Other Minds pp 105-120 | Cite as

The “New” Private Language Argument: Kripstein’s New Form of Scepticism

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 246)


What is this new form of scepticism? It is that a single languageuser, as an isolated unit, cannot be said to mean anything by any of their utterances. Meaningful utterance necessarily depends on shared responses. Content can be given to the notion of an individual’s utterances being meaningful only by reference to others. What is new in Kripstein as compared with the “old” Private Language Argument, is an insistence that there is no content to meaning something by an utterance other than uttering words and having other language users agree that the utterance is appropriate. In effect, it is to make the move to the Pure Functionalism that I argued (in Chapter 6) was the only decent refuge for Privateer, but, having made that move, to add the insistence that there is no content to meaning other than shared responses.


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Notes to Chapter Seven

  1. 1.
    Saul A. Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (Blackwell, 1982) p. 60.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kripke, op. cit., p. 23.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., p. 37.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid.. p. 43.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ibid., 51.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ibid., p. 60. I take it that such a language does not fail directly in that sense might conceivably be made of rule-following by reference to other than other utterers.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kripstein draws an analogy with Hume’s treatment of causation.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Op. cit., pp. 94–5.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ibid., p. 112.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Crispin Wright, Wittgenstein on the Foundations of Mathematics (Duckworth, 1980) p. 222. Wright seems to have broadly the same view of Wittgenstein on rule-following that Kripke is putting forward.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ibid., pp. 103–4.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kripke, op. cit., p. 110.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wright, op. cit., p. 106.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kripke, op. cit., pp. 102–4.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wright, op. cit., p. 218.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid., p. 219.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
    Stanley Cavell, Must we Mean What we Say? (CUP, 1976) p. 52.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    J.R. Cameron, Review of Crispin Wright, Foundations of Mathematics, op. cit., Philosophical Books, vol.23 (1982) pp. 86–90.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid., p. 89.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
    Ibid., p. 90.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Steven H. Holtzman and Christopher M. Leich (eds.), Wittgenstein: to Follow a Rule (Routledge, 1981) Introductory essay.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ibid., p. 4.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kripke, op. cit., p. 110.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Op. cit., p. 4.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ibid., p. 5.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ibid., p. 13.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    I take this response to be common to Simon Blackburn, ‘The Individual Strikes Back’, Synthese, vol.58 (1984) pp. 281–301; Warren Goldfarb, ‘Kripke on Wittgenstein on Rules’, Journal of Philosophy, vol.82 (1985) pp. 471–88;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 31a.
    Paul Hoffman, ‘Kripke on Private Language’, Philosophical Studies, vol.47 (1985) pp. 23–8;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 31b.
    Harry A. Lewis, ‘Content and Community’, The Aristotelian Society, supp. vol.59 (1985) pp. 177–96;Google Scholar
  34. 31c.
    Colin McGinn, Wittgenstein on Meaning (Blackwell, 1984) p. 168.Google Scholar
  35. 32.
    In Holtzman and Leich, op. cit., p. 183.Google Scholar
  36. 33.
    op. cit., p. 52.Google Scholar
  37. 34.
    Kripke, op. cit., p. 104 (fn. 83).Google Scholar
  38. 35.
    Ibid., P. 103 (fn. 83).Google Scholar
  39. 36.
    Kripke, op. cit., p. 51.Google Scholar
  40. 37.
    Ibid.,P. 51.Google Scholar
  41. 38.
    Ibid., p. 53.Google Scholar
  42. 39.
    Ibid., p. 52.Google Scholar
  43. 40.
    Ibid., p. 55.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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