Can, or Should, Dummett Solve the Delivery Problem?

Auslegung 28 (1):21-43 (2006)

Cheng-hung Tsai
Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Michael Dummett has long argued that we should ascribe implicit knowledge of a meaning-theory to speakers, and that the task of a theory of meaning is to tell us what such knowledge consists in. But he also sees it as a problem that how implicit knowledge is actually used, that is, how a speaker's metalinguistic knowledge of a meaning-theory issues or delivers the speaker's knowledge of meanings of utterances (the delivery problem). In this paper 1argue that Dummett's instrumental construal of implicit knowledge does not and cannot solve the delivery problem. However, I do not suggest Dummett to modify or abandon his instrumental construal; rather, I think he can dissolve the delivery problem by recognizing that knowledge of semantics for a language is not a necessary condition for mastering a language. 1 shall argue this point through Davidson's attitude towards the role of linguistic knowledge and his thesis in his (in)famous paper "A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs."
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DOI 10.17161/AJP.1808.9546
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