of truthsabout how it would be correctforme to apply the term to horseson Alpha Centauri, and so on, but not to cows or cats wherever to horsesin ImperialArmenia, theymay be if I am to use it in accord with its meaning.But, Kripke is finite, being the dispositionsof a of my dispositions argues,the totality time. And so, factsabout dispositions finite being that exists fora finite cannotcapturewhat it is forme to mean additionby '+'. stemsfromthe so-called theory The second objectionto a dispositional harderto state,but a of meaning.This objectionis somewhat 'normativity' will do fornow. The pointis that,if I mean something roughformulation of truths thatare generatedas thenthe potentialinfinity by an expression, to applythe about how I ought truths: theyare truths a resultare normative about ifI am to apply it in accord withits meaning,not truths expression, by an expression,it appears, how I-will apply it. My meaningsomething it guaranteesonly that does not guaranteethat I will apply it correctly; therewill be a factof the matterabout whethermy use of it is correct. may be convertedinto a conditionof adequacy on Now, this observation theoriesof meaning: any proposed candidate for being the propertyin virtueof whichan expressionhas meaningmust be such as to groundthe of meaning it ought to be possible to read offfromany normativity use of ofa word,whatis thecorrect property allegedmeaning-constituting Kripke maintains,that a disposithat word. And this is a requirement, to use a speaker'sdisposition cannotpass: one cannotread off tionaltheory for use of thatexpression, in a certainway whatis the correct an expression to be disposed to use an expressionin a certainway implies at most that one will, not that one should. The contentsof thought mental and othercontent-bearing intentions, 3. But whatabout thoughts, is More specifically: in the scepticalargument? states?How do theyfigure solelyto the scepticalthesisdirectedagainstthemas well, or is it confined representation? linguistic could be confined It is hardto see how a convincing meaningscepticism purely to the linguistic domain, given the intimate relation between thought and language. Philosophers divide, of course, on the precise
London. presentation up a reallacunain Kripke's My third point .118 on Sun. thatnothing non-mental fixeslinguistic meaning. I972.thatresultis automatic..then. be said.'Meaning'.6 I think to see why. contentand meaningmust stand or fall together.Urbana.however. that is most influential. It cannot concept oftheparadox howthis extension howthis needis tobe met. meaningis to have any prospectof If a scepticalthesisabout linguistic of mentalmeaning the possibility succeeding. .however.therewould appear to be no plausible way to promotea one On the former (Gricean) picture. is consideredand foundwanting: In theUnitedStates.it will be worthwhile In fact. answer.on a Sellarsianview. of IllinoisPress. I44-6. Grice. Oxford.it is the Griceanview. and brief reflection exercise is by no meanstrivial.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. P. Basil Blackwell.University dence'. he has to arguethatthe notionof possessing a determinate concepts. I963. I957. one cannot threatenlinguisticmeaning threatening thoughtcontent. Since the Gricean holds that fixedcontent itemsacquire theirmeaningfromthe antecedently linguistic to the effect thatnothingnon-mental fixes of mentalstates. S.Wittgenstein onMeaning.. Clarendon Meaning. This content downloaded from 168.5 IO Paul A. and related papers. I972.it must also threaten given (or content).Routledge and KeganPaul. Philosophical Review. properties byvirtue ofbeing usedwith certain intentions. ed. that Kripke explains showsthatthe to thelevelof concepts is to be carried out. in Britain whereas it appearsto be theSellarsian (Wittgensteinian?) viewthatthinking is a form of internalized speaking-speech inforointerno. pp.in Intentionality. in particular.. as Sellarslikesto putit-that tendsto predominate. Perception andReality. and on the latter (Sellarsian) picture. See also.in his Science. the suggestionthat some appropriatelygeneral thoughtor intention the soughtaftermeaning-determining factcomes up constitutes the dispositional accountof meaning before earlyin Kripke's presentation.176. For the Sellarsianview see his and thePhilosophy 'Empiricism ofMind'. Oxford. McGinn is wrongon both counts.an argument meaningwould leave the Griceanunmoved. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I984.he needs to be given linguistic of mentalcontent. beliefs. For theGricean viewsee H.But on a a demonstration Gricean view mattersare not so simple. points at thelevelof forKripketo applyhis paradox The pointis thatit is necessary thatis. is likewise devoidoffactual foundation. meaningscepticism. Boghossian Do on the question of priority: natureof this relationand. . For a debateon thepriority question see 'The Chisholm-Sellars CorresponMindand Language. Press. linguisticmeaningwithoutthreatening cannot threaten since it is fromthoughtthatlinguisticmeaningis held to derive. Either way. the semantic propertiesof language derive from the representational or is it the otherway round?5Whateverthe correct properties of thought. Marras. Schiffer.5. 6 ColinMcGinn.Of course. language-specific thoughtcontent.since it is fromlinguistic withoutthereby meaningthat thoughtcontentis held to derive. A.thatlinguistic expressions acquiretheir semantic and desires.
McGinn 7 K.p. againsta dispositional theargument episodes.I5-I6.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. but is it not problematic? The strategy seems to depend on the assumption that thought contents are the identifiablebearers properties. intended it wouldjust be a different thatoriginally content from a different concept.5II Considerations TheRule-Following time.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. at someearlier gavemyself I explicitly I maysuppose. Fortunately contestablepremissabout thoughtis involved. This content downloaded from 168. . languageof thought this properlyonly afterwe have examined McGinn's claim that.althougha forthe scepticalstrategy. 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). I meant response. . a linguistic granted againstthought. i6ff). stylescepticalargument The normativity of meaning 4.176.8 What kind of linguisticmistakeis envisagedhere?. There is just no analogue The idea of mental contentcannot be threatenedby Kripke.still. that with thehypothesis as ona slate.e. thecrucial The issueofnormativeness. The troubleis thatit seemsclear. But how was theirmeaning thatfigurein thosethoughts. Hence on associated experiential and not by factsconcerning the assumptionthat no other sort of fact is relevantto the fixationof meaning by nothing.it is nothingso rich as a But we will be in a positionto appreciate hypothesis. of propertiesof syntactically belongingto a 'language of thought'. Cit. even it is stillimpossibleto runa Kripkemodel ofthinking. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 8 Op.that is.118 on Sun. This setofdirections.And althoughtheremay expressions thisview.7 mypresent and determines justifies in thepast. the expressions of use..But this is equivalentto assuming. I47. correctinterpretation thatthe scepticalchallengehas been met withrespectto Kripke suggests.It is incompatible onmymind It is engraved additions listofparticular notthefinite quus. pp. It is thissetofdirections. McGinn writes: in has no clearcontent issueforKripke. of thought: whatdoes it meanto ask whether my to the language application of a of thought (i. (if history Not by factsabout theiractual or counterfactual fixed? accountof meaningis to be believed).5..
This content downloaded from 168. 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. if it then expressesthe same meaningas it did earlier. 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. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .. the lateruse of the expressionis 'correct'. expressionindependently But we have no such independentaccess to the expressionsof our language of thought.cannotmake sense of usingthem intentions or incorrectly in the sense definedby McGinn. It oughtto be clear. So we cannot have semantic in respectof themand. however. thatthe 'normativity' requirement definedby McGinn has nothingmuch to do withthe concept of meaningper se and is not the requirement that Kripke is operatingwith.it is an idea that is equally problematic.because theprincipal requirement by whichputative reconstructions of thatnotionare to be dispatched-the normativity requirement-has no cogent application to the language of thought.. without intendingto introducea change of meaning by explicit stipulation.In what does the normativity McGinn offers the following characterization: The notion ofnormativeness is a transtemporal Kripke wants captured notion .9 So.it to see how it could operateat thelevel of thought would indeed be difficult (thoughnot quite forthe reasonshe gives). hence.176. normativity ofnormativity. correctly If McGinn's understanding ofnormativity werethe correct one.p.5. 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.know what theylook like.it expresses a different meaning. I74.118 on Sun..we do not. forinstance.accordingto McGinn.however.The claim calls for a ofthenormativity somewhat moresearching articulation thesisthanwe have of meaningconsist? attempted so far.But although that is certainly true. then. It is in such facts as this that the of meaningis said to consist.You cannotintendthatsome expressionhave a certainmeaning unless you are able to referto that of its semanticproperties. different matter.it is also irrelevant: whatwe need to make sense of is not a concept witha different fromthatoriginally employing content intended. Boghossian argues.'incorrect'if.5I2 Paul A. As it happens. but employingan expression in the languageof thought with a different contentfromthatoriginally whichis a rather intended. We mayappreciatethispointby observing thattherequirement defined 9 Ibid..
to thanthis.the main theory would easily requirement. in otherwords.that my use of it is correctin applicationto certainobjects and not in applicationto others.simply in ofmeaning ofwhether one thinks namefor thefamiliar fact that.whatis thecorrect use ofthatword.5I 3 Considerations TheRule-Following on theoriesof by McGinn could hardlyact as a substantiveconstraint meaning.one cannotread theory might appearto failit:for. regardless possess expressions or assertion-theoretic terms. conditions was to realizethatthis in warranted use. do accounts ofmeaning whether really thequestion dispositional however. butmerely assesstheobjection.a oftherequirement It is easyto see how.I am notheretrying is muchmorecomplicated to thenormativity succumb objection to stateit. requirement? founderspreciselyon the normativity theory requirementis not the thesis 5.It followsimmediately Suppose the expression things(the greenones) onlyto these 'green' applies correctly theexpression and not to those(the non-greens). property meaning constituting in question. on theother.must be such as to ground the from anyalleged ofmeaning-it oughtto be possibleto readoff 'normativity' ofa word.on thisunderstanding itwouldseem. meaningful truth-theoretic correctness consistsin true of correct use. to use wordsincorrectly). Kripke's claim that a dispositional requirement. This content downloaded from 168. a whole set of normative behaviourwith that expression:namely. an expressionhas the same or a are-it is always possible to ask whether McGinn's meaning on a dispositionaltheory. a relationbetween meaningsomethingby an by it at some latertime.176. dispositional use ofthat to use a wordin a certain waywhatis thecorrect off a disposition for to be disposedto use a wordin a certain wayimpliesat mostthatone word.thus satisfying different How to explain.In particular.Any meaning.This is not. a new The normativity ofmeaning turnsout to be. '0 notthatone should (one can havedispositions will. 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.5. ofthe ofadequacyon theories intoa condition observation maybe converted in virtue ofmeaning: determination anyproposedcandidatefortheproperty of which an expressionhas meaning.) Kripke'sinsight use. (On the one construal. a relationbetweenmeaningsomething use at that time. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 10 As weshallsee below.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. rather.The fact that the expressionmeans truthsabout my somethingimplies.118 on Sun. that is. The answer is that the normativity McGinn outlines.What is it then? that 'green' meansgreen. it expressionat one timeand meaningsomething by it at some timeand its is rather. as McGinn would have it. then.
judgement. it neednotmatter which whose something-a state. this commitment it is also very is.forfamiliar of such expresreasons.otherwise.For:what on of Not other of in meaning expressions thelanguage thought? thoughts.can. It wouldappear. contents do not figure in a mental life exceptas subtended by a particular mode belief. to see. and (b) thatthe representation whosetokening possessesa combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure. tokening or factsabout associatedqualitative expressions episodes. arenaturally understood as theproperties ofthestates or events thatinstantiate thosemodes.5.as promised. For.'' in placewe arefinally ofthenormativity thesis in 6. natural and plausible. andno natural way to bring thenormativity requirement to bearagainst it. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .desire. So. what its correctness conditions are and in virtueof what theyare determined. and does (in intent.hence. anyway) include mental content within thescopeofthescepticism willhangon it. event. And so we see thatthe sceptical argument must. for.118 on Sun. I shallhenceforth l Since nothing write as ifa ofthought language hypothesis weretrue. we couldstillask.in proper Kripkean fashion. thatnothing Indeed.strictly speaking contestable. This content downloaded from 168. wish and. I suppose.we arealso nowin a position ofthought needed. fixes the against public language? yes. Boghossian it aims to promote. After all. thought are the semantic of syntactically and semantically properties structured in thesceptical bearers. content.however.and sinceit willease exposition.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.5 I4 Paul A.176. willbe no natural way to formulate ofthought a dispositional theory content. ofa certain itspossession Andalthough dispositional theory. becausecorrectness cannot be reconstructed dispositionally. nothing fixes their meaning. In other of thought contents to a language words. Butitshouldbe quiteclearthat nothing argument on theassumption depends ofstructure: eveniftherepresentation wereto no internal possess syntax. expressions possess thesamesenseas publiclanguage correct use in precisely expressions do. And not dispositional factsaboutthetokening conditions of of mentalese sincemeaningful sions. Therehas to be or particular. thatthesceptical argument's strategy does presuppose thatcontent properties havesome sortof bearer (evenifnot a structured there necessarily one). of such actual Not factsabout the pain of viciousregress. to get tokened undercertain circumstances on a disposition constitutes. according hypothesis. Withthisclarification to settlethe question:can Kripkedevelopthe same sortof a position ofthought as he develops meaning-sceptical argument against a language Andtheanswer is: clearly.
mental. I havedescribed thesceptical couldnot It mayseem.would be expectedto possess.completely of a constitutive What it is suited for is the promotion scepticism.proceedsby inviting his interlocutor '+'. I willdiscussthatbelow. theproblem is not-not evenin Pace manyofKripke's readers. 12 McGinn's failure how the constitutive and epistemological to notethisleads himto wonder the distinct from 'fortheepistemological claimis clearly are related.176. notourknowledge epistemological-its topicis thepossibility of it. cit. Wright.Kripke's sceptic is notafter ofthatsort. thus. but the theconcept sceptic challenges himtoprove that in question wasnotinfact fora singularity where is justlikeaddition. is permitted complete and omniscient access to all the facts about his previous behavioural. the two problems are the same. quaddition except quaddition. as everyone knows. challenge is to explainhow anything could possessthat.. evenwith thebenefit scepticism.p. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . aspectsof Kripke'sdiscussion metaphysical claim'(op. 149). Havinga meaning is essentially a matter of possessing a correctness And the sceptical condition. Against Private Journal to thesceptical problem. is stillunableto justify his interlocutor access to all the relevant facts. and physical history. that then. In fact. of theArgument Wright in his 'Kripke'sAccount 13 This pointis made very nicely by Crispin another however.This is evident from thefact in a thesis thathisinterlocutor.by the way. of For ifhis sceptic is able to showthat.TheRule-Following Considerations 5I 5 Theconstitutive nature ofthesceptical problem 7. Language'. ofPhilosophy.'2 Kripke'ssceptical to promoting unsuited an epistemological scenario is. then. to justify his claimthathe meantaddition beingchallenged by '+'. 76I-2. Notice. he is notrestricted to thesortof knowledge thatan ordinary creature. discerns I984. anyparticular 13 butto conclude thatthere are no facts aboutmeaning. Kripke merely the constitutive in an epistemological choosesto present problem guise. problem to be Kripke's.5. abouta givenclass ofjudgements is theview Epistemological scepticism thatour actualcognitive capacities are incapableof delivering justified in that opinions concerning judgements class. pp. 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.118 on Sun. dimension sortofepistemological This content downloaded from 168. ofmeaning.That to character. in the interlocutor's arithmetical at a pointnot previously encountered practice.thatI have statedthe sceptical problem about meaningwithoutonce mentioning Kripke's notorious sceptic. thatwouldleaveus no choice claimaboutwhathe meant. problem constitutive. The defend a claim aboutwhat he previously meant bytheexpression interlocutor innocently assumeshimself to havemeant addition.however. equippedwithordinary cognitive powers.
as reasoning they maybe represented as follows. oughtnot to be any residualtemptation to thinkthatepistemological a critical In anycase. is essentially constitutive in character. cit.118 on Sun. the perception thatthisaffects the force of thesceptical problem aboutmeaning is a result oftaking thedialogic tooseriously. on theone hand. 16 Withone relatively minor to be notedbelow. 1984. The pointis thatthe a rule-as opposed to that of merely ordinary conceptof following 14 For example. considerations areplaying roleinKripke's argument. McGinn.16 That. 772-5.at leaston theordinary a understanding itcannot be true ofall expressions-in rule.. once we havecorrected for thedistortions induced there bythedialogic setting.precisely. G. he adduces intention whatever Kripkemayhavehad.I think. has complained that a convincing Kripke's sceptic doesnotultimately bent-rule supply of reinterpretation his interlocutor's words.at leastin one'sowncase. butacceptable to it are to answers to an epistemic be subject constraint.5. According to Crispin Wright. howI shallpresent them. the answeris 'nowhere'. Bakerand P. The 'rule-following' considerations? 8. ofcorrectness conditions that 5 The problem maybe. It wouldnotbe inappropriate towonder at this what all this hasto point do withthe topicof rule-following? is the connection Where. 409-I0. cit.and the offollowing a rule. Hacker.But hereagain. between theconcepts ofmeaning and content. Expressions cometohave correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of of correctness them.See his 'Against Kripkean Tennant Scepticism'. forged? in an important sense.anyway. Many writers seemto assumethatthe connection is straightforward. at length. Neil Tennant Synthese.one mayagreethat theproblem is constitutive in character.op. of course. forthcoming. pp.176.pp. concept I shallarguethat. Boghossian part-epistemological scepticism about meaning. it and yetbelieve to havean epistemological dimension. and hence that 'the rulefollowing considerations' is. itcannot be true of particular. sionon offer.known non-inferentially. maywellbe right aboutthis. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I do notwishtoargue aboutthis It doesseemtomethat. theconsiderations on behalf ofthesceptical to epistemoloconclusion appeartoowenothing gicalconstraints and can be stated their without is help.14But. exception This content downloaded from 168. Kripkeis not interested of correctness he is interested in thepossibility conditions. for in the merepossibility example.hence.on theother.. 15 See op. strictly a misnomer forthediscusspeaking.exploring the possibility is tantamount to thepossibility ofrule-following. exploring oftheconcept offollowing But.pp. 140-50. mentalexpressions-that theycome to have correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of them. 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.'On Misunderstanding Wittgenstein: Kripke'sPrivate LanguageArgument'.5I6 Paul A.
On pain ofregress. Theoretical II My onlydisagreeI984. 'The Individual Blackburn. castling willfit orfailtofit therule. the productionof a termfrommere noise.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. whichin turnmakesessential attitude. ofcorrect application. I intend no particular theoretical implications bytalking ofa term. on Chomsky. 18 Simon conditions.'8 THE SCEPTICAL SOLUTION A non-factualist of meaning conception that no word could have the 9.118 on Sun. 255.it cannotbe truethatmentalexpressions rules in respectof them. CrispinWrighthas decribedthis intuitive veryclearly: involve typically to think. thetime castling at thatpoint. Having established to his satisfaction of expressing a certainmeaning. playwiththe idea of a propositional in thissense presupposesthat rule-following play withthe idea of content. are simply Truthconditions instances.talkof 'rule-following' correctness. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . help explainit. and turns is the factthatdistinguishes utteranceinto assertion into the makingof judgment. lie contentful mentalstates.5. further supply conditions p. itis natural applying a ruletoa newcasewill.Oxford.17 courseof thegame)permits previous a rule is the conceptof conceptof following the ordinary As such. ed.Correctly at of chessmen of theconfiguration willdependbothon apprehension instance. 281-2. A. Strikes Back'.conan act among whose causal antecendents theidea ofa correctness condition. Since it makesessential not one thatcan. pp. situation and to know presented for in thecourse ofa gameofchess.Kripke turnsto askinghow this property 1 and the CentralProjectof Considerations Rule-Following 'Wittgenstein's CrispinWright: I989. it is a conceptthatpresupposes sequently. Basil Blackwell. of therebeingcorrectness shall talkindifferently and of theirobeyingprinciplesof application. ofthose apprehended in thelight what.Simon Blackburnhas capturedthis perspective The topic is ofrules here. it rule-governed. (and the that configuration ofwhether and on a knowledge ofthemove. in fullgenerality.Synthese.176. This content downloaded from 168. have conditions mental expressions themselves acquire meaning then.Whateverthis is. and to andincorrect application there is sucha thing as thecorrect that I there is truth andfalsity. Correctly of the features relevant both to apprehend a double success:it is necessary features.however. George. in Reflections Linguistics'. verywell: is harmless. withtruth conditions of correctness its identification mentwiththispassageconcerns or justification conditions proof one speciesof a correctness condition. than tosaythat is no more there is sucha thing saythat of wordsbeing and incorrectness. as a resultof anyonefollowing What Kripke's discussion is concerned with is the possibility of so long as we keep thatclearlyin mind.
This content downloaded from 168.'9 community The scepticalsolutionhas two partsthatare usefully distinguished. is needed suggested to legitimize assertions thatsomeonemeanssomething is thattherebe roughly circumstances underwhichtheyare legitimately specifiable assertible. to which he may belong'. .176. no suchconclusion assertions Allthat follows. of our ordinary What is called for. to entail that thereis nothingI could mean by the use of that across all signs and all people. That is whatthe 'sceptical solution'is designed to do. See his 'Kripkeon on Rules'. Wright. is a rehabilitation practice of attributing content to our thoughtsand utterances. Applied quite generally. 'Does Philosophical Investigations I. thatassertions that anyone are meaningless.Sustainingit requiresshowingthatwhat it asserts does not ultimately lapse into a formof pragmaticincoherence. A scepticism about meaningfactswould appear to be. in the course of which it is argued that it is essential to such sentences that their conditionsadvertto the actions or dispositionsof a commuassertibility nity. The troubleis thatwe would ordinarily takea remark that therecould not be any such thingas the factthatI mean something by the ' + ' sign.518 Paul A. of a 'solitary language'. Language?'.if we applyto these thetests . ed. 77-8. The firstconsists in the suggestion that we replace the notion of truth conditions. by that of conditions. then.No supposition that'facts to thoseassertions is needed.Oxford.if notthat. Clarendon 20 K. is incoherent.McDowell. pp. 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.5. becomes the seeminglyparadoxical and self-refuting thesis that no one could mean anything by theiruse of linguistic expressions.which conservesthe scepticalthesisthatthereare no factsforsuch nevertheless attributions to answerto. forthelatter essentially involves theidea ofnecessary to another.an unstableposition.258-6o Suggest a Cogent Argument Against Private inSubject. to be not merelyshockingbut paradoxibecause the conclusionthreatens to theeffect cal. The second consists in a description of the assertibility conditionsformeaning-attributing assertibility sentences. Boghossian conclusion is to be accommodated. in other words. Thought andContext.primafacie anyway. evermeansanything On theother hand. It is hardto assessthis. and that the gameof asserting themhas a role in our lives. 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. Surelyit cannotmean: a languageto whose predicates no twopeoplecould attach thesamedescriptive conditions.in his view. Goldfarb goeson to saythat Journal is moregeneral language thanthatof a Wittgensteinian 'private language'.20 correspond' 19 Following we maycall thistheconcept Goldfarb.118 on Sun. Press. Andit is notclearwhat it is to mean. unintelligibility becauseit is hardto knowhow to interpret 'necessary unintelligibility'. the claim sign. P. . 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .For usefuldiscussion see C..I986. Wittgenstein ofPhilosophy.The question is urgent. theideaofa solitary 1985. in our intuitivepicture of sentence meaning. Pettit and J.
p.thisis as far [I]fwe confine ourselves to looking which we can saythat. The argument against 'solitary language' emerges. fromthe observationthat.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. This content downloaded from 168.is essentialto our ordinary The possibility concept of meaning. could be said to mean anything. language The argument againstsolitary io. use of a termand the community's. . according to Kripke. natureof the whollydescriptive explicationsof the view: scepticalsolution. evenifhe inclines under . Under tosay'125'.Following 21 K.and can only be accommodatedif we widen our gaze and take and betweenour imaginedrule-follower intoconsideration the interaction Were we to do so. in effect. orvice-versa .5 Considerations TheRule-Following 9 sentence The proposed account is. Let us turn now to an assessmentof the various central aspects of Kripke's argument. betweena given speaker'spropensities the agreement.118 on Sun... Kripke continues. Thereareno circumstances what circumstances said'5'.. And so a solitary language is impossible.. heshould have alonecan say at his mindor behavior can he be wrong? No one else by looking ifhe does notaccordwithhis ownintention'..176. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . III ARGUMENT LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT OF THE SOLITARY AGAINST and solitary accounts Constitutive language i i.a global non-factualism: termsand significance is construedquite generallyin assertion-theoretic possessed no invidiousdistinction is drawnbetweenthesortofsignificance by meaning-attributing sentencesand thatpossessed by sentencesof other types.'He is wrong are no facts abouthimin argument was thatthere wholepointof theskeptical he accords withhis intentions or not. .thiswould appear to notionsof errorand be the onlyway to give substanceto the correlative no one considered wholly in isolation fromother speakers correctness. the something like.21 virtue ofwhich of error.we could a linguisticcommunity. introduceassertibility conditionsforjudgementsabout errorin termsof in the or lack of it. Since. however.5. 88.at least in his 'official' are madeand ofmeaning attributions We haveto see underwhatcircumstances exhortawhatroletheseattributions Wittgenstein's playin ourlives.however. Kripke is veryclear about the limited.
however.however. could theprojectofproviding an account of their assertion conditionsaspire to anythingmore than descriptive adequacy? Were we equipped with an account of theirtruth of course.176.For even ifit weretruethatour actualassertibility conditions for sentencesadvertto the dispositions meaning-attributing of a community.we mightbe able to reasona prioriabout whattheir conditions. to revise the forassertion conditions actuallyacceptedforthem. that there could not be such a language. the modestyit counsels is enforcedby the factthat truthconditionsforthese sentences has been jettisoned. we cannot introducesubstantive 22 K. It is important to see that the counselled modesty-we will not reason a prioriabout the role such statements ought to play-is compulsory.It would appear to followfromthis.520 Paul A. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . And thiswould be a lot less thanthe resultwe were promised:namely. Indeedsuchconditions wouldconstitute to the a 'straight' solution skeptical and havebeenrejected. thatany possible language has to be communal. This content downloaded from 168. Boghossian tionnot to think but to look. assertion conditions oughtto be and..For how. potentially.on pain of falling preyto the accepted scepticalconsiderations.The Wittgensteinian exhortation 'not to thinkbut to look' is not merely(as it may be) good advice.thatthe scepticalsolutioncan do no morethanrecordthe conditions underwhichspeakersin factconsiderthe attributionof a certain concept warrantedand the endorsementof a particular responseappropriate. let us ask whether it is in facttruethat.It is important realizethatwe are not looking and sufficient fornecessary conditions (truth for following a rule. If this is correct.118 on Sun. rather ought we will findout whatcircumstances actually license suchassertions and what rolethislicense actually to plays. pp. Putting to one side. Communal assertibility conditions? thisworry I 2. or an analysisof what such rule-following conditions) 'consists in'.22 problem.we ought to be puzzled about how the scepticalsolutionis goingto delivera conclusionagainstsolitary language of the requisite modal force: namely.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. 86-7. the mostthatwould licensesayingis thatourlanguageis not solitary. The conditionsmay not be understoodto providethe content(or assertibility truthconditions)of the meaning-attributing sentences. (That is whythe solutionon has to be sceptical:it has alreadybeen conceded thatnothingcould offer cogentlyamount to the fact that a meaning sentencereports). if we accept the sceptical conclusion. in the absence of a conceptionof the truth conditions ofmeaningattributing sentences.we will not reasona priori about the role such statements to play. hence.5.
118 on Sun...24 It can hardlybe objected that of the of 'sum' is being presupposedin the statement the interpretation solutionto condition.. as Kripke himselfrepeatedly emphasizes. (A) It is warranted provided he has responded with the sum in reply to most queries posed thus far.then. the sceptical argumentdoes not threatenthe existence of facts. thereappears to be nothingin the scepticalconclusionthatwill rule it out. is canvassed This sortofrejoinder 25 K. which in McGinn.26 runs as folaccount of meaning-attributions Kripke's communitarian lows: Jones's to meanaddition by 'plus' onlyifhe judgesthat SmithwilljudgeJones togive.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. I85-7.176. forthescepticalsolutionis not meantto be a straight the problem about meaning.the greaterimportbe made forthe importance But all these to simple cases. givethisdescription he must Necessarily practise. cit..quite rough:roomhas to of our practice. he is inclined with those toparticular addition agree answers problems 23 24 26 op. in a non-standard in the description terms (such as 'agreement') applyvarious unless solution toWittgenstein's be an objection way. Ibid.but have actuallydone so..521 Considerations TheRule-Following thatdo not advertto the conditionsformeaning-attributions assertibility that of a community of speakers?It appears. Could it perphapsbe arguedthat(A) is permissible of fact. This cannot 'quus-like' at all.But as Goldfarbpointsout.23 Consider the following: to assertof Jones thathe means additionby '+'.op cit. thispointis derived.and in McGinn. arithmetical (A) is.But how. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . bothin Goldfarb. of course.. I46. As a matter conditions Kripke outlines? thecommunalassertibility just the opposite seems true. as Kripke himselfsays. from This is argued This content downloaded from 168. As a description of systematic deviations. ance attaching may be safelyignoredforthe purposeof raisingthe following refinements of criticalquestion:what in the scepticalconclusionrules out attributions against form(A)? It had betterrule themout. dispositions not only can we introducesuch conditions. p. solitary individual.if the argument for(A) advertsto no one otherthanthe languageis to be sustained..pp.is (A) to be ruledout. in another form oflifemight a participant case ofanysuchuse ofourlanguage. and manyothersuch factors. 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.op.on the contrary...5.and theargument mathematical language preserved? againstsolitary though parasiticon I3. cit. of course.
Jones by 'plus' only ifJones uses'plus'enough in thesamewayI am inclined times to use it. This content downloaded from 168. and nottheother wayaround. I willjudgethat means addition According then. however. It wouldbe absurd for me. will that hedoesnot mean addition EvenifJones judge didmean itin by'plus'. providedhe agreeswithmy responses to arithmetical queries. Andthiswouldappearto showthat. I have beena reliablecomputer underconditions where of sums.thisseemsacceptable enough. IRREALIST CONCEPTIONS IV OF MEANING I4. Boghossian IfJones inagreement with consistently fails togive responses Smith Smith's. thepresent will deviation justify Smith that hehaslapsed. provided he has responded withthesumin reply to mostarithmetical queries posedthusfar. But thismodification wouldseemimmediately toreveal that thereference to 'my own responses' is idle. exposesthefactthatKripke's communitarian on thesolitary conditions are parasitic and nottheother conditions. I conclude that thesceptical solution does notyielda convincing argument against solitary language. The sceptical conclusion hasitthat itcannot literally be true of 2 K.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. ofthecommunitaris ianconditions strongly on theacceptability ofthesolitary parasitic ones. in other that theacceptability words.176. It wouldappear. and becauseouractualassertibilityconditions formeaning ascriptions appearnotto be communitarian.118 on Sun. As a roughdescription of our practice. 9I. The argument against wassupposed solitary language toflow from the of sentence adjustedunderstanding significance forced by the sceptical conclusion.522 Paul A. at a minimum. way round.27 to thisaccount.5. and thatthe basic assertion I condition acceptis just(A): It is warranted to assertof Jonesthathe meansadditionby '+'. thatis calledfor. Kripke's communitarian account to read: mustbe modified to assert ofJones (B) It is warranted thathe meansaddition by '+'. and manyimportant refinements One of therefinements aside. injudging the past. p. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .. In sum:bothbecauseitis difficult togenerate (impossible?) constitutive results outofnon-constitutive accounts.
I98I .I977. forsuch a Rightand Wrong. forthcoming in my'The Statusof Content'.the most conservative of being a witchis not to adopt a non-factualist nothinghas the property an error conceptionof witchtalk. of nonfirst blush. in that the solelyto the recommended non-factualism is global. 29 An error conception is elaborated ofPhilosophy. and defended This content downloaded from 168. Penguin. Philosophical Review. rather.the ontological discoveryis taken to exhibit merely-the systematic falsityof the region's (positive. or a capacity to state facts.a sentencecannotbe false unless it is meaningful thisin turnimpliesthat(i) cannotbe true:forwhat (i) says is thatsome sentences are false.118 on Sun.as opposed to an error theory. perhaps. This argument and thePropositional Attitudes'. to begin with.in contrast regions.in two possiblerespects. (i) implies.ratherthanrestricted region of discourse meaning talk that is directly affectedby the scepticalresultit seeks to accommodate. and second. conception see his 'Eliminative has beenadvocated ofmeaning by Paul Churchland. But is this solution forced? Are there not.Considerations 523 TheRule-Following any symbolthatit expressesa particular meaning:thereis no appropriate factfora meaning-attributing sentenceto report.The view in question would consistin the claim thatall meaning-attributions are false: (i) For any S: FS means thatpl is false.in thatit opts fora form factualism. We should think of it.atomic) sentences.it is to offer conceptionof such talk.The scepticalsolution's recommendation is that we blunt the forceof this result by refusingto thinkof sentencesignificance in termsof possession of truthconditions.Since. reactionto the news that Semantically speaking.An error conception of a given region of discourse conserves the region's semantical appearances predicates are still understood to express properties.is of doubtfulcoherence.Ethics:Inventing London.thatis.5. other ways of accommodatingthe sceptical conclusion? at leastat The solutionon offer is bound to strike one as an overreaction.29 sentences namelymeaning-attributing 28 See JohnMackie. for an error with errorconceptionsof other conceptionof such discourse. of the truth But the disquotationalproperties predicateguaranteethat(i) entails (2) For any S: [Si has no meaning. however. thatno sentencewhatever possesses a meaning.in terms of possession of assertibility conditions. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .First. declarative sentencesto possess truthconditions.176. ofmoraldiscourse.28 be understoodto consist Could not the moralof the scepticalargument in an errorconceptionof meaning discourse?It could not. Journal Materialism AprilI990.
since. no meaning-attributing sentence canbe truth-conditional.But does his non-factualist conception better? ofa non-factualist I5. meaning-attributing Thus. cit. and henceno suchfact.D. Content and Rules'. (3) For anyS.in PartI of myPh.. consists. Ioc. I986.30 For consider a non-factualism aboutmeaning-the solely viewthat. This content downloaded from 168. (5) For all S. a fascinating consequenceof a non-factualism about that itentails a global meaning. Boghossian So it appearsthatKripkewas right to avoid an error of conception fare any meaningdiscourse. It is. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .courtesy properties a sentence oftheformrS has truth-condition pl is trueifand predicate. anyway) a function ofits a non-factualism meaning. in thisrespect. about meaning. a non-factualism aboutmeaning from distinguishes itself a similar thesis 30 Somewhat different are givenforthisbothin Crispin arguments Wright's 'Kripke'sAccount'. the projectivism recommended by the solution is intended to applyglobally: it is notconfined to sceptical solely sentences. 769-70 and in my 'Meaning.as seemsnatural. in theviewthat pl is nottruth-conditional. since there is no suchproperty as a word'smeaning something. non-factualism. p: rS has truth-condition of the disquotational of the truth However. Princeton. (4) For anyS: rSi is nottruth-conditional justas predicted. at leastsomeregions of language? Kripkedoes notsay. and since(5) has it that rS has truthcondition it follows pl is never that simply true. (4) For any S: rS[ is not truthconditional. ifno other. pl is nottruth-conditional.524 Paul A.But it maybe thathe glimpsed thatthe oftheprojectivism globalcharacter is in fact forcedin thepresent case. then. The canonical formulation view-and theone that is Kripkehimself declarative sentence favours-hasit thatsometargeted not genuinely A non-factualism truth-conditional.pp. 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. onlyif S has truth-condition p. however. a view?Why does he not suggest Whydoes Kripkeadopt so extreme that we abandon a truth-conditional modelfor merely semantic discourse. Since thetruth-condition ofanysentence S is (in part.176. thatis.5.118 on Sun. p: rS meansthat As I noted above. Dissertation Essayson Meaning and Belief. while for oftherest preserving it.
. for argument. J.But whatis wrongwiththat?If thereis an instability one.a global projectivism whatthe instability thatno sentencepossesses a truth to admitthatit is no morethanassertible here. then non-factualismis nowhere a coherent option.I do believe thata non-factualism Rather. . . concept be deflationary is cannot the thesis framed non-factualist follows: as described Ayersuccinctly as a 'real quality'or a 'real relation'is due. The traditional real . 89. loc. and not the concept of some genuineproperty some 'real relation' thata sentence(or thought)may enjoy.525 Considerations TheRule-Following about any othersubject matter.31 withWright'ssuggestionthattheremust be It is hard not to sympathize withinthescope thesisthatis itself something unstableabout a projectivist clear to me in But it is also not entirely it recommends.the reasonshave unstable.Ayer.. 32 In 'The Status 3" Ibid. 770. There are philosophicalmistakes. [but] seemsto standforsomething in which theword'truth' sentences does notstandforanything. For on a of truth. In fact.176. This content downloaded from 168.however. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5. not a transparent about meaningis i6. merelythe concept of a device for semantic ascent.. oftheskeptical oftheconclusion statement be projective. to say that p is true is simply a way of assertingp.. as Ayer claims in this passage. like most of truth conception .For this declarative conditionsare being denied is a significant of which the in of truth terms that the concept factimmediately implies thatA.33 thattheword'truth' has shown ouranalysis If the concept of truthwere.Dover.a sentencewill be truth-conditional understanding deflationary of Content'. cit.32here I have space only to sketchits outlines.. . Language. P.118 on Sun. The pointthatneeds to be keptin focusis thatthesentenceof whichtruth sentence..To be sure. of theprojectivism would have consists..it is condition. I have developed the argumentfor this in some detail elsewhere. andnon-fact-stating class. p. to do with the clash between what you have to suppose about truthin and whatyou have to thesisabout anything. thesisabout.to a failureto analyze sentencescorrectly . say. ittocomeby want willpresumably theprojectivist discourse.but not because of its global character. J. Truthand Logi'c.CrispinWrighthas suggestedthatit also problematic: rendersit irremediably views couldbe applied that projectivist tosuppose itis coherent that itis doubtful between fact-stating be drawn thedistinction For.I952.a fortheformer failto qualify statements thatcertain wayof a discovery to is notitself instance. a non-factualist orderto frame suppose about truth as a result of accepting a non-factualismabout meaning. 33~ A.New York.however exactly quiteglobally. the good: Consider a non-factualist (7) All sentencesof the form rx is goodl are not truth-conditional.
34 Again.176.118 on Sun. If P is somegenuinely robust thenit is hardto see how property. Irrealist of otnerdomainsmay not be particularly conceptions or plausible. 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. It does not matter if P is subjective or otherwise dependent upon our responses. then abouta sentence's judgements truth valuemust themselves be factual. willhaveto be possessed of robust truth-conditions. But it is constitutive ofa non-factualist thesis precisely thatit denies. itis truth-conditional. loc.and it will be apt for semantic ascent provided onlythat it is a significant.noticethatjudgements about an objectpossessesa robustproperty whether could hardly fail to be factual. This content downloaded from 168.robust. declarative failstc. by Churchland. presuppose that an error ornon-factualist directed conception at ourtalkofmeaning precisely itself endsup denying.fora moredetailed treatment see 'The Statusof Content'. in form. declarative that sentence.however.It in thefact consists error that and non-factualist theories aboutany subject matter claims certain abouttruth andtruth-conditions. I7 It is hard to do justice to theissuesinvolved within theconfines ofthe I do hope. significant. solution. 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.possesstruth-conditions. but they are notincoherent. But. instance. if truth is a robust property. of sometargeted.as I shallhenceforth put it. theory. of theclaimis boundto arousesuspiThe uncompromising strength cion. cit. therewill be no understanding its claim that a significant sentence. Not surprisingly theensuing result is unstable. present essay. Otherwise. there ofthematter couldfailtobe a fact aboutwhether an object hasP. declarative sentence.5. therefore. So long as it is a genuine.And thisexposesthecontradiction we havebeenstalking: a nonfactualism aboutmeaning boththattruth is robust and thatit is implies not.now. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . It follows.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 particular. So we haveitthat thesis truth that anynon-factualist presupposes is. Boghossian provided onlythatit is apt forsemantic ascent. for meaning. eligibility willnotbe certified purely bythefact that a sentence is declarative and significant.526 Paul A. language-independent property. appealing Whyshouldmatters standdifferently withmeaning discourse? The source oftheasymmetry is actually notthat hardto track down. judgements aboutit willhaveto be factual.
are distinctfrom constraint. entails thedenialofthatpresupposiat ourtalkaboutmeaning precisely a presupposes matter aboutanysubject tion. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .a non-factualism precisely at our directed But a non-factualism oftruth. cit. an error But an errorthesis directed targetsentencesare truth-conditional. That itsconclusion depends claim they issuefrom a naturalistic perspective: The first twoobjections even granted a failsto establish its thesis. construal anti-reductionist against an appropriately powerless the andin thenext thenaturalistic objections. I3. op.thatI see no meritto objectionsof thatKripkeignoresvariousviable thatI have seen to theeffect suggestions reduction bases formeaningfactsseem to me to reston misunderstanding.pp. cit.theywould show thatthe are correct. facts.an account thatis.n. theory species of a dispositional 3 See McGinn. Warren of normativity This restson themisunderstanding Goldfarb charges that Kripke neglectsto consider causal/informational to a failure This derivesfrom of meaning. of course. In thispartI shallexamine the secondkindand will not discussthemin any detailhere. 36 See Goldfarb.176.. robust conception thedenialofthatpresupposition. McGinn explains.op. with Something lead us to it.Thus.36 accountsof the determination of meaningis simplyone see that. objection tonaturalistic facts restriction is but chargesthat the scepticalargument of naturalism.in all essentialrespects. claims that Kripke neglectsto considerthe that possession of a concept mightconsist in possession of a possibility certainsort of capacity. Capacities. argument thatthe sceptical The final concedes andproperties.however.527 Considerations TheRule-Following thatthe presupposes thesisaboutany subjectmatter Thus. therefore. The sceptical being: mostimportant of meaning do not dispositional accounts against That its arguments work. naturalistic all theavailable That it neglects to consider on an unargued reductionism. This content downloaded from 168.118 on Sun. the on a number has beenfaulted argument i8.35 dispositionsand are bettersuited to meet the normativity outlinedabove. the failure ofmeaning.also. if theseconsiderations way appears tobe no stable there be sustained: conclusion cannot sceptical about meaning. forexample. of accommodating the claim thatthereare no truths to theargument that appeared mustbe wrong. entails talkaboutmeaning then. Whatcouldit be? V REDUCTIVE ACCOUNTS OF MEANING ofgrounds. I should say at the outset.5. Colin McGinn.a causal theory of meaning.All the anti-reductionist suggestion.. I68-74.
Psychosemantics.I98I. Midwest Studies in Philosophy. the sake of concreteness. Field. For.in effect.includinghorsesso faraway and so farin the past thatit would be nonsense to suppose I could ever get into causal contactwith them. on informational of thecontentofmental theories symbols.It would be hard to exaggeratethe importanceof such theories for contemporary philosophyof mind and semantics:as I have just indicated. underrole versionsof a dispositionalaccount standably. This content downloaded from 168. Cambridge. Stampe.176.2.118 on Sun. Kripke argues.Io. Jerry University Fodor. 'Advertisement for a Semantics Journal Role'.5. thenI should be disposed to apply it to all horses.528 Paul A. It is unfortunate the sceptical obscured in Kripke's discussion. Ned Block. the most influentialcontemporary theories of content-determination 'informational' theories and 'conceptual-role' theories are both forms of a for dispositionalaccount. MIT Press. MIT Press. vol.to focus on conceptual of meaning. Dretske. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . forPsychology'. Minneapolis. Midwest Studiesin Philosophy.Otherwise. 'Logic. Dispositions and meaning: finitude 19. ofMinnesota University Press. he tends.37In my discussionI shall tend to concentrate. to suggestingthat therewill Kripke's firstobjection amounts. vol.I987. thus renderingdispositional propertiesan inappropriatereduction base for meaningproperties.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. I977. The singlemostimportant strandin the scepticalargument consistsin the considerations against dispositionaltheoriesof meaning. of MinnesotaPress. I977. The root formof an information-style dispositionaltheoryis this: I am disposed My mentalsymbol'horse' expresseswhateverproperty to apply it to. Minneapolis. in what my dispositions always be a serious indeterminacy are. I986.ratherthan on causal/informational versions. whatis to say thatmy dispositionis not a dispositionto or some such?But no one can apply the termto the property nearbvhorse. Boghossian thatthis connectionis extensively discussed by Kripke.This has given rise to the impressionthat his discussion of dispositionalism does not covercausal theories.if it is indeed the property horse thatI am disposed to applythetermto. For conceptual roletheories see: H.But the impression is misleading. Meaning andConceptual ofPhilosophy.'Towardsa Causal Theoryof Linguistic Representation'.Because Kripke illustrates problem throughthe use of an arithmetical example. andtheFlowofInformation. D. 37For correlational theories see: F. Knowledge Cambridge.but theissues thatariseare generaland applyto anydispositional theorywhatever.
claimingto that. op. the counterfactual If I were now to go to Alpha Centauri. then. I5 (manuscript). All dispositionalproperties their exercise the holding of the relevant counterfactualtruth is on theabsence ofinterfering or equivalently. however. as JerryFodor has pointed out. it seems completely For example.176.if C.118 on Sun. of the form.Considerations 529 TheRule-Following have a disposition to call all horses 'horse'. for no one can have a dispositionwithrespectto inaccessibleobjects.5.I probablywould not be in anypositionto call anything by any name.And it certainlyseems conceivable that a willrenderthecounterfacsuitableidealizationofmybiologicalproperties tual about my behaviouron Alpha Centauritrue. cit. p.But that by itselfneed not pose an insuperableobstacle to are such that ascribingthe dispositionto me.40 Still. inversely pressure I a to if were modified as to survive so all of whatwould be true trip Alpha Centauri. For example. 27. can be used to attribute one can hardlycredit a tortoisewith the abilityto overtakea hare.Kripke considerssuch a responseand complains: in this? How in theworldcan I tellwhat But howcan we haveanyconfidence brainmatter? . definedover ideal conditionsunless one knows acceptinga generalization would be true if the ideal conditions exactly which counterfactuals obtained.And we are certainly trouble is that not every true The we do have infinitary dispositions.but that need not preventus fromclaimingto know that. is false.Of course.forexample. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ...I would call the horses there 'horse'. ofKripkeon thisscoresee Blackburn.forI would probablydie before I got there. S would do A to S the dispositionto do A in C.I would call the horses there'horse'.39 the conditionsover be true if molecules and containersactuallysatisfied that does not preventus from which the ideal gas laws are defined. contingent presence of ideal conditions. p. criticism For a related This content downloaded from 168. can with Similarly.but if were their volume would vary know there ideal gases. . on no one claim to know the them. by out thatifconditionswereideal forthe tortoise if.38 speculation to science thatone can have no reason for If the pointis supposed to be. See 'A Theory Part II. it is one thingto dispel an objection to a thesis. of Content'. Surely such with extra wouldhappenifmybrainwerestuffed shouldbe left fiction writers and futurologists.If I werenow to go to Alpha Centauri.no one can claim to knowall of whatwould unacceptable. The argument does not convince. on the conditions. then.it is anotherto in no positionnow to show that provethethesistrue.if I were to survivesuch a trip. pointing 38 39 40 K. counterfactual If conditionswere ideal.
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. I havenotactedin accordance withmyintentions. 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.In whatsense is meaning a normative notion?Kripke writes: 20. Computational and other error. p. butifso. It is also truethatto say that a given expressionhas a given extensionis not to make any sort of simple remark about it. The set of permissible counterfactuals is constrained by criteria of whichwe currently lack a systematic account.Kripke says.Kripke seems to think. I should mypastmeaning answer 'I25'. ifI intend butthat.4' The fact that I mean somethingby an expression. SupposeI do meanaddition ofthis by' + '. factors disturbing may lead me notto be disposed to respond as I should. 37- This content downloaded from 168.because we cannot be completely confident thatthe idealized counterfactuals needed to support such ascriptionsare licit. Boghossian it weremuch biggerand faster-thenit would overtake it. not ifI meant descriptive. toaccord with of' + '. In the absence of such an account. In particular. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 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.is incontestable. The relation ofmeaning and intention to future actionis normative.we cannotbe completely confident that ascriptions of infinitary dispositions are acceptable. 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. truths about how I ought truths about how it would be correct forme to use it. implies to use thatexpression.This is unsurprising given the difficulty and delicacyof the issues involved.the expressionwillbe applied onlyto thosethings which are in its extension. Obviously.and also obviously. notdescriptive. But this is not the rightaccountof the relation. finiteness ofmycapacity. The point is notthat.118 on Sun..that these observations by themselves ought to be enough to show thatno dispositional theory of meaning can work. of course. addition by + '.of course.5.however. And here matters are not so straightforward.530 Paul A. I willanswer 'I25'.we do not now knowwhichidealizationsthoseare.only certainidealizationsare permissible.it is not to say descriptive that. he has not done. whichis normative. 'I 25'.as a matter of fact. 41 K.176.
this is a dispositionto make a mistake.Suppose I mean horse I have a dispositionto call horses 'horse'.of identifying actual dispositionswith respectto that expression. This is a 'horse' means whateverproperty There are two of course. thenit cannotbe thatwhatever right. like the There is a related conceptual difficulty.p. to apply the Intuitively. as a matter ifthe idea was fondof remarking.5. in ideal or normative or shouldit be tied to whatpeople understood terms.. would have ruled out. under those circumstances. rightto me is (by definition) One would have thoughtthese points too crucial to miss. but it is surprisinghow little they are appreciated.and theyare closelyrelated. am disposed. notto comment on thismatter . This content downloaded from 168. 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. not in its extension. ofa choicethatmustbe madeby [conceptual role be shouldconceptual has had no discussion (as faras I know):namely.The first by it.thentherecan be no question. 42 Ned Block. theneverything apply the expressionto is. is bound to get theextensionof 'horse' wrong. show. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . presumably. But thisleads to the unacceptableconclusionthat'horse' does not express horseor cow. In a recent.176.on pain of falling an expression'sconceptual role with a subject's objection.53I Considerations TheRule-Following above: theory mentioned Let us beginwiththe verycrude dispositional I am disposed to apply it to.And as Wittgenstein possibility seems ofcorrectness is to make sense at all.But our crude dispositional expressionto something withthe I meanbyan expression theproperty theory.that is.. 42 This ought to seem odd. in the extensionof that expression. cit. op.. . becauseI'm notsure do? . can hope to succeed. dark also be true that there are certain circumstances sufficiently horseylookingones such that. of error. then. hopeless theory. I am disposed to am disposed to apply the expressionto. that no dispositional The objections from normativity I meanby theproperty thatassumes the simple formof identifying theory I am disposed to call 'horse'. 'horse'withtheproperty What did not assume this simple form? But what if a dispositional theory 2I. simplyequates under consideration. comprehensive of conceptualrole theories. but the reasons are instructive.Ned Block has written treatment one that rolesemantics] theorists.I nights-and certaincows sufficiently to call those cows 'horse' too.. ipsofacto. 63I. If conceptual role is supposed to determine preyto Kripke's meaning. But it will Then. disposed to use it. giventhatit identifies to. I prefer actually what to say . crude dispositionaltheorycurrently how it would be correctforme to use a certainexpressionwithhow I am the very of definition. is thatthe theory difficulty of them.118 on Sun. the property horsebut ratherthe disjunctiveproperty Any theorywhich.
5. it willno longer is right: follow thatwhatever seemsright thosedispositions notpossessing M willnotbe dispositions toapply theexpression towhat it meansand willbe free. couldwe not however. of a definition simply by virtue of M. couldstill notbe identified ofmeaning. Boghossian dispositions withthatproperty to will be guaranteed to be dispositions bothof the objections from applythe expression correctly. But thatis notright. meaning wouldit notthenbe truethattheobjections from had beendisarmed? normativity toputmatters Let us try a little more precisely. evenif words. words.it identified it onlywithcertain select dispositions. according there werea dispositional that covaried with a meaning predicate logically theonefact couldstillnotbe identified with theother. is therereallyno more to thenormativity ofmeaning thanspecifying capturing sucha property? Now. Kripke seems to thinkthat even if therewere a suitablyselected theextension thatcaptured of an expression disposition that accurately.instead ofidentifying I meanby'horse'with what theentire ofmy range in respect dispositions of 'horse'.176.is there really M? And. second. Provided the theory specified a principle of selection that outonly theextension-tracking andprovided also that picked dispositions. If a dispositional theory is to have any prospect of succeeding. normativity canvassed so far wouldappeartohavebeenmet. possessing dispositions with respectto that expression that possess M? For.Therewillbe no fear that theequation willissuein falseverdicts aboutwhattheexpression means. it mustselectfrom amongthe I have for 'horse'.sinceit is onlyM-dispositions thatare guaranteed to be correct.532 Paul A. At thispointtwoquestions sucha property arise. in terms it specified thatprinciple thatdid notpresuppose thenotion of or extension.43 Givensucha property. possession for to applyan expression in accordwith andsufficient a disposition being itscorrectness conditions.SimonBlackburn. since if. thatquestionbelow. thensafely equatemeaning with:thesetof something by an expression This content downloaded from 168. But morethanthis. for predicate. has written: 43 It is occasionally suggested thatit wouldbe enoughif possession of M weresufficient forthe correctness. forinstance. And so we wouldnothaveevena sufficient condition fortheexpression's a givenmeaning. If onlysufficiency disposition's wererequired we wouldnotknow. And. disposition thefact it with because stillremains of a disposition truethattheconcept is descriptive whereas ofmeaning theconcept is not. Kripkeis clearly sceptical abouttheexistence of an appropriate I will consider M-property. we wouldknowwhat properties were definitely part oftheexpression's meaning we wouldnotknow ifwe hadthem all. havebeeninclined tofollow himin this. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . in non-intentional and determining. ofM is necessary non-semantic a property M suchthat: terms. supposingtherewere.In other toKripke.First. theexpression's For although meaning.those dispositions whichare meaningdispositions In other it mustcharacterize. they ofdistinct A number arefacts ofwriters sorts. dispositions expression falsely.118 on Sun. to constitute to applythe therefore.
as comparedwithhow he actuallyresponds. and perhaps it can be non-question-beggingly of certified thatthatstatecorrespondsto a stateof theproperfunctioning If so. This content downloaded from 168..withoutpresupposingany semantic or intentionalmaterials. once the extensionshave been specifiedcorrectly? of themeaningof One might have a thought likethis. that thereare factsconcerningcorrect howeverselectively of an extension. There might theory condition.seems to carryno such implication.is state conditionson an adequate dispositional theory. specifisubstantive the successful.Perhaps theM-dispositionsare those dispositionsthat a person would have when his cognitivemechanisms are in a certainstate. denyinga dispositionalreduction.First. circular specificationof how the person would ideally respond. any such theorymust specify. p. somethingwe would be inherently in aremadebyWright concessions Back'. a correctness reveal that what it is specifying be cannotdo. it is conceivablethatthatwould amountto a nonthosemechanisms. conditions.loc. I do notthink It is justthat.Synthese.533 Considerations TheRule-Following they we succeedin identifying dispositions I shareKripke's viewthatwhatever which we mean.propertyM. This would ensure the Second. however. specified. cation of dispositionsthatmirror of factsabout meaningas groundsfor character But he citesthe normative But what preciselyhas been leftover. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .44 they Indeed.176. to a previous ofwhat it is to be faithful an account provide us with couldn't tothetask areinadequate dispositions Kripke.118 on Sun. forcapturingthe normative There is clearly no way to settle the matter in advance of the considerationof particulardispositional proposals.'Wittgenstein his 'Kripke'sAccount'.thatit would suffice forceof an ascriptionof meaning. cit.cit. Similar Strikes "4 'The Individual a on Following 10c.They for selection ofa function couldat mostgiveus standards rule. because it never follows from the mere attribution use. Rule'. covarywiththe extensions thatlogically dispositions in questionthe expressions' correctness one could read offthe dispositions factdoes not amountto the meaningfact. And thisis whata dispositional so that of expressions.To be told whereasthis does followfromthe attribution that 'horse' means horseimplies that a speakerought to be motivatedto only to horses. It is not clear thatthisis in generaltrue. What we are in a positionto do. thatdeservesto be called a an M-dispositioncould amountto something motivated to correctness condition. envisaging Blackburnhere is explicitly the extensionsof expressionscorrectly. and by JohnMcDowell.and. 329.5. I984.pp. unlike mustbe. it must show how possession of theory'sextensionalcorrectness.A properreduction correctly. forinstance. But the dispositional of any disposition.that apply the expression underwhicha speakeris disposed to thereare certainselectcircumstances apply the expressiononly to horses. 289-9I. 77I-2. it would also specify its extension an expression would notmerely is an extension namely.pp.whereasto be told. hence.I think of providing standards..
University that writings suggest Wright no Press.. the correct application of a term is determined by the totalityof the community's actual dispositionsin respectof thatterm.The theorydoes not attempt. The idea thatcorrectness withone's fellows consistsin agreement has a in thestudyofWittgenstein. (His morerecent longerholds this view..ed.. What property two sortsof proposal: mightM be? There are. pp. Holtzman and Leich. on Following a Rule.i980.118 on Sun.. There is a reason forthis. the other. 2I9-20.I shall begin with the communitarian account.it foundits in Wright's Wittgenstein most sustained treatment on the Foundations of Mathematics. incorrect.accordingto the proposal on offer. This would ensure the intensional equivalence of the two propertiesin question. As a response to the problemabout meaning.) See also Christopher Peacocke. equivalently. .if the problemat the level of the individual is now merely to be replayed at the level of the 4 Harvard Cambridge.London. in specifying the communaldispositionsthatare to serve as the constitutive arbitersof correctness.46 It is important to understand that. so no standard to meet. one. it is a communityof assent which supplies the essential backgroundagainst This content downloaded from 168. The proposal will not serve its purpose.45 Which of the manydispositionsa speakermay have with respect to a given expressiondetermineits meaning?Or. many commentators-whether rightly or wrongly-identified communitarianism as a centralthesisof the later writings. Communitarianism is a response to the perceived inabilityto definea at the level of the individual. to select fromamong the community's actual dispositionsa privilegedsubset.5.176. 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. dispositions.attempts to defineM in termsof the notionof an optimality condition. thus paving the way foran outright reductionof meaningto dispositions. of more recent provenance. I98I. . None of us can unilaterally make sense of correctemployment of whichalone it makessense to thinkof individuals' responses as correct or . Even beforethe current distinguished history concern with a 'rule-following problem'. Boghossian satisfy. however. and forthecommunity itself there is no authority. The communitarian account 22. exploiting the notion of a community. Routledge and Kegan Paul.between correctand incorrect distinction. long associated with Wittgenstein to specifyM by seeks himself. in effect. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .'Reply: Rule-Following: The Natureof Wittgenstein's in Wittgenstein Arguments'. 46 Ibid.534 Paul A.The suggestionthat correctness consistsin agreementwith the dispositionsof one's community is designed to meet this need.
loc.5. and whetherit can be suitablynonarticulated reductively (can 'non-collusiveagreement'be definedwithout I am preparedto grant. The crucial question. it is. thusmimicsto some degreethe sortof responsethatis essentialto truth.118 on Sun. This is a large question on which I do not propose to spend a lot of time. Oxford. His thought notionof truth. cit. means horseand my dispositionto apply it to cows on dark nightsis See Blackburn. Wherecommunitarianism fails.undeniable. but non-collusively. op.therefore. 82ff. rather.. For a moreextensive discussion see my Essayson Meaningand Belief. cit. I have a dispositionto apply it to horses. expectin lightof the rule-following then. see also Blackburn. Consider the term 'horse'.48Althoughthereare subtle questionsabout how much of logic will be recoverablefromsuch a view. 4 48 This content downloaded from 168. thatthe proposaldoes not fareall thatbadlyin connection with argument.to apply it to the factsare clear. whether communitarianism offers any concept deservingof that name.TheRule-Following Considerations 535 A communitarian community. 'Horse' deceptively horseylookingcows. How does the proposal fare with respect to the outlined adequacy conditionson dispositionaltheories? Consider firstthe 'intensional' requirement. Oxford University Press. does not want it to be a further question whether a given actual communal disposition is itself correct. forit quite clearlydoes not. as offering the folowing characterization of M: M is theproperty ofagreeing withtheactual dispositions of thecommunity. This is. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . pp. it the judgement embracing (even if. is thatthe emaciated notionof truthyielded by communitarianism is the best we can hope to considerations. Does communal consensus responsecharacteristic of truth? A number of criticshave complained against communitarianism that communalconsensusis simplynotthesame property as truth.unliketruth. What dispositionsdo I have in respect of this expression?To be sure.it seemsto me.I984. the 'intensional'requirement.on sufficiently dark nights. is not whethercommunitarianism captures our ordinarynotion of truth.But the applicationof a givenpredicate. Spreading theWord.47 communitarian is not best read as offering an analysis of the ordinary but a displacement of it. is not so much hereas with the extensional requirement.forthe sake of the use of intentional materials?). The proposal must be understood. But I also have a disposition. thatthereis no incoherencein the suggestionthat all the members of a linguistic in the off-track community have gone collectively. Non-collusive communal agreementon a judgement does usually provide one with some sort of reason for not witha decisiveone). of course.that possession of the favoured M-property appear intuitivelyto resemble possession of a command the sort of correctnesscondition. Intuitively.176.
however. horseor cow. motive for definingM over communaldispositions.are bound to be duplicated at the level of the systematically for The communitarian.000 people just like me from The point is impostor? being takenin by the same. once we have abandoned communitarianism.) But. It seems to me thatwe have no optionbut to rejecta pure communitariof our the extensions anism. After cow on a dark night.Which is to wildlydisjunctive themto have. ifI can be takenin by a deceptively nights'horse'. The problem.it will simply not do to identifytruth with ' dispositions. any of my dispositions that are in this sense mistaken. theyarise because of the we make are systematic: thatmanyof themistakes disguises.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. topic approachesthe problemand to a discussionof whichI now propose to turn.I submit. firm that 'horse' means not horse convictionto the contrary notwithstanding.what is to preventI7.and so forth-that effective presenceof features bad lighting.Even fromamong the community ifwe have to selectthosewhichmay be consideredmeaning-determining. instead.118 on Sun. then. but.5.The problem is to come up with a theorythat delivers this and in purelydispositionalterms. we communalconsensus. tions likelyto be? The community. The upshot would appear to be that. then.possessionof M by a dispositionis necessary of a property forthat disposition'scorrectness. This content downloaded from 168. about the term'horse'. If we are to have any prospectof identifying expressions correctly. then. is general.Which is to say thatwe are still are to have a plausible theory was supposed to provide:the specification lackingwhatcommunitarianism M such that. rather. Boghossian mistaken. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .536 Paul A. nothing-at least nothingobvious-tells against definingAMdirectlyover an individual's the way the voluminousliterature on this Which is precisely dispositions. admittedly effective. and sufficient we lack any Of course.thus failingthe firstrequirement adequate dispositionaltheory. (This is presumably what makes 'magicians' possible. have a generalizable and predictable effecton creatures with similar cognitive endowments. however exactly specified.accordingto none of our predicateshave the extensionswe take communitarianism. of meaning. There are countless possible special and thereis nothing impostors undercountlesspossibleconditions.176. community. He must insist. they are the community's dispositions.The communitarresultsystematically those which ian's idea is that the correctdispositionsare constitutively community's disposiare the What.cannotcall themmistakes. agree with the community's. but mean something is bound to issue in false verdictsabout the say that communitarianism on an meanings of most expressions. of course.
50 Now.thatno at specifying can hope to succeed.hence.Basil Blackwell.118 on Sun.. Cambridge. 51 K. .the properties theyare disposed to apply the expression Different to. cit. MIT Press. for one or another reason. 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. to beginto sketch an argument Severalspecific problems of an optimality forspecific versions have receiveddiscussionin the theory an argument with a more literature. Oxford.MS.this underestimates the complexity problems involved and failsto do justiceto the influence thatsuch proposals WhatKripkeneeds. forthcoming. Mlillikan. we may equate what theymean by a given (mental) expressionwith. Reality and Representation. Oxford. 32. Basil Blackwell.In 'Naturalizing Content'.176. and. and OtherBiological Categories. This content downloaded from 168.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. holds that optimal conditionsare the conditions under which the meaning of the expressionwas firstacquired.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. The literature supplies what is. cit. non-intentionally againstthe existence specifiable optiof thissection mality conditions. that this theoryis subject to the same difficulties 50 For theories of this form see: David Papineau. is a set of principled considerations of non-semantically. I984. Kripkeis very short withsuchpossibleelaborations ofa dispositional theory. presentsa Language. 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. Fred Dretske. against teleological theoriessee my Essays on Meaning and Belief. 'A Theory of Conteint'. incapable of mistaken judgements. MIT.so I shall not even consider whetherthey meet the intensionalone. surely. loc.52 Here. loc. Psjychosemantics. and Fodor. proposalsprovidedifferent characterizations of the conditionsthatare supposed to be optimalin thissense. 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.Part I. J. p..TheRule-Following Considerations 537 Optimaldispositions 23.ifhisrejection ofdispositional is currently exert. accounts to succeed. See his 'A Theory of Content'. however. I987.underoptimalconditions. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . in Meaning in Mind: EssaYs on the Wfork forthcoming Fodor. forexample. hence. 52 Against Dretske see Fodor. in effect. Fodor: 'Psychosemantics'. Part II. I argue of/jerry as confrontstandard optimalityversions.but does not reallyprovide. 5 This amounts to saying that such theoriescannot meet the extensional requirement. I shy awaayfromsaying whetherR.5." But. I987. Thought theoryof this form.
thisamounts is a set is thatthere theory ofa dispositional an optimality version behind underwhichNeil cannotmake conditions specifiable of naturalistically Under thoseconof presented items. Neil to be disposed Neil to meanhorse by'horse'is for facts: for meaning two are optimal.54 in the identification mistakes ofhimonlyif in front that there is a horse he wouldbelieve then. stiff constraints imposedby a were not requiredto meet the rather and in non-semantic specification reductive dispositionalism-namely. The dispositionalist true.5. ditions. thevery idea ofa wholly For. whenhe applies'horse'to and thaton thoseoccasions Neil meanshorse. 'horse' under in turn that. relation) (object. It willbe worthwhile repertoire. S and concept (8) For anysubject be sucha setof conditions? Could there Notice.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. suchas to preclude 'horse'willgetappliedonlyto whatit means.538 Paul A.'horse'. thethought to his mistaking cows.(ii) underthoseconditions theuse of naturalistically. Neil and a particular expression. a priori willbe suchas to yield setofconditions 0. it was supposed to provide sumedthevery properties to satisfy bothofthese to argueis thatit is impossible WhatI propose conditions simultaneously.when toapply theexpression Neil is disposed properties of The end result is a dispositional reconstruction in thissenseoptimal.Now. a cow fora horse.But that it of the property willget tokened (in the beliefmode) onlyin respect means: look at the out what any expression So.whenconditions conditions mustreallybe mustbe satisfied: (i) the specified conditions itwillbe false that thepossibility oferror-otherwise. Clearly. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .intuitively. without theconditions must be specified purely thetheory willhaveasor intentional materials-otherwise. and objective contents Optimaldispositions non-intentionally is aftera non-semantically.thatwhereR is the conceptof an objective forR. evenif 0 equations we oughtnot to expectoptimality property. Let it be clear. anysemantic a reconstruction of. 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.to beginwith. say. 25. which specifiable of the form: equations optimality R: O-(S judgesRx-+Rx). Boghossian somecare. thoseconditions.Consider outwith to laytheproblem 24. This content downloaded from 168. implies there is one. objective non-intentional terms.176. to figure expresses. to call onlyhorses'horse'. looking cowson darknights.118 on Sun. are conditions to.
56 versus inaccessible a distinction betweenaccessible of theory We are now in a positionto see. See. such that.176.thata dispositional meaning. Thought an property.I986. I25. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ed.under0. occasion to discussconstitutive This content downloaded from 168. of fallwhere. fora Oxford. It nota constitutive distinction. Let us call this exampleofthecontrasting as representing an extreme contents. however. The point is that.or because beliefthatthe onlybirdsin the immediate vicinity the Pope says goes and his beliefthatthe Pope of his beliefthatwhatever in Subject.but it is typicalto think agree. inaccessible contentsin the first to arguing against the dispositional theoryon neutral turn.thereis no necessaryfunction forsuch a property. J.subjectiveor objective. is committedthereby to treatingevery the concept as if it were accessible. and Context. 5 Clarendon Press. this objection will not impress anyone reluctant to place. The basic difficulty belief which fix belief.Thus.appropriate of circumstances Philosophersdistive about those contentsunder those circumstances. forexample.given a suitablymediatingset of backgroundassumptions. a magpie.thatpainsare constituted claimsofthissortlateron in thepaper. of objective oftheconcept formulation similar one. under normal circumstances.as a resultof seeing a currawong. Pettit.55 is witha class of contentsforwhichtheredoes exista range The contrast authoritasubjectsare necessarily such that. ofPerception'. (I takeit no one is tempted judgements we makeaboutthem. or because of his further are magpies.118 on Sun. robust: just about any stimuluscan cause just about any belief. thatthisis an epistemological 56 It is important to appreciate by ourbest constituted thatit is therefore is accessible.539 Considerations TheRule-Following of any givenperson'sabilitiesor judgements: whosenatureis independent froma in otherwords. by virtue of being committedto the existence of optimality equations for every concept. ground:forany concept.We shallhave by thejudgements aboutour pains. I countenancewholly objective. McDowell and P. Neil may come because of his to believe Lo. distinction Of course. fixationis typicallymediated by backgroundtheory-what contents a thinker is preparedto judge will depend upon what othercontentshe is arbitrarily prepared to judge. terms. again typically. in non-semantic. p.about whatcontents about pain about shape as whollyobjectiveand of judgements judgements class.ofcourse. thefactthata content from does notfollow from thefactthatwe are authoritative to conclude aboutit. Error and theObjectivity 'Cartesian TylerBurge. belief that that is just what magpies look like. holism and belief Optimaldispositions of the processes derivesfromthe holisticcharacter 26. therefore. It is thus committedto obliterating betweenaccessible and inaccessiblecontents. and non-intentional tions0.it is impossibleto satisfy of a set of condidispositionalism'sbasic requirement:the specification subjects are immune from error about judgements involving that concept. given person's abilitiesand judgementsto truthsabout that property. And this dependence is.5.
optimality non-intentionin which allyspecified situation itis guaranteed that noneofthispotential infinity of background clusters of beliefis present.if we had thatwe would alreadyhave a reductive theory of meaning-wewouldnotneeda dispositional theory! Which is to saythat. The thought currawong can gettriggered in anyofan that is a magpie something bya currawong indefinite number of ways.118 on Sun. what the content justifies scepticism? Not. willinvolve. showing somehow inherently 'queer'. far more conclusion. property thatit is. a magpie in respect ofnon-magpies.5. If these are correct. failing that. ifthere is to be anysortofreductive story aboutmeaning at all. And so on. meaning? OF This content downloaded from 168. an background Specifying condition for'magpie'. think. therelooks to be a potential infinity of such clusters of belief. sceptic doesnotmerely drawan anti-reductionist he concludes. one of two further things is needed.it cannot taketheform ofa dispositional theory. beliefs whichcouldmediate Now.540 Paul A. VI ANTI-REDUCTIONIST CONCEPTIONS MEANING An argument fromqueerness? considerations 27. a situation characterized ofall thebeliefs specifying which bytheabsence fromnon-magpies could potentially mediatethe transition to magpie beliefs. of magpies. But. necessary and sufficient conditions forbeinga beliefwitha certain content. that there radically.Since. a frontal assaulton theirreducible Or. mediating background non-intentionally specified situation is a non-semantically. there wouldappearto be plenty of reasonto doubt the reducibility of content properties to naturalistic But Kripke's properties. therefore. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Eitheran totheeffect independent that argument only naturalistic properties arereal. a magpie beliefs arefixed that a thinker willbe disposed holistically implies to think Lo.corresponding to the potentially indefinite number of background thetransition. the anti-reductionism by At a minimum itself. Boghossian saysthatthispresented is a magpie. ofan indefinite number provided onlythatthe appropriate beliefs are present. But how is such a situation to be specified? Whatis neededis precisely whata dispositional wassupposed toprovide: theory a setofnaturalistic namely. theorist without use of semantic or in whicha thinker intentional a situation will be disposedto materials. how does all this bear on the prospects fora dispositional of theory A dispositional has to specify. But theobservation that onlyin respect Lo. of course. in question. optimality at a minimum. in Mackie'sphrase. of course. simply couldnotbe any content properties. however. Suppose we grantthe anti-reductionism. a non-semantically.176.
5. 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. 51-2. it the appropriate anti-reductionist suggestion. passage containsa couple of considerations The first chargeis thatwe would have no idea how to explainour ability " 58 K.one stateper expression.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.. thatintrospection butalso thatit is logically ofunderstanding is a chimera. stateevenmoresui generis orheadaches orany'qualitative' tosensations primitive state. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ofcertainty whenever it are awareofit with somefair degree yetwe supposedly mean thathe does.. In the firstplace. pp. it leavesthenature wayWittgenstein mayevenacceptit. 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.at present. buta state states.He does not even tryto defend a reductionist principle about the intentional. nottobe assimilated ofa uniquekind ofitsown. nortobe assimilated in an appropriate and ifit is taken Such a movemayin a sensebe irrefutable. mental content propertiesmust simply be taken for granted.But it seemsdesperate: stateof 'meaning addition by of thispostulated state the primitive primitive It is notsupposed to be an introspectible state. impossible (or at least forthere to be a stateof 'meaning thatthere logicaldifficulty) is a considerable addition by "plus"' at all. Wittgenstein Wittgenstein's sceptical argument. "plus"'-completely mysterious. with properties prospectof identification for this suggestion?The Does Kripke manage to create a difficulty thatmay be so construed. occurs.without otherwisedescribed. propertiesto physical/functional reduction of mental content in otherwords.176..and his brief attemptat a and unconvincing: 'queerness' argumentis half-hearted addition by 'plus' is a by arguing thatmeaning Perhaps we maytryto recoup. todispositions. 3 above. This content downloaded from 168.. It Such a statewouldhaveto be a finite object.at some appropriate level Accordingto anti-reductionism. See thepaperscitedundern. Perhapsit is simply a thanwe havearguedbefore. properties.Considerations 54I TheRule-Following is thathe The singlegreatest weaknessin Kripke's scepticalargument fails to bring offeitherrequirement.is that there is no interesting mentalcontent. in myexplicitly table. thealleged'qualitative' state showsthat we havesaid hitherto.rather.118 on Sun. contained in ourfinite minds.I take it thatit misconstrues reallyis not plausible that there are 'primitivestates' of meaningpublic The process in certainways.For howelse can each ofus be confident in is the logical difficulty implicit additionby 'plus'? Even more important as I think notmerely that argues.
forexample.62 But in the contextof Kripke's dialectic. contains information nevertheless aboutthecorrect applicabilityof a sign in literally no end of distinct situations. however. nowin theother. familiar. mental with We knowthat states contents arestates with general infinitary normative it is precisely characters.this to insisting amounts thatwe findthe idea of a contentful merely state without problematic. we see theNecker cube nowwithone face forward. whenwe see them nowin one way. provides notes thenonof contentful phenomenal character statesprecludesan introspective accountof their epistemology.before coherent irrealism aboutcontent. why notcountenance we should suchstates. of all things. realizedin a finite that mind. 62 See below. nowwith And we knowimmediately another. no suchproof. This content downloaded from 168. Proceedings oftheAPA. howwe are seeingthese precisely objects as. the antireductionist suggestion emerges as a stable responseto the sceptical one that is untouched conclusion. we required on theorder ofa something proofthatno satisfactory epistemology was ultimately to be had. incidentally. byWittgenstein himself. But thischange of'aspect'. again.542 Paul A. an experiential I havein mind phenomenon.'Individualism of Philosophy. Now. But. _7ournal November I988. if we endorsed a non-reductionist conception of their content. no one who has contemplated theproblem of selfcan failto be impressed knowledge But I think that byitsdifficulty. WhatKripke needs. First. We see theduck-rabbit nowas a duck. and Self-Knowledge'. is nevertheless nota change for qualitative. muchdiscussed ofseeing-as.nowas a rabbit. that one ofthemorestriking examples oftheintrospective discernment of a non-qualitative mentalfeature is providedby.becauseit does notobviously follow from the fact thata mental statelacksan individuative phenomenology.because theremay be non-introspective accountsof self-knowledge. Boghossian to knowour thoughts. and serious. and D. istconsiderations. Davidson. thephenomenon. withthatobservation thattheentire ifhe is topulloff discussion began. Butthis he does notprovide.60And second. introspectible. 60 See. forit is farfrom it.'Knowing One's Own Mind'. hisanti-reductionargument. January 61 It is interesting to note. an argument from is somesubstantive distinct from queerness. None of this should be understood as suggesting that an antireductionism aboutcontent is unproblematic. There are. Philosophical Topics. Tyler Burge. He merely that Kripke.118 on Sun. And thisis problematic fortworeasons.176.6' I987. thatit is not to theanti-reductionist second is that Kripke's itis objection suggestion utterly mysterious how therecould be a finite state. although manifestly insomething introspectible.59 we wouldbe forgiven we allowedthisto driveus to a dubiously if. forexample. thequalitative character ofthe visualexperience remains thesameevenas theaspectchanges. difficulties an antireconciling reductionism aboutcontent properties with a satisfying conception oftheir causal efficacy. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . adducing anyindependent reasonwhywe should.5. seemingly by all the considerations in the latter's favour. SpringI989. adduced 5 For discussion of someof thedifficulties see my'Content and Self-Knowledge'.
John we can dig downto a levelat to think it is a mistake lights. of course. thatcorrectness.in this vision. considerations ofa private thepossibility thusprecluding ofa communal practice. does that conception a non-reductionist 28. context He writes: language. warnsus not to tryto dig below'bedrock'. is a precondition to theconstitutive answers of substantive How.One is likelyto be struckby the sheer contingency of on which. cit. a Rule'. on Following 'Wittgenstein 65 Ibid. not thought have certainly attractive suggestion an anti-reductionist lessonsforthe important in thoseconsiderations theyhave discerned while rejecting of meaning. 348. p. p. loc. offacts aboutbehavior of the of meaning.. 34I.forexample. a senseofwhat. By Wittgenstein's notions(like 'following for normative whichwe no longerhave application according to therule'). 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.65 to thenotion ofrule-following relation an intimate of thefamiliar WittgenMcDowell'scharacterization This is. incorrect) him to a McDowell does not takethis to commit Oddly.118 on Sun. him. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .On the forthe possibility the conditions moralof therule-following he claimsthatit is the discernible contrary.5. 349.. to avoidacquiring reading without describable usingthenotion and 'inner' episodes.. Wittgenstein a web liesdownthere: as itwere. according thetemptation.. This content downloaded from 168. about no substantive results from which a position aboutmeaning. in lightof therejection 63 64 Ibid.. of the possibility correctunderstanding of in virtue question: answers to the constitutive reductive substantive possessmeaning? whatdo expressions that: has written McDowell. in communal ofagreement responses a certain measure claimthat steinian to be motivated? But howis sucha thesis formeaning. can existonlyin the and hencemeaning.543 Considerations TheRule-Following McDowell on privacyand community of meaning.however. contingencies ofthenotion applicability .the possibility between individuals resemblances seemsto depend meaning And: the below 'bedrock'would undermine disorderliness It is truethata certain bear So theunderlying ofrule-following.p. quietism of meaning can be gleaned.63 to McDowell'sWittgenstein.. If we endorse disturbnothingin our considerations mean that the rule-following A number whohavefound ofwriters conception ofthatnotion? ordinary so.176. in But it is difficult.
part. Boghossian question. . McDowell'sproblems his rejection of difficulty confronting a would-beinterpreter of Wittgenstein is how to reconcile ofmeaning. cit. actual and without any prospect of reconstruction truthsabout communal use.and is one of think therealproblem Argument posed by theSceptical is notthat ofanswering the fundamental Buttheproblem concerns. Wittgenstein's answer given howand whythecorrect The problem is thatofseeing Argument.offers That viewengagestheconstitutive of forthe necessity argument thereby.The main Wittgenstein's butbya meeting ofminds'. Ioc. own. say. . in But McDowell.176.5. In fact.544 Paul A.I think. can be correct. goodexample is acute.could conceivablygroundit? view consideredabove. But ifwe are simply forgranted. p. 67 'Wittgenstein's of Theoretical consideration and theCentral LinguisRule-Following Project tics'. and on thecontrary. as I have alreadynoted. 237. Consider the contrastwith the communitarian answerto a substantive question.are possible only where one's fellows. notbya match externals (facts hereecho.66 of meaning judgement-dependence Wright on the that: conception about theanti-reductionist has written 29.shortof a substantive account. most centrally.correctness..rejectsthe suggestion in termsof communaldispositions. including. 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. 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.' though.Indeed.118 on Sun. But this constitutive questions. and generates. thatcorrectapplicationmightbe analysed myview. with in conformity is said to consist a communalpractice:since correctness and with it meaning. a straightforward it. is it to be argued for? The claim that communal practice is on the concept claim. 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.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. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . CrispinWright a to Kripke'sScepticmayseemto provide flat-footed [t]hissomewhat response I . he normsare accountofcorrectness: rejectstheverydemandfora substantive partof the 'bedrock'.unreduced and to be allowed to take the idea of correctness in terms of. rightly thereare otherswithwhom one may conform. This content downloaded from 168.beneathwhichwe mustnot dig. merereflection necessary formeaningis a surprising constitutive ofmeaningdoes notrevealit. if contentproperties 66 Thoughsee hisremarks which I do notunderstandon a 'linguistic community I am afraid inmere tojustanyone). accessible [that] is conceived as boundtogether. And what.how. thefamily-resemblance concepts. of 'loss of problems.
if the former. Wright. rather.Wrightreconstructs extensively and inferential concepagainstboth introspective ing set of considerations exhaustingthe epistemologies tions of self-knowledge. the target of the ruleis not the realityof contentfacts.a considerations following if you thinkthesecome to the same (or Platonist. determine the truth-value which confer statesof affairs constituted theydo not trackindependently truthor falsity upon them.can theybe known?As we saw. use this question to embarrasshis anti-reductionist projectin mind. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . is between facts which are constitutedindependentlyof our judgements.howeveroptimal. so he claims. rather. concerning of anyconsiderations independently true and is no distance between being ments failthetest. under those optimal circumstances. which pass the test.545 Considerations TheRule-Following either in experientialor granted. conceptionof contentby Wrightarguesforthis'judgement-dependent' model. that facts about content are 'judgement-dependent'. of sentencesascribingcontentto mentalstates. Kripke attempted dispositional opponent. is a standardconstituted Truth.176.has a more constructive logical question will reveal. undercognitively idealconditions. which what we judgeto be true is constitutively for suchjudgements.68 whenwe operate to the We may explain the contrast Wrighthas in mind here by recurring idea of an accessible content(see above). beingbest.. 68 Ibid. cognitively . Pressingthe epistemohowever. a question may be raised about the correct optimalcircumstances. Pace Kripke. This content downloaded from 168.that judgementsunder constituted independently the facts in question? A fact is those circumstancessimply constitute if the latter. 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.truth.. withrespect ments-judgements truth. 246.p.and factswhich are constiideal tutedprecisely by the judgementswe would formunder cognitively circumstances.but.And the claim is that facts about content have to be construed on the latter model. subjects are exceptionallywell-equipped to track the relevant. thus. and circumstance-and ofbothjudger idealconditions matter.118 on Sun..then. without prospect of reconstruction to terms. explanationfor this authority:is it that. for judgements For judgecognitive pedigree. An accessible contentis one about which subjects are necessarily authoritativeunder cognitively Now. facts?or is it. judgement-independent Best judgements constitutively thing) conception of their constitution. judgement-dependent judgement-independent The contrast.5. Drawing available on the alternative the epistemologies attacking an intereston Wittgenstein's actual text. presumably. there bycontrast.
what does this amount to? For illustrative purposes. by regardingthem as constituted by truthsconcerningour best judgements about mental content.. every propertywill turn out to be accessible.118 on Sun.and so a firstand foremost. So long as facts about our mental states are construedas independent of.Is it reallytruethatWittgenstein's accomplishment' theoriesof self-knowledge? Supposing it does.or.So goes Wright'sargument.formedunder the relevantC-conditions.5. biconditionalof the following form: if C: S would judge x to be blue+-+x is blue. aresatisfied in a case is logically ofanytruths thedetails particular independent concerning ofthe extension of colourconcepts. is precludedfrompresupposing facts about the colours of objects.avoidinga 'whatever-it-takes' ofcolour the accessibility Now.iffactsabout colourare to judgement-dependent? We would need. This content downloaded from 168.Wrightoffers the case of colour.but their judgement-dependence? out. is that thequestion whether theC-conditions.On the assumption.546 Paul A.176. as trackedby our self-regarding judgements.pp. Here I have adequatelyaddressedwithinthe confines to settle for raising a question about whethera judgement-dependent conceptionof content could everbe the cogentmoral of any argument. But not just any biconditionalof this form will serve to secure the accessibility of colour. hence. terms. then. For example. to secure the accessibility of colour facts. mental is thatwe must not construefactsconcerning 30. of anything else on the left-hand-side. 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. whatit would taketo groundnotmerely What is needed. indeed. Boghossian available to his opponent.For unless the specification of the C-conditions. Well.unless restrictions are placed on the permissible specificationsof C. and difficult Wright'sdiscussion raises a number of interesting quesall 'cognitive discussiondestroys tions. The suggestion and thatthisis to be accomplished content as genuineobjectsof cognition. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . it must be further requiredthat C be specifiedin substantial formulation. So. we can have no satisfactory explanation of our abilityto know them. 247-8.and. it will remain entirelyopen whethersubjects' judgements. 69 Ibid. as Wrightpoints facts. so substantially specified.69 This seems right. of the presentessay. just let C be: conditions under which S is infallibleabout colour.thatKripke's unstablecontentirrealism is to be avoided at all costs.What would have to be true.thatleaves the judgement-dependent conception as the only contender.
fixedconstitution dently is preciselytruthsabout best judgementthatfixthose facts.thatjudgementsabout meaningconcerna rather 70 For a veryilluminating thatwould have to be met. the chic or the fashionable.5. to robustrealism this paper-if it has one-is thatthe major alternatives are beset by veryserious difficulties. 246-54. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the contentof the said to fixthe factsabout mental contenthave to be presupjudgements will alwayspresuppose posed. And thatmeans thatany such biconditional of constitution by best of mentalcontentquite independent a constitution judgement. The proposal that Reductionist about meaning concern communal dispositionsis unsatisjudgements not merelybecause.547 Considerations TheRule-Following of the conditions factsabout colour. and.176. of the conditions discussion pp. Let robust Then the moral of and judgement-independent.in connection with facts about colour or sound. at a minimum.familiar. advocated by Kripke's Wittgenstein. This content downloaded from 168. implausibly. are in orderas well. the start. are factual.A should have been clear from difficulty In a way.an intuitive a conception of a given fact is. it would appear. by definition. No doubt. otherrequirements seeinghow factsabout mental alreadyclearthatthereis a seriousdifficulty on judgementthe statedrequirements contentcould conceivablysatisfy dependence.for example.seems no better.see ibid. mentsabout meaningare non-factual-appears not even to be a coherent variant. I trust. and prospects robust realism Conclusion: -problems designatethe view thatjudgementsabout meaning realism 3I.it precludes the possibilityof factory themeaning but because it appears bound to misconstrue communalerror.given what judgement-dependence in the case of mentalcontentshould amountsto.irreducible.For it cannotin by our judgements generalbe truethatfactsabout contentare constituted about content: facts about content.as promoted..though less clearly appropriate. impossibleas a conceptionof factsabout mentalcontent. For it is inconceivable. (An error-theoretic Churchland. For satisfaction reallydid determine would always presuppose some antecedescribed on the left-hand-side theclaim thatit thusundermining of colourfacts. The rathermore promising(and more popular) proposal. For. that judgeIrrealism-the view. judgements. 'judgement-dependent' by our conception of that fact according to which it is constituted The idea is clearlyappropriatein connectionwithfactsabout judgements. constitutedindependentlyof the are presupposedby the model itself.70 But it is. by Paul option.118 on Sun. that the biconditionals be freeof any assumpthat theirleft-hand-sides the requirement satisfy tions about mental content.) versionsof realism appear to be false. of every expression in the language.
theorizing programs an anti-reductionism aboutmeaning how are we to reconcile properties witha satisfying oftheir causalor explanatory conception efficacy? And. it.A fewbrief remarks willhaveto suffice. ultimately. 72 Againsee myibid. ifreductionist areeschewed? Second: aboutmeaning. bybestjudgement ofmeaning.548 Paul A. is bestunderstood as a thesis reductionism aboutmeaning aboutmental notaboutlinguistic So anti-reductionism. that considerations itis hard. conception ideaofconstitution because thevery be a stable option. to livewiththatfact. " See my'Content and Self-Knowledge'.176. meaning Let me heremention that survive therejection justa fewofthequestions of reductionist For one thing. ifhe is ally. norreducible.finally. ofcourse. theprospects A reductionist would have it thatmeanings are fixedby certain kindsof that thesort offact couldhardly be known observationdispositional fact. with Butiftheconsiderations thealternatives thissentiment.Robustrealism harbours some the solutions to whichappearnot to be trivial. seemsto me.Meaning tobe neither with properties appear eliminable. in a difficulties: it is hardto see howtheidealizations are to be specified non-question-begging way. as I have stressed. hopeto address anyofthesequestions adequately here. ifreductionism is eschewed.7' But I do notsee that theantiembarrassment If anything. to an inferential to have a substantial epistemology that worse conception-aconception maybe. it is timethatwe learned Perhaps I do notpretend thatthiswillbe easy. cit. First:whatsortof roomis leftfor There are threemain difficulties. invites. meaning. 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.72 The anti-reductionist laboursunderno comparable burden. As forthe chargethattherewould be nothing leftfora theory of it seemsto me simply to be. false. As far as I amconcerned. unanswered questions. thanimplausible.is notonlyconsistent butpositively a theory about with. standit. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ofmeaning a judgement-dependent seemsnotto And.It wouldappearto follow of self-knowledge. anyspecial are better forhimthanforhis opponent. our (first-person) ofthem? finally: howare we to explain knowledge I cannot. loc. This content downloaded from 168. it reductionist needfeel aboutthis. alsotoagree anti-reductionist conception untouched. canvassed against andifitis true the'rule-following' leavean arecorrect. a nonprogrammes. Boghossian also appearsto confront serious certainsort of idealizeddisposition. I cannotsee that an antiTo begin with the last questionfirst. as I haveargued elsewhere. reductionist conception of contenthas a specialproblemabout selfno onehasa satisfactory knowledge. as I undermeaning. explanation ofourability to know ourownthoughts.118 on Sun.5. that thereductionist is committed.
we foregoreductionist programmes thereis thequestionofmentalcausation:how are we to Finally.though.And.thatwe shall run out of thingsto do.But. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Grandy. if stein's. As Davidson showed. termsof.118 on Sun.of course. 'MindMatters'. nor is best understoodin theoryof radical interpretation of the Its propergoal is the articulation aspirations. it has justifiably are to rationalizebehaviourat all. of the compositional structure theories There is hardlyany fear.reductionist the speech and employin interpreting successfully principles we evidently is about mentalcontent an anti-reductionism mindsof others. USA ofPhilosophy Department PAUL A. that propositionalattitudeexplanations are not causal explanations. How do public language play in that symbolscome to acquire meaningand whatrole does thought withwanting in mysenseis consistent process?Secondly. propositional have a genuine commitus to holdingthatcontentproperties explanations action. attitudes-that propositional as opposed to a wish or a desire.and so with of mentalcontent.and withthe claim thatthe graspingof certainmental contentsdepends on the graspingof others. The by whichwe interpret a generalaccountof the principles important work of Quine.anti-reductionism otherpeople. consistentboth with substantivetheoriesof the nature of the perfectly is. of whatmakesa givenmentalstatea belief.i980.'MakingMind Matter andJerry This content downloaded from 168. papers Topics. I believe.176. BOGHOSSIAN 48109 Oxford Oxford.74 University of Michigan Ann Arbor. and Events. whetheror not the view was Wittgenfew adherentstoday. conceptionof content. witha satisfying about contentproperties reconcilean anti-reductionism It is a view long associated with conception of their causal efficacy? Wittgenstein himself. But.Philosophical Fodor. Reasons and Causes'.then.5. Loewer. then attitudeexplanations propositional they must do so by causing it.and otherson the neitherneeds. SpringI989. eness of physics? foran anti-reductionist This is. how is an causal role in the explanationof intentional to accord thema genuinecausal about contentproperties anti-reductionist to the essentialincompletrole withoutcommitting implausibly. in his Essayson Actions 73 See 'Actions. and much interesting remainsto be done. if in the theoryof mentalcontent. More'. Lewis. Davidson. University 7' For some I987. Press.It may be thatit will eventually work But the subject is relativelyunexplored. LePoreandB. that he reaches forit. so. Journal ofPhilosphy.73 But propositionalattitudesrationalize partlyby virtueof theircontent-it is partlybecause Neil's beliefis that attitude thereis winein his glass. himself. now. the single greatestdifficulty proveits undoing. MI.549 Considerations TheRule-Following the relation between thought and language. recent seeE. finally.
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