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

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2007.00313.x

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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