Some paradoxes in Kripke's interpretation of Wittgenstein

Synthese 73 (2):253 - 273 (1987)
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Kripke's skeptical interpretation of Wittgenstein's project in the Philosophical Investigations attributes to Wittgenstein a radical skepticism about the objectivity of rules and thus the meanings of words and the existence of language as well as a skepticism about the truth conditions underlying our alleged facts about the world. Kripke then contends that Wittgenstein solves this skeptical paradox by committing himself to what I shall call a Communitarian View of language. There are a number of difficulties with Kripke's interpretation of the project of the Philosophical Investigations. These include his evaluation of the notion of the rule, his interpretation of the private language arguments, his uses of the term intention, and his truncated reading of 201. In this paper I shall address and attack this interpretation of Wittgenstein as a questionable reading of the Philosophical Investigations, and I shall suggest some alternative interpretations of Wittgenstein's views which avoid both radical skepticism and a Communitarian View of language.



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Patricia Werhane
DePaul University

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