Wittgenstein, Dummett, and anti-realism
may occasionally fail — Srap Tasmaner
they could fail all the time (say, if for some reason it became hard to identify gold, because the sign by which people identified it before went away)
but that failure we wouldn't usually describe as not knowing which word to use (though that happens too) but as not knowing whether the word applies in the case at hand. — Srap Tasmaner
it'd be described as not knowing whether something's gold. a consequence
of that would be not knowing the word applies, but that's just an epiphenomenon. the point is they can't figure out it's gold.
competence using the word "gold" does require competence in recognizing gold. — Srap Tasmaner
right. it only means knowing that 'gold' refers to gold.
We don't expect the congenitally blind to be able to acquire competence in using color words, for instance — Srap Tasmaner
i don't think this is right. the blind might have certain difficulties figuring out that things are certain colors (though sometimes not - there are many ways to do this besides seeing them), but they know what the words mean, at least to a large extent. perhaps loss of vision results in some
lack of semantic competence, but certainly not total.
And the only way we have to judge another's linguistic competence is by observing how consistently they link occasion features we recognize to words we expect. I don't want to leap to the conclusion that this is what competence consists of, but it is the criteria by which we judge it. (Just as there are criteria by which we pick out gold.) — Srap Tasmaner
this is just not right. we don't judge whether someone knows what 'gold' means by how good of a prospector
criteria by which we happen to pick out a material don't determine what the word referring to the material means; 'gold' just means that very stuff, gold. we might use any number of criteria to pick it out, and these might change over time or disappear, or new ones might arise.
And honestly the ideal would be high empirical competence coupled with high linguistic competence. Failure of either sort degrades the effectiveness of communication, right? — Srap Tasmaner
lack of empirical competence only constrains communication in the sense that it'll be harder to say certain true things, because you can't figure out what's true. in general it would be absurd to expect competence in all empirical matters that involve the use of a word - then we could be omniscient just by learning a language.