versión On-line ISSN 1851-9636
Anal. filos. v.25 n.1 Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires mayo 2005
A reply to Julia Vergara's comments
Juan Rodríguez Larreta
I regret that my short reply will not do justice to Julia's important comment.
1) First I will state a couple of exegetical disagreements
Julia (page 2 supra) says that Kripke's analogy with ducks in Central Park is directed not against Wittgenstein § 302 but against Malcolm's interpretation of that paragraph. However, I think Kripke is clearly directing his objection to the External Argument (whether in Wittgenstein's version or in Malcolm's), for he also attacks Wittgenstein's defense of the argument based on the analogy with "five o'clock here" versus "five o'clock in the sun".
Contrary to Julia's opinion (page 2 infra), I don't believe that Kripke sees "a second sceptic paradox in his § 302", to wit, the difficulty which lies in the supposed inability to have an idea of "I" or of "being in" applicable even to one's own pain. Because neither Wittgenstein § 302 nor the External Argument which is based on it contain anything which might suggest this "No ownership" or "Lichtenbergian" problem. I believe that Kripke is merely trying to find out which presuppositions could have led Wittgenstein to perceive a special difficulty in this particular case of conceptual extension which goes from felt pain to unfelt pain.
In page 4 and 5 Julia addresses Wittgenstein's famous "Internal Argument" against a private language and affirms correctly that if such argument were valid then even a person who is the product of a fusion would not be able to have private concepts, and of course we cannot extrapolate concepts we do not have. But then Julia says that my objection to the External Argument is not independent from Wittgenstein's "most famous argument". However, it is very common in philosophy to offer a strong argument against a thesis and also a weaker one against the same thesis: that is why we often hear the expression "if per imposibile"... it is because sometimes the weaker argument is the most convincing! So the External Argument, though weaker than the "Internal" one, can stand on its own an be evaluated on its own merits.
Finally, Julia (page 6, 7, 8 and 9) argues, relying on Wittgenstein's texts, that § 302 does not contain any argument nor alludes to a special difficulty but it rather shows a misunderstanding or confusion. I must confess that what motivated me to write on this problem is not the fact that Wittgenstein originated it but the fact that it is currently held by many philosopher as a powerful argument against traditional epistemology and it is against this argument that my paper is directed. For this reason, the inquiry into the status which Wittgenstein thought it has, though interesting, lies beyond the purpose of my paper.