Regularities, Rules, Meanings, Truth-Conditions, and Epistemic Norms

Paul Horwich

in Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199278053
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745386 | DOI:
Regularities, Rules, Meanings, Truth-Conditions, and Epistemic Norms

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The project here is to trace an explanatory route through these phenomena. It is argued that the basic facts amongst them are idealized law-like regularities of word use (characterized in non-semantic, non-normative terms); that such regularities help engender (i.e. are the primary reductive basis of) facts about which rules of use we are implicitly following; that these facts suffice to fix what we mean by our words and hence sentences; and that the meanings of our sentences (given contextual factors) determine their truth- conditions — which are the conditions in which we should hope to accept them. This picture is inspired by Wittgenstein’s later ideas about meaning and rule-following. Nonetheless it is at odds with Saul Kripke’s account, which is also billed as Wittgensteinian. It also conflicts with the perspective on them that has been elaborated by Crispin Wright — another influential exponent of Wittgenstein. So a fair part of the defence of the above position will consist in responses to their arguments. What is at stake is both the true nature of these interrelated phenomena, and the most fruitful way of reading Wittgenstein’s discussion of them.

Keywords: regularity; rule; implicit; meaning; truth; norms; Wittgenstein; Wright; Kripke; idealization

Chapter.  9915 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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