Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||In his 1982 book Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Saul Kripke develops a famous argument that purports to show that there are no facts about what we mean by the expressions of our language: ascriptions of meaning, such as “Jones means addition by ‘+’” or Smith means green by ‘green’”, are according to Kripke’s Wittgenstein neither true nor false. Kripke’s Wittgenstein thus argues for a form of non-factualism about ascriptions of meaning: ascriptions of meaning do not purport to state facts. Define semantic realism to be the view that ascriptions of meaning are apt to be assessed in terms of truth and falsity, and are, at least in some instances, true. Semantic realism, thus defined, is a form of cognitivism about semantic judgement, according to which judgements ascribing meaning express beliefs, states apt for assessment in terms of truth and falsity. Kripke’s Wittgenstein thus argues against semantic realism, and in favour of a form of semantic non-cognitivism.1 En route to semantic non-cognitivism, Kripke’s Wittgenstein argues against dispositionalist theories of meaning, which hold something roughly along the lines of the following: Jones means magpie by “magpie” if and only if Jones is disposed to apply “magpie” to magpies in ideal conditions (where the ideal conditions can be specified in terms that don’t presuppose the notion of meaning, and are such that in those conditions Jones applies “magpie” to a thing if and only if that thing is a magpie).|
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