Kripke's Wittgenstein or Kripkenstein is a fictional character customarily taken to be the person committed to the views of meaning, content, and rule-following presented in Saul Kripke's Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982). Kripkenstein first presents us with the skeptical challenge to explain what it is for expressions to have a particular meaning in a speaker's idiolect. Consider a word like '+' which is intuitively for applying the addition function or 'table' which is for talking about tables. Kripkenstein asks what makes it the case that in one's idiolect these words are indeed for doing these things. After all, we can assume that our history of past uses is entirely compatible with '+' being for applying the quaddition function (x quus y = x plus y, if x, y < 57, = 5 otherwise) or for talking about tabairs (a tabair = anything that is a table not found at the base of the Eiffel tower or a chair found there). He then presents a skeptical argument by considering a series of potential answers and showing that they don't work. For starters, he argues that the relevant fact can't consist in a speaker's having given herself instructions how to use the expression because instructions would have to be stated in language and that would merely push back the problem. Second, he argues that it can't consist in her being disposed to use the expression in certain ways (e. g. when using ‘+’ one is disposed to give the sum, or when using ‘table’ one is disposed to do so only in the presence of tables) because this fails to make sense of the fact that using it in those ways is correct. Finally, he argues that we can't invoke simplicity considerations to rule out quaddition-like candidates, nor by claiming that the relevant state is primitive. Having drawn the skeptical conclusion that nothing makes It the case that expressions have particular meanings in our idiolects, Kripkenstein presents a skeptical solution by claiming that we should construe attributions of meaning, content etc. in non-factualist terms by taking them to be justifiable or permissible when the person to whom we attribute meaning, content etc. behaves like we do.
|Key works||Kripkenstein's discussion of meaning, content, and rule-following is presented in Kripke 1982. Important early commentaries include Forbes 1983, Blackburn 1984, and Goldfarb 1985 which defend the dispositionalist answer, Lewis 1983 which discusses invoking simplicity considerations, and McDowell 1984 and McGinn 1984 which discuss taking the state to be primitive and the relation between Wittgenstein's and Kripkenstein's views. Important later commentaries include Boghossian 1989, Pettit 1990, and Wilson 1994. Many of these papers are collected in Miller & Wright 2002. Recent discussions include Hattiangadi 2007 and Ginsborg 2011.|
|Introductions||Boghossian 1989; the Introduction to Miller & Wright 2002|
- Meaning Holism (192)
- Speaker Meaning and Semantic Meaning (28)
- Normativity of Meaning and Content (146)
- Aspects of Meaning, Misc (22)
- Rule-Following (184)
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it:
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers