Understanding and Rule-Following<sup>1</sup>

Christopher Peacocke

in Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199278053
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745386 | DOI:
Understanding and Rule-Following1

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The chapter offers an account of the rational application of a concept that respects the intuitive idea that rational judgement results from the interaction of understanding or grasp, together with background information and the thinker’s perceptions. The account is a form of truth-conditional account, on which understanding consists fundamentally in tacit knowledge of fundamental reference rules for concepts. The chapter argues for the explanatory power of such an account. The account also provides the resources for replying to Wright’s arguments that the intuitive conception is erroneous. It makes possible an account of the first-person phenomenon of knowing what one means. It allows us to steer a middle course between the two very unattractive positions of extreme Platonism and linguistic idealism. It leaves room for substantive philosophy of particular concepts and particular types of concepts.

Keywords: understanding; rule-following; tacit knowledge; reference; truth-conditions; Platonism; linguistic idealism; meaning; rationality

Chapter.  14081 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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