chapter  7
Critical Notice of Colin McGinn’s Wittgenstein on Meaning
ByCrispin Wright
Pages 21

This paper presents the defend of Wittgenstein's idea his so-called "use-theory" of meaning against what is perhaps the most influential of the many arguments. The core of Kripke's sceptical treatment of meaning is his argument against the dispositional theory: the view that the meaning of a word consists in dispositions regarding its use. According to Kripke, in order that our use of a predicate "determine" its extension, it must be possible to, as Kripke puts it, "read off" the extension from the use. Kripke presents his skeptical considerations as raising the same problems for both meaning and rule-following, barely distinguishing between these two cases. Presumably Kripke takes meaning to be a special case of rule-following, and infers that insofar as there are difficulties in identifying the facts in virtue of which a certain rule is being followed, the same difficulties must arise in identifying the facts in virtue of which a certain thing is meant by a word.