Knowledge by Agreement: The Programme of Communitarian Epistemology

By Martin Kusch | Go to book overview

Chapter 15 MEANING FINITISM

TWO GAMES

Meaning finitism runs counter to many of our deepest intuitions about language, truth, and reality. This makes the position difficult to understand, and even more difficult to accept. I shall therefore explain it twice. In this section I shall introduce meaning finitism and its opposite—meaning determinism—in a playful and radically simplified manner. My central simplification will be to model the two different views of meaning on two simple game scenarios. I call these games Risto and Seppo. 1

Imagine the following game, called Risto. (Don't try this at home!) In order to play the game one needs a room filled with various objects, two players (A and B) and a stamp (along with an ink pad). During the first stage of the game, player A stays outside the room. While A is out, B takes the stamp, walks around the room and stamps various objects. Some of the stamp-patterns will be openly visible, others will be on surfaces that are blocked from sight or covered. All of the stamp-patterns are identical in shape and colour. After some time A is allowed back inside the room. His task is to identify all those objects that have the stamp-pattern; such objects are called 'ristos'. 2

Our second game, Seppo, needs the same kind of room as does Risto. But Seppo requires three players (A, B, and C). No stamp or ink pad is needed.

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Knowledge by Agreement: The Programme of Communitarian Epistemology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Knowledge by Agreement iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Figures xiv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I Testimony 7
  • Chapter 1 Questions and Positions 9
  • Chapter 2 the Limits of Testimony 14
  • Chapter 3 Inferentialism —pro and Contra 20
  • Chapter 4 the Global Justification of Testimony 29
  • Chapter 5 Testimony in Communitarian Epistemology 45
  • Chapter 6 Summary 76
  • Appendix I.1 Bayesianism and Testimony 78
  • Part II Empirical Belief 83
  • Chapter 7 Questions About Rationality 85
  • Chapter 8 Foundationalism and Coherentism 91
  • Chapter 9 Direct Realism and Reliabilism 102
  • Chapter 10 Consensualism and Interpretationalism 113
  • Chapter 11 Contextualism and Communitarianism 131
  • Chapter 12 Summary 169
  • Part III Objectivity 171
  • Chapter 13 Beyond Epistemology 173
  • Chapter 14: Normativity and Community 175
  • Chapter 15 Meaning Finitism 197
  • Appendix 15.2 Meaning Scepticism 209
  • Chapter 16 Truth 212
  • Chapter 17 Reality 233
  • Chapter 18 Objectivity 249
  • Chapter 19 Relativism 269
  • Chapter 20 Summary 280
  • Epilogue 283
  • References 287
  • Index 299
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