|Has Sootica bipolarity?|
I take the point that it makes no sense to ascribe bipolarity to chairs, tables or cats. The question of whether Sootica has bipolarity ‘doesn’t arise’. And thus it seems that every time that the question does arise, it will have to be answered ‘yes’. This suggests some oddness: if S ranges only over (meaningful) sentences then sentence A:
A: S has bipolarity
lacks bipolarity, which may cause problems for a theorist of bipolarity.
But bracketing that aspect of this specific putative condition on what is of meaningful, is Mulhall’s argument in general good? Why could one not self-consciously recognise that an aspect of all propositions, of things that one does take to have meaning, is that they have bipolarity (or whatever other aspect of meaning one fancies). It may be that he is not ruling that out. All depends I think on what he means by:
recognising the nonsensicality of ... any ... proposition requires the application of a theory of meaning
If this is given an epistemological reading, that in order to find out whether something is meaningful then we have first to apply this test, then that seems a nonsense (if not actual nonsense). But surely that is not what a fan of bipolarity – or any other theory of propositional form - would say. They’d give it a constitutive reading: to count as a proposition is to pass the test specified by the theory such that the theory applies to the proposition. Aside from bipolarity’s own odd logic, I’m not sure that there could be an argument as quick as Mulhall’s to reject this idea.
Mulhall, S. (2007) Wittgenstein’s Private Language Oxford: Oxford University Press