An Analysis of Kripkenstein’s Conclusion to the Private Language Argument
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy
Fr. Luis S. David, SJ
The philosophical community’s interest in Wittgenstein was rejuvenated when Kripke came out with his book entitled Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. The fascination to Kripke’s work was focused on Kripke’s sceptical argument and sceptical solution. Nobody noticed Kripke’s one-liner claim that the conclusion to the private language argument is found in §202 of the Philosophical Investigations and that its premises are found in the sections before §242. The Kripkenstein private language argument is composed of the sections before §242 as the premises and a portion of §202 as the conclusion. I wish to challenge Kripke’s view that §202 is the conclusion to the private language argument and I will show that an invalid argument will result if it is insisted that §202 is the conclusion to the private language argument, I will examine the Kripkenstein private language argument in terms of its form and substance. In evaluating its logical form I will show that the Kripkenstein private language argument is not valid within the legal methodological framework and show that its conclusion is false. I will then proceed to test if the Kripkenstein private language argument, as corrected, is sound. This will be accomplished by checking the truth of the premises using the legal methodological framework. One of fruits of the legal tests is the discovery of a bridge that can connect the gap between the individualists and collectivists. The collectivists are adamant in saying that the individual does not have an objective test for following a rule, the collectivists claim that they have an objective test because they can rely on their community for validation. In law, the case method allows for an individual rule ix follower to propose a rule for adoption by the community. Legal practice therefore accepts the individual as perfectly capable of following rules and does not require an independent external check to guarantee the competence of the individual in following a rule. I performed two tasks during my examination of the premises of the Kripkenstein private language argument: I showed that some of its premises are false thereby proving that the Kripkenstein private language is not sound; and I showed that the premises are not legally controversial and therefore not a cause for debate between the individualists and the collectivists. Because these sections are the exact same sections that fueled the debates about rule following between other camps, the animosity between them should likewise dissipate if not totally vanish. In the end, it will be clear that the Kripkenstein private language argument is neither valid nor sound if tested within the language game or the form of life of the law. Furthermore, the practice of law (practical) can help in making some (theoretical) issues between the individualists and collectivists disappear. My contributions to philosophy and science are as follows: I enriched the literature on Kripke by challenging the conclusion he proposed to the private language argument, this is a topic that has never been previously directly confronted; I enriched the literature on the private language argument by departing from the well- argued examples found in mathematics, in its stead, I used my legal methodological framework, thereby grounding the analysis in experiential terms; finally I bridged the gap between the individualists and collectivists.
(2019). An Analysis of Kripkenstein’s Conclusion to the Private Language Argument. Ateneo de Manila University.