, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 257-268

A Reductio of Kripke-Wittgenstein's Objections to Dispositionalism about Meaning

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Abstract

A central part of Kripke's influential interpretation of Wittgenstein's sceptical argument about meaning is the rejection of dispositional analyses of what it is for a word to mean what it does (Kripke, 1982). In this paper I show that Kripke's arguments prove too much: if they were right, they would preclude not only the idea that dispositional properties can make statements about the meanings of words true, but also the idea that dispositional properties can make true statements about paradigmatic dispositional properties such as a cup's fragility or a person's bravery. However, since dispositional properties can make such statements true, Kripke-Wittgenstein's arguments against dispositionalism about meaning are mistaken.