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Wittgenstein on Meaning, ASM Volume 1: An Interpretation and Evaluation (Aristotelian Society)

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ISBN-13: 978-0631156819
ISBN-10: 063115681X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Colin McGinn was educated at Oxford University. The author of sixteen previous books, including The Making of a Philosopher, he has written for the London Review of Books, The New Republic, the New York Times Book Review, and other publications. He has taught philosophy at University College of London, Oxford, and Rutgers University, and is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Miami.
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Product Details

  • Series: Aristotelian Society (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (January 8, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 063115681X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631156819
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,238,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This work is a criticism of Saul Kripke's work Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. McGinn offers firstly an exegesis of Wittgenstein's position, emphasising that his concerns were predominantly negative rather than positive. The second section of the work deals with Kripke's work. McGinn (p. 68) firstly points out that Wittgenstein, after stating the sceptical paradox, immediately makes it clear that his position is that the paradox arises from a misunderstanding; that is, he does not endorse the conclusion drawn. McGinn then discusses whether Wittgenstein is to be taken as generally sceptical about meaning-related facts (pp. 70-71), concluding that Wittgenstein should be read as proposing a straight solution whereby understanding consists in the fact of having an ability to use signs. McGinn concludes the chapter (pp. 82-92) by criticising Kripke's community conception of rule-following for failing to recognise: Wittgenstein's epistemological naturalism; his emphasis on the blindness or lack of reasons for rule-following; and his emphasis on the equivalence of meaning and use (a distinction that Kripke must exploit for the sceptical paradox to be formulated). McGinn continues in the third chapter to critically analyse Wittgenstein's views. McGinn agrees with Wittgenstein's criticism of inner interpretative states determining meaning, but argues that the role of mental states should not therefore be ruled out entirely, noting (p. 117 n. 33) that "we should preserve the idea that understanding per se is a causal source of use [...] Also, we do not want to pull apart the causal and normative bases of use: what causes use should also be what makes it correct".Read more ›
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