FOM: indubitability (or "certainty")

Charles Silver csilver at
Tue Oct 6 11:47:31 EDT 1998

On Tue, 6 Oct 1998, Neil Tennant wrote:

> *Kripke's Wittgenstein* doesn't always use unsurveyable proofs as an example.
> There is nothing unsurveyable about the problem "57+68=?" in the thought
> experiment that Kripke conducts on the thought-experimental assumption that
> the subject has never before had to add together any two numbers either of
> which exceeds 57. 
> Of course, one could generate a great variety of similarly surveyable problems
> (and indeed, ones whose solutions can be proved to be correct by means of
> surveyable proofs) that would serve the same thought-experimental role that
> Kripke intended. That role, to repeat, was to underscore the possibility that,
> despite a subject's having "passed our tests" of linguistic competence on
> (necessarily only finitely many) examples in the past, he/she might not have
> cottoned onto the rule that the community takes to be associated with the
> sign in question (here, "+"). 

	I think this is somewhat misleading.  As I interpret Kripke, there
isn't really a "rule" to be followed at all, at least not one that
provides determinate conditions for its applicability.  That is, there is
no rule to be "grasped" (in the sense of Frege). 

Charlie Silver

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