Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Wright's Private Language Argument Refuted

(currently unpublished) copyright to myself. Feel free to link but do not repost.

ABSTRACT: Wright’s Private Language Argument Refuted

Crispin Wright has developed a novel take on the private language argument presented by Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations PI 258-60. Wright’s private language argument is ingenious and important, and it has not, to date, been refuted. In this paper I refute Wright’s argument, pointing out that it commits the fallacy of equivocation (it trades on an ambiguity in his use of the phrase “reason to believe”). While there may be a cogent private language argument presented in PI 258-60, Wright has failed to hit upon it.