FOM: indubitability (or "certainty")

Neil Tennant neilt at
Sun Oct 4 15:28:05 EDT 1998

J.Kennedy likens the problem of not being able to grasp a sufficiently long
proof all in one go to the problem, raised by Kripke's Wittgenstein, that
no finite data set about language users' behavior can uniquely determine
what their answer 'ought' to be on a hitherto unencountered problem that is
posed in linguistic terms to which the finite data relate.

But these are essentially different problems. For, even if one had some solution
to the Wittgensteinian worry about 'applying rules correctly in new cases',
this would not address the concern over unfeasibly long proofs. Conversely,
the Wittgensteinian worry will arise even for surveyable proofs, provided
only that some of their steps are 'new', in the sense that the rules being
applied have never been applied to those instances before.

Neil Tennant

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