chapter  11
Truth Rules, Hoverflies, and the Kripke–Wittgenstein Paradox
ByRuth Garrett Millikan
Pages 25

The challenge is a welcome one. Although I will argue that the KripkeWittgenstein paradox is not a problem for naturalists only, I will propose a naturalist solution to it. (Should the Kripke-Wittgenstein paradox prove to be soluble from a naturalist standpoint but intractable from other standpoints, that would, I suppose, constitute an argument for naturalism.) Then I will show that the paradox and its solution have an important consequence for the theories of meaning and truth. The Kripke-Wittgenstein arguments which pose the paradox also put in question Dummett’s and Putnam’s view of language understanding. From this view it follows that truth rules must be “verificationist rules” that assign assertability conditions to sentences, rather than “realist rules” that assign correspondence truth conditions. The proposed solution to the paradox suggests another view of language understanding, according to which a speaker can express, through his language practice, a grasp of correspondence truth rules. This will block one route of Putnam’s famous retreat from realism:

The point is that Dummett and I agree that you can’t treat understanding a sentence (in general) as knowing its truth conditions;

because it then becomes unintelligible what that knowledge in turn consists in. We both agree that the theory of understanding has to be done in a verificationist way . . . conceding that some sort of verificationist semantics must be given as our account of understanding . . . I have given Dummett all he needs to demolish metaphysical realism . . . a picture I was wedded to!2