Kripke's sceptical paradox: normativeness and meaning

Paul Coates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Saul Kripke's recent discussion of Wittgenstein's later philosophy presents a powerful sceptical paradox. The conclusion of it is that no facts about an individual considered on his own determine what he means by his words. In criticizing the various counters to the sceptical claim, Kripke devotes the greater part of his discussion to an examination of the view that meaning can be explicated in dispositional terms. The dispositional account of meaning runs as follows: the facts that determine what, in the past, I meant by a given word are dispositional facts about how I would have used that term. For example, what determines that I meant the standard function plus by my past utterance of 'plus' is how I would have responded to queries about addition sums. Thus, had I been asked for the sum of 68 and 57 (when in fact I had not been) I would have answered by '125'—and not by ' 5 ' , as I would have if I had meant a non-standard function such as the one Kripke labels 'quus'. [opening paragraph]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-80
Issue number377
Publication statusPublished - 1986


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