Mind Association

The Rule-Following Considerations Author(s): Paul A. Boghossian Source: Mind, New Series, Vol. 98, No. 392 (Oct., 1989), pp. 507-549 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2255039 . Accessed: 01/09/2013 20:48
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The Rule-Following Considerations'
PAUL A. BOGHOSSIAN This is thefifthof our commissioned State of the Art Series INTRODUCTION of interest in the i. Recentyearshave witnessed a greatresurgence of the later Wittgenstein, writings especiallywith those passagesroughly, Philosophical Investigations and Remarks on the ##I/38-242 Foundations ofMathematics, section VI-that areconcerned with thetopic ofrules.Much ofthecredit forall thisexcitement, unparalleled sincethe of Wittgenstein in the earlyI96os, mustgo to Saul heyday scholarship It is easyto explain Kripke'sWittgenstein onRulesandPrivate Language.2 why. To beginwith,the dialecticKripkeuncovered fromWittgenstein's is enormously on itsownterms. discussion exciting On Kripke's reading, on rule-following thepassages are concerned withsomeoftheweightiest of meaning, the reality, questionsin the theory questions-involving ofmeaning-that incontemandprivacy reducibility, occupy centre-stage as poraryphilosophy. Furthermore, Kripke represented Wittgenstein and extremely claimsconcerning defending a set of unified provocative fortheseclaimswithpowerand thesequestions. And,finally, he argued floodof articles and bookson the subjectof ruleThe ensuing clarity. and warranted. following was bothpredictable to survey thisliterature. The present paperis theresult ofan invitation on what It couldhavebeenaboutexegetical therecent discussions matters, have had to teachus about the historical Wittgenstein's philosophical witha it is almostentirely concerned views. In the event,however, of ofthephilosophical contributions. Limitations assessment retrospective thata choicebe made; and the philosophical assessment space dictated to do.3Despitea lotofdiscussion, there is seemed themore fruitful thing of Kripke's of the precisenature roomforan improved understanding
1 I am grateful including in thispaper, oftheissuescovered discussion peoplefor helpful to many Richard Allen, LarrySklar, Rorty, Barry Loewer, Fodor,Barry Burgess, Jerry John MarkJohnston, in various and participants SteveYablo, Nick White, Neil Tennant, Saul Kripke, Crispin Wright, Church, Jennifer aredue to Paul Benacerraf, Specialthanks at theUniversity ofMichigan. seminars and David Velleman. 'K'. 2 Cambridge, Harvard Press,I982. Henceforth, University interpretation of come to despairof a satisfactory 3 The main reasonis thatI have actually to appearin of Meaningin Wittgenstein', views.I tryto say whyin 'The Problem Wittgenstein's forthcoming. ed. K. Puhl,De Gruyter, Meaning Scepticism,

Mind, Vol. 98

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392

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October I989

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Press I989 OxfordUniversity

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5o8 Paul A. Boghossian

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

KRIPKE

ON MEANING

PROBLEM

AND

THE

SCEPTICAL

The sceptical problem As Kripke seesit,theburden oftherule-following is that considerations it cannot be trueofanysymbol thatit expresses someparticular literally This is the now-famous conceptor meaning. conclusion' he 'sceptical attributes to Wittgenstein:
2.

function by '+'...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Withthisclarification to settlethe question:can Kripkedevelopthe same sortof a position ofthought as he develops meaning-sceptical argument against a language Andtheanswer is: clearly.'' in placewe arefinally ofthenormativity thesis in 6. expressions possess thesamesenseas publiclanguage correct use in precisely expressions do. what its correctness conditions are and in virtueof what theyare determined.For:what on of Not other of in meaning expressions thelanguage thought? thoughts. and does (in intent. It wouldappear. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . according hypothesis. arenaturally understood as theproperties ofthestates or events thatinstantiate thosemodes. natural and plausible. anyway) include mental content within thescopeofthescepticism willhangon it. nothing fixes their meaning.judgement. for.as promised. Boghossian it aims to promote. This content downloaded from 168.5 I4 Paul A.desire.hence.in proper Kripkean fashion.118 on Sun. And so we see thatthe sceptical argument must.176. I shallhenceforth l Since nothing write as ifa ofthought language hypothesis weretrue. becausecorrectness cannot be reconstructed dispositionally. it neednotmatter which whose something-a state. to see.and sinceit willease exposition. to get tokened undercertain circumstances on a disposition constitutes. content. tokening or factsabout associatedqualitative expressions episodes. For. After all. and (b) thatthe representation whosetokening possessesa combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure.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. fixes the against public language? yes. And not dispositional factsaboutthetokening conditions of of mentalese sincemeaningful sions.otherwise. event. Butitshouldbe quiteclearthat nothing argument on theassumption depends ofstructure: eveniftherepresentation wereto no internal possess syntax. we couldstillask. andno natural way to bring thenormativity requirement to bearagainst it. willbe no natural way to formulate ofthought a dispositional theory content. Therehas to be or particular. thought are the semantic of syntactically and semantically properties structured in thesceptical bearers. In other of thought contents to a language words. contents do not figure in a mental life exceptas subtended by a particular mode belief.however. of such actual Not factsabout the pain of viciousregress.we arealso nowin a position ofthought needed. thatnothing Indeed. ofa certain itspossession Andalthough dispositional theory. So. thatthesceptical argument's strategy does presuppose thatcontent properties havesome sortof bearer (evenifnot a structured there necessarily one). this commitment it is also very is. I suppose. wish and.strictly speaking contestable.can.forfamiliar of such expresreasons.

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

at leaston theordinary a understanding itcannot be true ofall expressions-in rule. considerations areplaying roleinKripke's argument. G. for in the merepossibility example. The pointis thatthe a rule-as opposed to that of merely ordinary conceptof following 14 For example. maywellbe right aboutthis. According to Crispin Wright. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Hacker.and the offollowing a rule. Bakerand P. Expressions cometohave correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of of correctness them. strictly a misnomer forthediscusspeaking. 16 Withone relatively minor to be notedbelow.I think. mentalexpressions-that theycome to have correctness conditions as a result of peoplefollowing rulesin respect of them. The 'rule-following' considerations? 8.118 on Sun. 15 See op. concept I shallarguethat. at length. It wouldnotbe inappropriate towonder at this what all this hasto point do withthe topicof rule-following? is the connection Where. cit. sionon offer.176. I do notwishtoargue aboutthis It doesseemtomethat. on theone hand.See his 'Against Kripkean Tennant Scepticism'. Neil Tennant Synthese. the perception thatthisaffects the force of thesceptical problem aboutmeaning is a result oftaking thedialogic tooseriously. Many writers seemto assumethatthe connection is straightforward. pp. 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..But hereagain. Kripkeis not interested of correctness he is interested in thepossibility conditions. he adduces intention whatever Kripkemayhavehad. ofcorrectness conditions that 5 The problem maybe.precisely. itcannot be true of particular.on theother. has complained that a convincing Kripke's sceptic doesnotultimately bent-rule supply of reinterpretation his interlocutor's words.pp.5. 772-5..14But. McGinn. oughtnot to be any residualtemptation to thinkthatepistemological a critical In anycase.one mayagreethat theproblem is constitutive in character. howI shallpresent them. as reasoning they maybe represented as follows. of course.5I6 Paul A. once we havecorrected for thedistortions induced there bythedialogic setting. exploring oftheconcept offollowing But. butacceptable to it are to answers to an epistemic be subject constraint.anyway. forthcoming.16 That. exception This content downloaded from 168.hence.known non-inferentially. between theconcepts ofmeaning and content.op.pp. 1984.'On Misunderstanding Wittgenstein: Kripke'sPrivate LanguageArgument'. and hence that 'the rulefollowing considerations' is.at leastin one'sowncase. it and yetbelieve to havean epistemological dimension. forged? in an important sense. 409-I0. cit. theconsiderations on behalf ofthesceptical to epistemoloconclusion appeartoowenothing gicalconstraints and can be stated their without is help. is essentially constitutive in character.exploring the possibility is tantamount to thepossibility ofrule-following. Boghossian part-epistemological scepticism about meaning. the answeris 'nowhere'. 140-50.

CrispinWrighthas decribedthis intuitive veryclearly: involve typically to think. thetime castling at thatpoint. A. situation and to know presented for in thecourse ofa gameofchess.118 on Sun. Basil Blackwell. further supply conditions p. lie contentful mentalstates. 255. ed. whichin turnmakesessential attitude. Theoretical II My onlydisagreeI984. pp. (and the that configuration ofwhether and on a knowledge ofthemove. I intend no particular theoretical implications bytalking ofa term.however. Correctly of the features relevant both to apprehend a double success:it is necessary features. and turns is the factthatdistinguishes utteranceinto assertion into the makingof judgment. in fullgenerality. the productionof a termfrommere noise. playwiththe idea of a propositional in thissense presupposesthat rule-following play withthe idea of content. 281-2.17 courseof thegame)permits previous a rule is the conceptof conceptof following the ordinary As such. verywell: is harmless. George. 18 Simon conditions. of therebeingcorrectness shall talkindifferently and of theirobeyingprinciplesof application.Kripke turnsto askinghow this property 1 and the CentralProjectof Considerations Rule-Following 'Wittgenstein's CrispinWright: I989.it cannotbe truethatmentalexpressions rules in respectof them. On pain ofregress.talkof 'rule-following' correctness. This content downloaded from 168. ofthose apprehended in thelight what. it rule-governed. Strikes Back'. itis natural applying a ruletoa newcasewill.Oxford.Simon Blackburnhas capturedthis perspective The topic is ofrules here. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .5. castling willfit orfailtofit therule. and to andincorrect application there is sucha thing as thecorrect that I there is truth andfalsity. it is a conceptthatpresupposes sequently. Having established to his satisfaction of expressing a certainmeaning.Whateverthis is. withtruth conditions of correctness its identification mentwiththispassageconcerns or justification conditions proof one speciesof a correctness condition. ofcorrect application. 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.176. in Reflections Linguistics'. have conditions mental expressions themselves acquire meaning then.conan act among whose causal antecendents theidea ofa correctness condition.'8 THE SCEPTICAL SOLUTION A non-factualist of meaning conception that no word could have the 9. 'The Individual Blackburn.Correctly at of chessmen of theconfiguration willdependbothon apprehension instance.Synthese.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. on Chomsky. are simply Truthconditions instances. help explainit. Since it makesessential not one thatcan.

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

the something like. fromthe observationthat. could be said to mean anything.21 virtue ofwhich of error. according to Kripke. introduceassertibility conditionsforjudgementsabout errorin termsof in the or lack of it. betweena given speaker'spropensities the agreement.however.Following 21 K. Let us turn now to an assessmentof the various central aspects of Kripke's argument.at least in his 'official' are madeand ofmeaning attributions We haveto see underwhatcircumstances exhortawhatroletheseattributions Wittgenstein's playin ourlives. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . evenifhe inclines under . 88..5 Considerations TheRule-Following 9 sentence The proposed account is.thiswould appear to notionsof errorand be the onlyway to give substanceto the correlative no one considered wholly in isolation fromother speakers correctness. use of a termand the community's. natureof the whollydescriptive explicationsof the view: scepticalsolution. III ARGUMENT LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT OF THE SOLITARY AGAINST and solitary accounts Constitutive language i i. in effect.. The argument against 'solitary language' emerges. p.is essentialto our ordinary The possibility concept of meaning. orvice-versa . language The argument againstsolitary io. heshould have alonecan say at his mindor behavior can he be wrong? No one else by looking ifhe does notaccordwithhis ownintention'.we could a linguisticcommunity. Since.118 on Sun.176. Thereareno circumstances what circumstances said'5'. Kripke continues.. This content downloaded from 168. And so a solitary language is impossible. Kripke is veryclear about the limited.. Under tosay'125'.. . .5. however.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.and can only be accommodatedif we widen our gaze and take and betweenour imaginedrule-follower intoconsideration the interaction Were we to do so.thisis as far [I]fwe confine ourselves to looking which we can saythat.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.

22 problem.For even ifit weretruethatour actualassertibility conditions for sentencesadvertto the dispositions meaning-attributing of a community. pp.we mightbe able to reasona prioriabout whattheir conditions. if we accept the sceptical conclusion.It would appear to followfromthis.520 Paul A. we cannot introducesubstantive 22 K.176.however. that there could not be such a language. If this is correct. or an analysisof what such rule-following conditions) 'consists in'. Communal assertibility conditions? thisworry I 2. And thiswould be a lot less thanthe resultwe were promised:namely.we ought to be puzzled about how the scepticalsolutionis goingto delivera conclusionagainstsolitary language of the requisite modal force: namely. 86-7. rather ought we will findout whatcircumstances actually license suchassertions and what rolethislicense actually to plays.It is important realizethatwe are not looking and sufficient fornecessary conditions (truth for following a rule.118 on Sun.thatthe scepticalsolutioncan do no morethanrecordthe conditions underwhichspeakersin factconsiderthe attributionof a certain concept warrantedand the endorsementof a particular responseappropriate. assertion conditions oughtto be and. the modestyit counsels is enforcedby the factthat truthconditionsforthese sentences has been jettisoned. Boghossian tionnot to think but to look. thatany possible language has to be communal. The conditionsmay not be understoodto providethe content(or assertibility truthconditions)of the meaning-attributing sentences. Indeedsuchconditions wouldconstitute to the a 'straight' solution skeptical and havebeenrejected. (That is whythe solutionon has to be sceptical:it has alreadybeen conceded thatnothingcould offer cogentlyamount to the fact that a meaning sentencereports).on pain of falling preyto the accepted scepticalconsiderations.For how. hence.we will not reasona priori about the role such statements to play.The Wittgensteinian exhortation 'not to thinkbut to look' is not merely(as it may be) good advice.however. could theprojectofproviding an account of their assertion conditionsaspire to anythingmore than descriptive adequacy? Were we equipped with an account of theirtruth of course. in the absence of a conceptionof the truth conditions ofmeaningattributing sentences. Putting to one side. potentially. to revise the forassertion conditions actuallyacceptedforthem. It is important to see that the counselled modesty-we will not reason a prioriabout the role such statements ought to play-is compulsory.. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the mostthatwould licensesayingis thatourlanguageis not solitary. let us ask whether it is in facttruethat. This content downloaded from 168.5.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.

118 on Sun. dispositions not only can we introducesuch conditions.on the contrary.. As a description of systematic deviations. solitary individual.176.26 runs as folaccount of meaning-attributions Kripke's communitarian lows: Jones's to meanaddition by 'plus' onlyifhe judgesthat SmithwilljudgeJones togive. in another form oflifemight a participant case ofanysuchuse ofourlanguage. bothin Goldfarb. ance attaching may be safelyignoredforthe purposeof raisingthe following refinements of criticalquestion:what in the scepticalconclusionrules out attributions against form(A)? It had betterrule themout. thereappears to be nothingin the scepticalconclusionthatwill rule it out.. givethisdescription he must Necessarily practise. as Kripke himselfsays.23 Consider the following: to assertof Jones thathe means additionby '+'.but have actuallydone so. 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. he is inclined with those toparticular addition agree answers problems 23 24 26 op. This cannot 'quus-like' at all. I85-7.. Ibid..and in McGinn. from This is argued This content downloaded from 168.op cit.then. of course..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..pp. p. the sceptical argumentdoes not threatenthe existence of facts.if the argument for(A) advertsto no one otherthanthe languageis to be sustained.is (A) to be ruledout.quite rough:roomhas to of our practice. cit. cit.5..521 Considerations TheRule-Following thatdo not advertto the conditionsformeaning-attributions assertibility that of a community of speakers?It appears.and theargument mathematical language preserved? againstsolitary though parasiticon I3. in a non-standard in the description terms (such as 'agreement') applyvarious unless solution toWittgenstein's be an objection way. which in McGinn. Could it perphapsbe arguedthat(A) is permissible of fact. As a matter conditions Kripke outlines? thecommunalassertibility just the opposite seems true.24 It can hardlybe objected that of the of 'sum' is being presupposedin the statement the interpretation solutionto condition.But how. as Kripke himselfrepeatedly emphasizes.. thispointis derived. of course. I46. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .the greaterimportbe made forthe importance But all these to simple cases. forthescepticalsolutionis not meantto be a straight the problem about meaning. (A) It is warranted provided he has responded with the sum in reply to most queries posed thus far.op. and manyothersuch factors. is canvassed This sortofrejoinder 25 K. arithmetical (A) is..But as Goldfarbpointsout.

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

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

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

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

for meaning. 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. language-independent property. solution.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.176. But. judgements aboutit willhaveto be factual. in form.526 Paul A.now. Not surprisingly theensuing result is unstable. of sometargeted. but they are notincoherent. instance.and it will be apt for semantic ascent provided onlythat it is a significant. But it is constitutive ofa non-factualist thesis precisely thatit denies.And thisexposesthecontradiction we havebeenstalking: a nonfactualism aboutmeaning boththattruth is robust and thatit is implies not. therefore.noticethatjudgements about an objectpossessesa robustproperty whether could hardly fail to be factual.as I shallhenceforth put it. present essay. significant. there ofthematter couldfailtobe a fact aboutwhether an object hasP. It does not matter if P is subjective or otherwise dependent upon our responses. appealing Whyshouldmatters standdifferently withmeaning discourse? The source oftheasymmetry is actually notthat hardto track down. itis truth-conditional. of theclaimis boundto arousesuspiThe uncompromising strength cion. declarative sentence.5. presuppose that an error ornon-factualist directed conception at ourtalkofmeaning precisely itself endsup denying.robust. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .however.34 thatthe preceding discussion has in sowing succeeded somedoubtsaboutthecogency of irrealist conceptions of meaning-whether in the formof a non-factualism about as in thesceptical or an error as suggested. Otherwise. declarative failstc. declarative that sentence. by Churchland. So long as it is a genuine. theory.possesstruth-conditions. willhaveto be possessed of robust truth-conditions. If P is somegenuinely robust thenit is hardto see how property.118 on Sun. In particular. therewill be no understanding its claim that a significant sentence. This content downloaded from 168. 34 Again. 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. then abouta sentence's judgements truth valuemust themselves be factual. Boghossian provided onlythatit is apt forsemantic ascent. eligibility willnotbe certified purely bythefact that a sentence is declarative and significant.fora moredetailed treatment see 'The Statusof Content'. loc. Irrealist of otnerdomainsmay not be particularly conceptions or plausible. cit. So we haveitthat thesis truth that anynon-factualist presupposes is. if truth is a robust property. It follows.

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

thenI should be disposed to apply it to all horses. on informational of thecontentofmental theories symbols. ofMinnesota University Press.This has given rise to the impressionthat his discussion of dispositionalism does not covercausal theories. For conceptual roletheories see: H. Knowledge Cambridge. in what my dispositions always be a serious indeterminacy are.includinghorsesso faraway and so farin the past thatit would be nonsense to suppose I could ever get into causal contactwith them. underrole versionsof a dispositionalaccount standably. the sake of concreteness.Io. Midwest Studiesin Philosophy. 'Logic. whatis to say thatmy dispositionis not a dispositionto or some such?But no one can apply the termto the property nearbvhorse. Psychosemantics. Meaning andConceptual ofPhilosophy. Field.Because Kripke illustrates problem throughthe use of an arithmetical example. Midwest Studies in Philosophy. It is unfortunate the sceptical obscured in Kripke's discussion. I977.'Towardsa Causal Theoryof Linguistic Representation'. Dretske.but theissues thatariseare generaland applyto anydispositional theorywhatever. to suggestingthat therewill Kripke's firstobjection amounts.I987. Boghossian thatthis connectionis extensively discussed by Kripke.2.if it is indeed the property horse thatI am disposed to applythetermto. MIT Press.37In my discussionI shall tend to concentrate. he tends.I98I.For the root form of a causal/informational theorymay be given by the followingbasic formula: 0 means (property) P by predicate S iff (it is a counterfactual supporting generalization that) 0 is disposed to apply S to P. The singlemostimportant strandin the scepticalargument consistsin the considerations against dispositionaltheoriesof meaning. Kripke argues. Ned Block.But the impression is misleading. andtheFlowofInformation. Cambridge. thus renderingdispositional propertiesan inappropriatereduction base for meaningproperties.ratherthan on causal/informational versions.in effect.176. Minneapolis. Stampe. I977. Dispositions and meaning: finitude 19. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 'Advertisement for a Semantics Journal Role'. 37For correlational theories see: F. the most influentialcontemporary theories of content-determination 'informational' theories and 'conceptual-role' theories are both forms of a for dispositionalaccount.Otherwise. of MinnesotaPress. Jerry University Fodor. Minneapolis. vol. For. This content downloaded from 168.It would be hard to exaggeratethe importanceof such theories for contemporary philosophyof mind and semantics:as I have just indicated. The root formof an information-style dispositionaltheoryis this: I am disposed My mentalsymbol'horse' expresseswhateverproperty to apply it to.118 on Sun. vol. forPsychology'. MIT Press.to focus on conceptual of meaning. I986.5.528 Paul A. D.

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

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

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

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

I984. 329. There might theory condition. thatdeservesto be called a an M-dispositioncould amountto something motivated to correctness condition.Perhaps theM-dispositionsare those dispositionsthat a person would have when his cognitivemechanisms are in a certainstate. Rule'. it must show how possession of theory'sextensionalcorrectness.pp. and by JohnMcDowell.pp.First. I do notthink It is justthat. and perhaps it can be non-question-beggingly of certified thatthatstatecorrespondsto a stateof theproperfunctioning If so. forcapturingthe normative There is clearly no way to settle the matter in advance of the considerationof particulardispositional proposals. because it never follows from the mere attribution use.withoutpresupposingany semantic or intentionalmaterials.5.that apply the expression underwhicha speakeris disposed to thereare certainselectcircumstances apply the expressiononly to horses. Similar Strikes "4 'The Individual a on Following 10c.seems to carryno such implication. 77I-2... once the extensionshave been specifiedcorrectly? of themeaningof One might have a thought likethis. hence. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . envisaging Blackburnhere is explicitly the extensionsof expressionscorrectly. it is conceivablethatthatwould amountto a nonthosemechanisms. as comparedwithhow he actuallyresponds. somethingwe would be inherently in aremadebyWright concessions Back'. forinstance. unlike mustbe. cation of dispositionsthatmirror of factsabout meaningas groundsfor character But he citesthe normative But what preciselyhas been leftover. to a previous ofwhat it is to be faithful an account provide us with couldn't tothetask areinadequate dispositions Kripke.loc.cit.118 on Sun.533 Considerations TheRule-Following they we succeedin identifying dispositions I shareKripke's viewthatwhatever which we mean.'Wittgenstein his 'Kripke'sAccount'.Synthese. And thisis whata dispositional so that of expressions. But the dispositional of any disposition. however. 289-9I. specified.44 they Indeed. covarywiththe extensions thatlogically dispositions in questionthe expressions' correctness one could read offthe dispositions factdoes not amountto the meaningfact. This would ensure the Second. specifisubstantive the successful. conditions.To be told whereasthis does followfromthe attribution that 'horse' means horseimplies that a speakerought to be motivatedto only to horses. it would also specify its extension an expression would notmerely is an extension namely.A properreduction correctly.176. that thereare factsconcerningcorrect howeverselectively of an extension. What we are in a positionto do. p.They for selection ofa function couldat mostgiveus standards rule. denyinga dispositionalreduction.propertyM.whereasto be told.and.is state conditionson an adequate dispositional theory.I think of providing standards. It is not clear thatthisis in generaltrue. any such theorymust specify. cit.thatit would suffice forceof an ascriptionof meaning. This content downloaded from 168. circular specificationof how the person would ideally respond. a correctness reveal that what it is specifying be cannotdo.

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

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

cannotcall themmistakes. If we are to have any prospectof identifying expressions correctly. and sufficient we lack any Of course. of meaning.176.000 people just like me from The point is impostor? being takenin by the same.I submit.what is to preventI7. but mean something is bound to issue in false verdictsabout the say that communitarianism on an meanings of most expressions. agree with the community's. about the term'horse'. tions likelyto be? The community.and so forth-that effective presenceof features bad lighting. admittedly effective.) But. we communalconsensus.are bound to be duplicated at the level of the systematically for The communitarian.Even fromamong the community ifwe have to selectthosewhichmay be consideredmeaning-determining. they are the community's dispositions. is general. ifI can be takenin by a deceptively nights'horse'. instead.accordingto none of our predicateshave the extensionswe take communitarianism. Boghossian mistaken.it will simply not do to identifytruth with ' dispositions.is bound to exhibitpreciselythe same dualityof dispositionsthat I do: it too will be horseylookingcows on dark disposed to call both horsesand deceptively horsey looking all.Which is to say thatwe are still are to have a plausible theory was supposed to provide:the specification lackingwhatcommunitarianism M such that.thus failingthe firstrequirement adequate dispositionaltheory. firm that 'horse' means not horse convictionto the contrary notwithstanding. (This is presumably what makes 'magicians' possible.possessionof M by a dispositionis necessary of a property forthat disposition'scorrectness. once we have abandoned communitarianism. nothing-at least nothingobvious-tells against definingAMdirectlyover an individual's the way the voluminousliterature on this Which is precisely dispositions. This content downloaded from 168.Which is to wildlydisjunctive themto have. It seems to me thatwe have no optionbut to rejecta pure communitariof our the extensions anism. rather. horseor cow. have a generalizable and predictable effecton creatures with similar cognitive endowments. theyarise because of the we make are systematic: thatmanyof themistakes disguises. however. topic approachesthe problemand to a discussionof whichI now propose to turn.The problem is to come up with a theorythat delivers this and in purelydispositionalterms. After cow on a dark night. however exactly specified.118 on Sun. motive for definingM over communaldispositions. There are countless possible special and thereis nothing impostors undercountlesspossibleconditions.536 Paul A.The communitarresultsystematically those which ian's idea is that the correctdispositionsare constitutively community's disposiare the What.5. then. any of my dispositions that are in this sense mistaken. The upshot would appear to be that. He must insist. then. The problem. but. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . then. community. of course.

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

suchas to preclude 'horse'willgetappliedonlyto whatit means.538 Paul A. Neil and a particular expression. It willbe worthwhile repertoire.thisamounts is a set is thatthere theory ofa dispositional an optimality version behind underwhichNeil cannotmake conditions specifiable of naturalistically Under thoseconof presented items. to call onlyhorses'horse'. and objective contents Optimaldispositions non-intentionally is aftera non-semantically. a priori willbe suchas to yield setofconditions 0. 25.But that it of the property willget tokened (in the beliefmode) onlyin respect means: look at the out what any expression So. which specifiable of the form: equations optimality R: O-(S judgesRx-+Rx). say. S and concept (8) For anysubject be sucha setof conditions? Could there Notice.5.when toapply theexpression Neil is disposed properties of The end result is a dispositional reconstruction in thissenseoptimal. it was supposed to provide sumedthevery properties to satisfy bothofthese to argueis thatit is impossible WhatI propose conditions simultaneously. a cow fora horse.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. anysemantic a reconstruction of.(ii) underthoseconditions theuse of naturalistically. evenif 0 equations we oughtnot to expectoptimality property.Consider outwith to laytheproblem 24.'horse'. 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.118 on Sun. This content downloaded from 168. implies there is one. ditions.Now. Let it be clear. looking cowson darknights. relation) (object. whenhe applies'horse'to and thaton thoseoccasions Neil meanshorse. The dispositionalist true.whenconditions conditions mustreallybe mustbe satisfied: (i) the specified conditions itwillbe false that thepossibility oferror-otherwise. are conditions to. thoseconditions. Clearly.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.thatwhereR is the conceptof an objective forR. to figure expresses. Neil to be disposed Neil to meanhorse by'horse'is for facts: for meaning two are optimal. without theconditions must be specified purely thetheory willhaveasor intentional materials-otherwise.intuitively. objective non-intentional terms. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 'horse' under in turn that.to beginwith. Boghossian somecare. thethought to his mistaking cows. thevery idea ofa wholly For.176.

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

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

buta state states. mental content propertiesmust simply be taken for granted.He does not even tryto defend a reductionist principle about the intentional. impossible (or at least forthere to be a stateof 'meaning thatthere logicaldifficulty) is a considerable addition by "plus"' at all. passage containsa couple of considerations The first chargeis thatwe would have no idea how to explainour ability " 58 K. Perhapsit is simply a thanwe havearguedbefore.5. it leavesthenature wayWittgenstein mayevenacceptit. "plus"'-completely mysterious. properties. It Such a statewouldhaveto be a finite object. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . in myexplicitly table. nottobe assimilated ofa uniquekind ofitsown. 3 above. 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. nortobe assimilated in an appropriate and ifit is taken Such a movemayin a sensebe irrefutable.and his brief attemptat a and unconvincing: 'queerness' argumentis half-hearted addition by 'plus' is a by arguing thatmeaning Perhaps we maytryto recoup. stateevenmoresui generis orheadaches orany'qualitative' tosensations primitive state. pp. 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. propertiesto physical/functional reduction of mental content in otherwords.I take it thatit misconstrues reallyis not plausible that there are 'primitivestates' of meaningpublic The process in certainways.without otherwisedescribed. it the appropriate anti-reductionist suggestion. occurs. In the firstplace. contained in ourfinite minds. 51-2.118 on Sun.at some appropriate level Accordingto anti-reductionism.at present. This content downloaded from 168. thatintrospection butalso thatit is logically ofunderstanding is a chimera. todispositions... ofcertainty whenever it are awareofit with somefair degree yetwe supposedly mean thathe does..176. Wittgenstein Wittgenstein's sceptical argument.is that there is no interesting mentalcontent.one stateper expression.rather.For howelse can each ofus be confident in is the logical difficulty implicit additionby 'plus'? Even more important as I think notmerely that argues..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.Considerations 54I TheRule-Following is thathe The singlegreatest weaknessin Kripke's scepticalargument fails to bring offeitherrequirement. thealleged'qualitative' state showsthat we havesaid hitherto.But it seemsdesperate: stateof 'meaning addition by of thispostulated state the primitive primitive It is notsupposed to be an introspectible state. See thepaperscitedundern. with properties prospectof identification for this suggestion?The Does Kripke manage to create a difficulty thatmay be so construed.

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

incorrect) him to a McDowell does not takethis to commit Oddly. in communal ofagreement responses a certain measure claimthat steinian to be motivated? But howis sucha thesis formeaning. on Following 'Wittgenstein 65 Ibid. 348.forexample. 34I.65 to thenotion ofrule-following relation an intimate of thefamiliar WittgenMcDowell'scharacterization This is..5.. a Rule'. p. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .543 Considerations TheRule-Following McDowell on privacyand community of meaning.176. This content downloaded from 168. quietism of meaning can be gleaned. context He writes: language.One is likelyto be struckby the sheer contingency of on which.118 on Sun. is a precondition to theconstitutive answers of substantive How. not thought have certainly attractive suggestion an anti-reductionist lessonsforthe important in thoseconsiderations theyhave discerned while rejecting of meaning. in But it is difficult. considerations ofa private thepossibility thusprecluding ofa communal practice. 349. a senseofwhat. warnsus not to tryto dig below'bedrock'. offacts aboutbehavior of the of meaning...On the forthe possibility the conditions moralof therule-following he claimsthatit is the discernible contrary.. 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. Wittgenstein a web liesdownthere: as itwere. does that conception a non-reductionist 28. according thetemptation. about no substantive results from which a position aboutmeaning. of course. in lightof therejection 63 64 Ibid.however. can existonlyin the and hencemeaning.in this vision. If we endorse disturbnothingin our considerations mean that the rule-following A number whohavefound ofwriters conception ofthatnotion? ordinary so. loc. p.. cit. thatcorrectness. John we can dig downto a levelat to think it is a mistake lights. him.63 to McDowell'sWittgenstein. By Wittgenstein's notions(like 'following for normative whichwe no longerhave application according to therule'). to avoidacquiring reading without describable usingthenotion and 'inner' episodes.p. 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. of the possibility correctunderstanding of in virtue question: answers to the constitutive reductive substantive possessmeaning? whatdo expressions that: has written McDowell.

can be correct. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . McDowell'sproblems his rejection of difficulty confronting a would-beinterpreter of Wittgenstein is how to reconcile ofmeaning. merereflection necessary formeaningis a surprising constitutive ofmeaningdoes notrevealit.offers That viewengagestheconstitutive of forthe necessity argument thereby. Wittgenstein's answer given howand whythecorrect The problem is thatofseeing Argument. as I have alreadynoted.118 on Sun.shortof a substantive account.66 of meaning judgement-dependence Wright on the that: conception about theanti-reductionist has written 29. actual and without any prospect of reconstruction truthsabout communal use. 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.unreduced and to be allowed to take the idea of correctness in terms of. And what. 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. This content downloaded from 168.67 suggestionis that there are importantconstitutive Wright's intriguing question we shelved some resultsto be gleaned fromthe epistemological are simplyto be takenfor pages back: namely. part.I think. most centrally. and on thecontrary. Boghossian question. cit. he normsare accountofcorrectness: rejectstheverydemandfora substantive partof the 'bedrock'..and is one of think therealproblem Argument posed by theSceptical is notthat ofanswering the fundamental Buttheproblem concerns. But ifwe are simply forgranted.correctness. .Indeed.rejectsthe suggestion in termsof communaldispositions. and generates.5. of 'loss of problems.are possible only where one's fellows. thatcorrectapplicationmightbe analysed myview. is it to be argued for? The claim that communal practice is on the concept claim. notbya match externals (facts hereecho. 237.The main Wittgenstein's butbya meeting ofminds'. But this constitutive questions. if contentproperties 66 Thoughsee hisremarks which I do notunderstandon a 'linguistic community I am afraid inmere tojustanyone). goodexample is acute. including. Consider the contrastwith the communitarian answerto a substantive question. in But McDowell. Ioc. CrispinWright a to Kripke'sScepticmayseemto provide flat-footed [t]hissomewhat response I . say.how.beneathwhichwe mustnot dig.176. In fact. 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. thefamily-resemblance concepts. with in conformity is said to consist a communalpractice:since correctness and with it meaning. accessible [that] is conceived as boundtogether.could conceivablygroundit? view consideredabove. 67 'Wittgenstein's of Theoretical consideration and theCentral LinguisRule-Following Project tics'. rightly thereare otherswithwhom one may conform. a straightforward it.' though. p. .544 Paul A. own.

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

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

the start. I trust. are factual.see ibid.in connection with facts about colour or sound. And thatmeans thatany such biconditional of constitution by best of mentalcontentquite independent a constitution judgement. it would appear. the chic or the fashionable. Let robust Then the moral of and judgement-independent. For satisfaction reallydid determine would always presuppose some antecedescribed on the left-hand-side theclaim thatit thusundermining of colourfacts.118 on Sun.for example. that the biconditionals be freeof any assumpthat theirleft-hand-sides the requirement satisfy tions about mental content.familiar. and prospects robust realism Conclusion: -problems designatethe view thatjudgementsabout meaning realism 3I.) versionsof realism appear to be false..irreducible.For it cannotin by our judgements generalbe truethatfactsabout contentare constituted about content: facts about content.given what judgement-dependence in the case of mentalcontentshould amountsto. The rathermore promising(and more popular) proposal.it precludes the possibilityof factory themeaning but because it appears bound to misconstrue communalerror. are in orderas well. This content downloaded from 168. impossibleas a conceptionof factsabout mentalcontent. No doubt.though less clearly appropriate. For it is inconceivable.thatjudgementsabout meaningconcerna rather 70 For a veryilluminating thatwould have to be met. the contentof the said to fixthe factsabout mental contenthave to be presupjudgements will alwayspresuppose posed. judgements. and.547 Considerations TheRule-Following of the conditions factsabout colour. 1 Sep 2013 20:48:20 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .A should have been clear from difficulty In a way. otherrequirements seeinghow factsabout mental alreadyclearthatthereis a seriousdifficulty on judgementthe statedrequirements contentcould conceivablysatisfy dependence. at a minimum.seems no better. 'judgement-dependent' by our conception of that fact according to which it is constituted The idea is clearlyappropriatein connectionwithfactsabout judgements. implausibly.5. that judgeIrrealism-the view. constitutedindependentlyof the are presupposedby the model itself. (An error-theoretic Churchland.an intuitive a conception of a given fact is. For. 246-54.176. by Paul option. mentsabout meaningare non-factual-appears not even to be a coherent variant.as promoted. of every expression in the language. to robustrealism this paper-if it has one-is thatthe major alternatives are beset by veryserious difficulties. advocated by Kripke's Wittgenstein.70 But it is. of the conditions discussion pp. by definition. The proposal that Reductionist about meaning concern communal dispositionsis unsatisjudgements not merelybecause. fixedconstitution dently is preciselytruthsabout best judgementthatfixthose facts.

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

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

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