Rule-following, ideal conditions and finkish dispositions
- 135 Downloads
This paper employs some outcomes (for the most part due to David Lewis) of the contemporary debate on the metaphysics of dispositions to evaluate those dispositional analyses of meaning that make use of the concept of a disposition in ideal conditions. The first section of the paper explains why one may find appealing the notion of an ideal-condition dispositional analysis of meaning and argues that Saul Kripke’s well-known argument against such analyses is wanting. The second section focuses on Lewis’ work in the metaphysics of dispositions in order to call attention to some intuitions about the nature of dispositions that we all seem to share. In particular, I stress the role of what I call ‘Actuality Constraint’. The third section of the paper maintains that the Actuality Constraint can be used to show that the dispositions with which ideal-condition dispositional analyses identify my meaning addition by ‘+’ do not exist (in so doing, I develop a suggestion put forward by Paul Boghossian). This immediately implies that ideal-condition dispositional analyses of meaning cannot work. The last section discusses a possible objection to my argument. The point of the objection is that the argument depends on an illicit assumption. I show (1) that, in fact, the assumption in question is far from illicit and (2) that even without this assumption it is possible to argue that the dispositions with which ideal-condition dispositional analyses identify my meaning addition by ‘+’ do not exist.
KeywordsRule-following Ideal conditions Dispositions Finks Saul Kripke David Lewis
Earlier versions of (some parts of) this paper were given at the VIII National Conference of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosophy and at the Università degli Studi di Milano in February 2009. A distant ancestor of the argument of this paper appeared in my (2009a, pp. 80–82). The book is a slightly revised version of my PhD thesis, which I defended in January 2008.
- Bird, A. (2007). Nature’s metaphysics—laws and properties. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Boghossian, P. A. (2008). Epistemic rules. The Journal of Philosophy, 105(9), 472–500.Google Scholar
- Dretske, F. I. (1981). Knowledge and the flow of information. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Fodor, J. A. (Ed.) (1990). A theory of content, II: The theory. In A theory of content and other essays (pp. 89–136). Cambridge-London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Guardo, A. (2009a). Il Mito del Dato. Milano-Udine: Mimesis.Google Scholar
- Guardo, A. (2009b). The argument from normativity against dispositional analyses of meaning. In V. A. Munz, K. Puhl, & J. Wang (Eds.), Language and world—papers of the XXXII international Wittgenstein Symposium (pp. 163–165). Kirchberg am Wechsel: Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society.Google Scholar
- Guardo, A. (forthcoming). Kripke’s account of the rule-following considerations. European Journal of Philosophy. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2010.00414.x.
- Kripke, S. (1982) . Wittgenstein on rules and private language—an elementary exposition. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (2001) . Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Martin, C. B., & Heil, J. (1998). Rules and powers. Philosophical Perspectives, 12(1), 283–312.Google Scholar
- Prior, E. W., Pargetter, R., & Jackson, F. (1982). Three theses about dispositions. American Philosophical Quarterly, 19(3), 251–257.Google Scholar