Pushing Wittgenstein and Quine Closer Together

  • Gary Kemp

Abstract

As against the view represented here by Peter Hacker and John Canfield, I urge that the philosophies of Quine and Wittgenstein can be reconciled. Both replace the orthodox view of language as resting on reference: Quine with the notion of linguistic disposition, Wittgenstein with the notions of grammar and forms of life. I argue that Wittgenstein's insistence, in the rule-following discussion, that at bottom these are matters of practice, of ‘what we do’, is not only compatible in a rough sort of way with Quine's outlook, but is very close to Quine's naturalistic view of language. And I argue that the likely objections to this can on the one hand be explained away as Quine's having been interested in a very narrow slice of language in comparison with Wittgenstein, and on the other by a failure to take into account later developments in Quine’s views.

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Published
2014-11-16