Kripke’s Wittgenstein and Semantic Factualism


  • Miloš Šumonja Faculty of Education, University of Novi Sad



Recently, two new portrayals of Kripke’s Wittgenstein (KW) have emerged. Both understand KW as targeting the Tractarian picture of semantic fact as a speaker’s mental representation of the truth-conditions of the sentences he uses. According to the factualist interpretation, KW holds that meaning ascriptions are legitimate descriptions because semantic facts are not entities that explain people’s linguistic behavior. The second, Alex Miller’s non-standard non-factualist interpretation, sees KW as claiming that because no fact can explain our linguistic behavior, meaning ascriptions express a speaker’s attitudes towards his interlocutors rather than stating what they mean. This paper advances the minimal factualist interpretation by elaborating two points: that Miller’s reading of the skeptical argument contradicts semantic non-factualism; and that KW’s view of meaning is based on a primitivist rendition of the skeptic’s insight that nothing justifies our use of language, which allows him to assert that semantic facts exist simply because we ordinarily say so.


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