What holds together the things to which a general word applies and distinguishes them from other things? The idea behind Wittgenstein's treatment of linguistic regularity (commonly called ‘rule-following’) is that the answers given to this question by traditional theories, like classical Realism and Nominalism, are empty because there is no independent way of identifying either the universals or the specific similarities that are invoked. But what, if anything, does philosophy have to say about linguistic regularity? Given the difficulty of saying exactly what Wittgenstein's answer is, different commentators pick different features of his treatment and optimistically treat them as central.
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