Incarnating Kripke’s Skepticism About Meaning
- 174 Downloads
Although Kripke’s skepticism leads to the conclusion that meaning does not exist, his argument relies upon the supposition that more than one interpretation of words is consistent with linguistic evidence. Relying solely on metaphors, he assumes that there is a multiplicity of possible interpretations without providing any strict proof. In his book The Taming of the True, Neil Tennant pointed out that there are serious obstacles to this thesis and concluded that the skeptic’s nonstandard interpretations are “will o’ wisps.” In this paper, contra Tennant, I demonstrate how to construct alternative interpretations of the language of algebra. These constructed interpretations avoid Tennant’s objections and are shown to be interdefinable with the standard interpretation. Kripke’s skepticism is, as it were, an incarnate demon. In contrast, it is currently uncertain whether the same technique is generally applicable to the construction of an alternative interpretation of natural language. However, the reinterpretation of those aspects of natural language that directly relate to numbers seems to be a promising candidate for the development of nonstandard interpretations of natural language.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Prof. T. Iida from Nihon University who provided enlightening comments and suggestions. I am also indebt to anonymous reviewers whose meticulous comments were an enormous help to me.
- Goodman, N. (1983). Fact, fiction, and forecast (4th ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Kripke, S. A. (1982). Wittgenstein on rules and private language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Tennant, N. (1997). The taming of the true. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, L. (2001). Philosophical investigations (3rd ed.). (trans: Anscombe, G. E. M.). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar