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dc.contributor.authorCampbell, Peter
dc.date.accessioned2010-10-25T10:58:08Z
dc.date.available2010-10-25T10:58:08Z
dc.date.issued2002-06
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/4054
dc.description.abstractIn this work I develop an argument which shows that rule-following is impossible, and investigate its impact on the philosophy of language. By way of orientation, I start with a critical evaluation of existing ‘rule-following considerations’, arguments derived from Wittgenstein which purportedly put rule-following under pressure. Having shown that its predecessors are unsound, and with the explicit aim of avoiding their flaws, I then formulate the new ‘indexical’ argument. The conclusion that rule-following is impossible is difficult to accept because we think that the ability to folldiw rules is constitutive of language-mastery. If this is correct, then to show that rule-following is impossible is to show that language is impossible. Such ‘meaning nihilism’ is not a tenable position, and some way of avoiding this conclusion has to be found. Various proposals in the literature have the potential to do this: principally (a) the irrealism suggested by Kripke; and (b) subjective on-gong determination advocated by Wright. I argue that neither strategy is successful. The correct response to the indexical argument is to accept that rule-following is not constitutive of language-mastery. In this case, clearly, the impossibility of rule-following does not entail the impossibility meaning, and the conclusion that rule-following is impossible becomes unproblematic. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see how language could survive without rules. The remainder of this work shows that rule-elimination does permit a respectable notion of linguistic content. The result is distinctively Wittgensteinian: a communitarian, ‘use’-based account of language.en
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburgh. College of Humanities and Social Scienceen
dc.subject.otherphilosophy of language, indexical argumenten
dc.titleOn rules and the metaphysics of meaningen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertation
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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