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Mission Impossible and Wittgenstein's Standard Metre

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In this paper, I argue that context sensitivity is crucial for a proper exegesis of Wittgenstein's remark that one can say of the standard metre rod neither that it is one metre long nor that it is not one metre long. I discuss cases in which we can meaningfully assert that the rod in question is one metre long and explain why these cases do not conflict with Wittgenstein's insight. I analyse Pollock's recent defence of Wittgenstein's remark, as well as Kripke's objections to it, and show that, while their commentaries are helpful, blindness to context renders them unsatisfactory.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-04-01

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