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Necessity and language: in defence of conventionalism


Glock, Hans Johann (2008). Necessity and language: in defence of conventionalism. Philosophical Investigations, 31(1):24-47.

Abstract

Kalhat has forcefully criticised Wittgenstein's linguistic or conventionalist account of logical necessity, drawing partly on Waismann and Quine. I defend conventionalism against the charge that it cannot do justice to the truth of necessary propositions, renders them unacceptably arbitrary or reduces them to metalingustic statements. At the same time, I try to reconcile Wittgenstein's claim that necessary propositions are constitutive of meaning with the logical positivists' claim that they are true by virtue of meaning. Explaining necessary propositions by reference to linguistic conventions does not reduce modal to non-modal notions, but it avoids metaphysical accounts, which are incapable of explaining how we can have a priori knowledge of necessity.

Abstract

Kalhat has forcefully criticised Wittgenstein's linguistic or conventionalist account of logical necessity, drawing partly on Waismann and Quine. I defend conventionalism against the charge that it cannot do justice to the truth of necessary propositions, renders them unacceptably arbitrary or reduces them to metalingustic statements. At the same time, I try to reconcile Wittgenstein's claim that necessary propositions are constitutive of meaning with the logical positivists' claim that they are true by virtue of meaning. Explaining necessary propositions by reference to linguistic conventions does not reduce modal to non-modal notions, but it avoids metaphysical accounts, which are incapable of explaining how we can have a priori knowledge of necessity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:24 Nov 2008 09:22
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:31
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0190-0536
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2008.00332.x
Official URL:http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118504203/home

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