A middle position between meaning finitism and meaning platonism

David Bloor and Crispin Wright have argued, independently, that the proper lesson to draw from Wittgenstein's so-called rule-following considerations is the rejection of meaning Platonism. According to Platonism, the meaningfulness of a general term is constituted by its connection with an abstract entity, the (possibly) infinite extension of which is determined independently of our classificatory practices. Having rejected Platonism, both Bloor and Wright are driven to meaning finitism, the view that the question of whether a meaningful term correctly applies to a given entity is not determined in advance of anyone's judgement about the matter. I argue that the two views do not form a dichotomy - there is room for a middle position which can account for the correct applications existing in advance of anyone's judgements without being committed to meaning Platonism. Furthermore, I will show how such a middle position arises quite naturally from the view that our competence with semantically basic terms is response-dependent.
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DOI 10.1080/0967255042000324326
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