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By Bernhard Weiss

Michael Dummett's method of the metaphysical factor of realism during the philosophy of language, his problem to realism, and his philosophy of language itself are vital themes in modern analytic philosophy and feature inspired the paintings of alternative significant figures reminiscent of Quine, Putnam, and Davidson. This ebook bargains an available and systematic presentation of the most components of Dummett's philosophy. This book's overarching subject is Dummett's dialogue of realism: his characterization of realism, his assault on realism, and his invention and exploration of the anti-realist place. This e-book starts through reading Dummett's perspectives on language. basically opposed to that atmosphere can one totally relish his perception of the realism factor. With this in position, Weiss returns to Dummett's perspectives at the nature of that means and figuring out to spread his problem to realism. Weiss devotes the rest of this ebook to analyzing the anti-realist place. He discusses anti-realist theories of which means after which investigates anti-realism's revisionary outcomes. eventually, he engages with Dummett's dialogue of 2 tricky demanding situations for the anti-realist: the previous and arithmetic.

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Example text

But the description of what it is to grasp this rule is not itself given in terms of grasp of some concept. True, the account uses the concept red, but it doesn’t use that concept within a specification of the speaker’s knowledge. We don’t say that the speaker knows that “red” applies to red things; rather we say that the speaker discriminates red things from others by applying the word “red” to red things. So we specify in non-trivial terms what rule a speaker follows but we do not non-trivially specify anything that guides her use.

The lack of motivation arises because many have thought and do think that language performs roles other than that of an instrument of communication. To many, language’s role in thinking appears alluringly to be fundamental, while to others its relation to the world appears to be basic. The underdescription arises because one might suppose that use exhausts meaning but insist that the relevant notion of use be one that is responsive to privately available circumstances. Thus the underlying thought here is that there can be no purely private ingredient of understanding.

But since the original language was learned and spoken it’s hard to see how molecularity could, from this perspective, be a mere consequence of the nature of language acquisition. Dummett is aware of something like this worry and he brings it to life in the person of Brouwer. How, he asks, could Brouwer have accused classical mathematics of meaninglessness in the face of his supreme competence in classical (topological) techniques? How could it be that we could acquire competence in a (sophisticated) practice yet somehow see that practice as meaningless on grounds of the nature of language acquisition?

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