In “Practical Knowledge of Language”, C.-h. Tsai criticizes the arguments in “Swimming and Speaking Spanish” (this issue, pp. 331–341), on the grounds that its account of knowledge of language as knowledge-how is mistaken. In its place, he proposes an alternative account in terms of Russell’s concept “knowledge-by-acquaintance”. In this paper, I show that this account succeeds neither in displacing the account in Swimming and Speaking Spanish nor in addressing Tsai’s main concern: solving the “delivery problem”.
In his later writings, Wittgenstein is generally taken as committed to anti-realism. In this paper, I argue that this is mistaken. Although he is committed to ontic anti-realism, this does not preclude his acceptance of epistemic realism. I argue that the possibility of using practices to fix meanings and to provide aframework for conceptual differentiation of our experiences rests upon a version of realism, which I call “praxial realism”, which does not presuppose anything like a Kantian noumenal world.
The dominant view of the status of knowledge of language is that it is theoretical or what Gilbert Ryle called knowledge-that. Defenders of this thesis may differ among themselves over the precise nature of the knowledge which underlies language, as for example, Michael Dummett and Noam Chomsky differ over the issue of unconscious knowledge; however, they all agree that acquisition, understanding and use of language require that the speaker have access to a theory of language. In this paper, I argue (...) that this view is mistaken. Knowledge of language is properly seen as practical knowledge, knowledge-how. My target is Michael Dummett’s treatment of theory of meaning in The Seas of Language. If my argument goes through, underlying assumptions about the nature of cognition as computational must be adjusted to allow for other forms of knowledge, which are arguably more basic, and which underlie knowledge-that. (shrink)
This important book proposes a new account of the nature of language, founded upon an original interpretation of Wittgenstein. The authors deny the existence of a direct referential relationship between words and things. Rather, the link between language and world is a two-stage one, in which meaning is used and in which a natural language should be understood as fundamentally a collection of socially devised and maintained practices. Arguing against the philosophical mainstream descending from Frege and Russell to Quine, Davidson, (...) Dummett, McDowell, Evans, Putnam, Kripke and others, the authors demonstrate that discarding the notion of reference does not entail relativism or semantic nihilism. A provocative re-examination of the interrelations of language and social practice, this book will interest not only philosophers of language but also linguists, psycholinguists, students of communication and all those concerned with the nature and acquisition of human linguistic capacities. (shrink)
In "A Puzzle About Belief" (_Meaning and Use, A. Margalit (ed.), D. Reidel (1979), pp. 239-283), Saul Kripke argues that linguistic moves to all appearances normal in reporting the beliefs of others can be shown to generate paradox. In this paper, I argue that the supposed paradox is one in appearance only, and that the appearance rests on a covert vacillation in Kripke's paper between two conceptions of linguistic understanding, a weak, or 'minimal' one, and a 'strong' one. Only the (...) weak conception allows Kripke to set up the example which allegedly generates the paradox; only the strong allows the actual generation of the paradox. (shrink)