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Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind$
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Jonathan Ellis and Daniel Guevara

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737666

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737666.001.0001

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Rule-Following Revisited

Rule-Following Revisited

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter 4 Rule-Following Revisited
Source:
Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind
Author(s):

Warren Goldfarb

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737666.003.0005

This chapter argues that Wittgenstein does not aim, as many interpreters suggest, to show that our practices of rule-following are groundless, but nor does he aim to show that these practices are grounded, in any philosophical sense of these terms. Rather, Wittgenstein wishes to undermine the very notions of grounds and groundlessness that philosophers attempt to employ in discussions of rule-following. The mistake that many of Wittgenstein’s readers make, it is argued, is to suppose that questions of justification or explanation concerning rule-following can be appropriately posed quite generally, i.e., without respect to particular, ordinary cases in which a need for justification or explanation arises. It is here where Wittgenstein’s emphasis on practice is important. The practices that Wittgenstein has in mind are not merely, as many interpreters have assumed, the practices of how to proceed in certain cases--that we put 1,002 after 1,000 when following the instruction “add 2”, for instance. But they crucially include the practices we engage in when questions of justification or grounds arise in ordinary contexts, what we say and do in those situations.

Keywords:   Wittgenstein, rule-following, practice, justification, grounds, grounded, explanation, add 2, ordinary, private language, follow a rule, Philosophical Investigations

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