A Sceptical Guide to Meaning and Rules
Defending Kripke's Wittgenstein
No other recent book in Anglophone philosophy has attracted as much criticism and has found so few friends as Saul Kripke's "Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language". Amongst its critics, one finds the very top of the philosophical profession. Yet, it is rightly counted amongst the books that students of philosophy, at least in the Anglo-American world, have to read at some point in their education. Enormously influential, it has given rise to debates that strike at the very heart of contemporary philosophy of mind and language. In this major new interpretation, Martin Kusch defends Kripke's account against the numerous weighty objections that have been put forward over the past twenty years and argues that none of them is decisive. He shows that many critiques are based on misunderstandings of Kripke's reasoning; that many attacks can be blocked by refining and developing Kripke's position; and that many alternative proposals turn out either to be unworkable or to be disguised variants of the view they are meant to replace. Kusch argues that the apparent simplicity of Kripke's text is deceptive and that a fresh reading gives Kripke's overall argument a new strength.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Preface Abbreviations 1. Introduction 2. Normativity 3. Dispositions and extensions 4. Other responses 5. Factualism and non-factualism 6. Intersubjectivity and assertability conditions 7. Semantic primitivism 8. Kripke's interpretation of Wittgenstein Notes Bibliography Index
Martin Kusch is Professor of Philosophy at Vienna University, Austria.
"… well worth reading for this critical discussion alone. However, the greatest achievement of the book is Kusch’s new interpretation of KW’s sceptical solution, and of the argumentation leading to it. This is a very important book which advances the discussion of KW on many fronts. No future discussion of KW, or of rule-following in general, can ignore this book" - Philosophical Quarterly
"An excellent and stimulating work.. ... a genuine contribution to the discussion that deserves serious attention and provides considerable food for thought. To those coming to the debate for the first time, Kusch provides a reliable and opinionated introduction. To those already immersed in it, and in danger of not seeing the wood for the trees, he offers a much-needed and informed perspective." - Mind
"Kusch's book goes well beyond the existing literature to provide a study of Kripke's interpretation of Wittgenstein that is both deeper and broader than anything currently available." - Alexander Miller, University of Birmingham, UK