From Social Holism to Holism about Beliefs

  • Michael Esfeld
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 298)


The problem of rule-following as set out by Kripke in his interpretation of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations is the main argument for social holism [3.1]. This chapter gives an account of how — and to what extent — social practices can determine meaning for our beliefs. This account builds a bridge between the natural and the normative. Meaning is determined in social practices on the basis of our biological equipment. Nonetheless, the description of meaning cannot be reduced to a naturalistic description [3.2]. However, this account is a satisfactory solution to the problem of rule-following only if it is combined with an inferential role semantics. The rule-following considerations thus lead to an argument that covers both social holism and holism about beliefs [3.3].


Social Practice Belief State Finite Sequence Conceptual Content Linguistic Community 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Esfeld
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of KonstanzGermany
  2. 2.University of HertfordshireEngland

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