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Child Rules Rule Following Notes

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William Child - Wittgenstein Chapter Five - The later philosophy: intentionality and rule-following

2. Rules and Rule-Following


Wittgenstein's discussion of rules is influenced by:
* his refutation of the imagist view of thought - in fact, any picture can be interpreted in numerous different ways, hence what a picture represents is not intrinsic but a matter of application
* his family resemblance theory - our grasp of e.g. 'game' depends on the contingent fact that, having been introduced to the word in various examples, we find it natural to apply it in new cases in the same way Wittgenstein considers two kinds of questions about rules:
* constitutive questions: what makes it the case that the correct continuation of the series '+2' is '1000, 1002, 1004, 1006', and not '1000, 1004, 1008, 1012'? (accord with the rule)
* questions bout our knowledge/grasp of rules: what makes it the case that I have grasped the rule for adding 2? How do I know what I have to do at each successive step in order to follow the rule?

i. The constitutive question
* Philosophers have tended to answer the constitutive question in two ways:
* Platonism: it is an absolutely objective fact that the correct continuation of the series '2, 4, 6...996, 998' is '1000, 1002' etc, and likewise with applying descriptive words - it is an absolutely objective fact that someone who has been trained in the normal way to use the word 'red' is using it correctly when applied to ripe tomatoes. This is because the continuation is (absolutely) the simplest or most natural,
# Wittgenstein rejects Platonism:
* first - there are evidently indefinitely many possible ways of continuing a series; if we point to something and say 'this is called "Boo"', the word 'Boo' might have 10,000 meanings, none of which is absolutely correct/simplest/most natural
* second - we cannot justify the claim that our way of continuing is absolutely the correct one. if someone continues the series '1000, 1004, 1008' then he is not going on in the same way by our standards, but clearly he is judged by his standards
* we cannot show that our standards are absolutely correct
* third - the idea of an absolutely correct continuation makes no sense. it is not that we can't tell whether our way is correct; rather there is no such thing as an absolutely correct continuation - there are no further facts behind what is most natural by our standards
* Constructivism: the correct application of a rule is determined by what we (would) take to be correct when we (if we were to) consider the case and reach a verdict - the fact that we find it natural to continue the series (in normal circumstances at least) by putting '1002, 1004, 1006' makes that the correct continuation. Normative claims about correct

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