Meaning, Understanding, and Practice: Philosophical Essays by Barry Stroud

By Barry Stroud

Meaning, knowing, and Practice is a variety of the main striking essays of major modern thinker Barry Stroud on a collection of themes primary to analytic philosophy. during this assortment, Stroud bargains penetrating stories of which means, knowing, necessity, and the intentionality of concept. all through he asks how a lot might be anticipated from a philosophical account of one's figuring out of the that means of whatever, and questions no matter if such an account can be successful with out implying that the individual is familiar with many different issues in addition. many of the essays paintings with rules derived from Wittgenstein, and 5 of the essays concentration particularly on Wittgenstein's philosophy. Stroud's valuable creation attracts out the ordinary issues he pursues and explains how his principles and goals have built through the years.

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And we have already noted the difficulties in trying to understand the example of continuing the series ‘+2’. I think the initial intelligibility and strength of Wittgenstein's examples derive from their being severely isolated or restricted. We think we can understand and accept them as representing genuine alternatives only because the wider‐reaching consequences of counting, calculating, and so forth, in these deviant ways are not brought out explicitly. When we try to trace out the implications of behaving like that consistently and quite generally, our understanding of the alleged possibilities diminishes.

Someone's meaning or understanding something by a certain word on a certain occasion could then perhaps be explained as the person's engaging in a certain practice or conforming to the way that word is used; without some such practice the word would have no meaning at all. But that would account for the person's meaning or understanding that word in a certain particular way only if the description of the general practice says or implies what that word is used to mean in the community in question.

In particular, our acceptance of certain ‘conventions’, whether they be conventions of language or of something else, could not explain the necessity of the things we regard as necessarily so. Nor, I think, could it even account for our acceptance of them. In holding something to be necessarily so we regard its opposite as impossible. It might seem natural, then, to seek the source of the limits of our acknowledging something as a possibility, and to find it somehow in our clear understanding of the state of affairs we regard as necessarily so.

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