Meaning, dispositions and normativity

Toribio, Josefa (1999) Meaning, dispositions and normativity. Minds and Machines, 9 (3). 399 - 413. ISSN 09246495

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In a recent paper, Paul Coates defends a sophisticated dispositional account which allegedly resolves the sceptical paradox developed by Kripke in his monograph on Wittgenstein's treatment of following a rule (Kripke, 1982). Coates' account appeals to a notion of lsquohomeostasisrsquo, unpacked as a subject's second-order disposition to maintain a consistent pattern of extended first-order dispositions regarding her linguistic behavior. This kind of account, Coates contends, provides a naturalistic model for the normativity of intentional properties and thus resolves Kripke's sceptical paradox.
In this paper I argue that Coates' second-order dispositional account cannot solve the sceptic's problems regarding meaning and normativity. My main contention is that in order for second-order dispositions to be able to effectively regulate the coordinated responses constitutive of first-order dispositions, those first order dispositions must be independently identifiable. Yet that's precisely what Kripke's sceptical argument calls into question. I shall also argue, in a more positive fashion, that Coates' own appeal to practical breakdowns may suggest a different – and more effective – response to the sceptic's concern.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:07
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 08:24
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