Language in Dreams: A Threat to Linguistic Antiskepticism

Konstantin Meissner

Abstract



A prominent modern argument against external world skepticism refers to the
linguistic senselessness of skeptical doubt. For example, Wittgenstein writes in
On Certainty: ‘If you are not certain of any fact, you cannot be certain
of the meaning of your words either.’ (OC, 114) External world
skepticism is thus inconceivable simply because it is based on a linguistic
fallacy. But why do we seem to understand skeptical scenarios so easily? From my
point of view, the linguistic antiskepticism needs to tie the meaning of words
to the external world. It is because the skeptic cuts off the links to reality
that she deprives her hypothesis of meaning. In my presentation I discuss
possible amendments for the skeptical position. I focus on the dream argument
and investigate the possibility of a language in a dream.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; skepticism; linguistic anti-skepticism; dream argument; externalism; internalism; brain in a vat; causal theory of meaning

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