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2 So when 2 Colin McGinn, Wittgenstein on Meaning (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984), p. 81. ”3 So his conclusion is that Wittgenstein held that “a sign has meaning only in virtue of being (repeatedly) used in a certain way. ”4 McGinn himself goes even further: “Wittgenstein is right to describe rule-following as a practice or custom only in the sense that necessarily rules are things that can be followed on repeated occasions, not that necessarily they are repeatedly followed. ”5 So neither McGinn’s Wittgenstein nor McGinn would presumably see anything conceptually impossible in the notion of an isolated person inventing and using in speech only with herself or himself a vocabulary of colors.

Colors, cultures, and practices 37 also only because and insofar as we are assured that those objects have continued to possess the properties which make it correct to use those same words of them that we are able so to appeal. In our normal procedures the appeal to reassuring interlocutors and the appeal to standard objects stand or fall together. With our imagined solitary, isolated person it is quite otherwise. For in her or his case there are no reassuring interlocutors. So it is not only that the appeal to standard objects is detached from that to interlocutors, but that by being made independent it is itself weakened.

Any use of a color vocabulary which is more than minimal involves, as I noticed earlier, the rule-governed extension of the use and application of color words beyond the situations and the types of situation in which they were first used; any use of a color vocabulary which achieves intelligible utterance requires the performance of a certain range of intelligible speech acts in giving expression to judgments about colors. What degree of extension and what precise range I leave open. There is even so a tension between the satisfaction of these two requirements and the satisfaction of the corrigibility condition.

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