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Malcolm Wittgenstein On Language And Rules Notes

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Norman Malcolm - Wittgenstein on Language and Rules

1. *

Disagreement: does Wittgenstein think (and is it correct) that community agreement is a necessary condition for rule-following (Malcolm - community view), or is a non-social (i.e. solitary) regularity sufficient (Baker/Hacker)?
* this is played out through the question of whether a Robinson Crusoe could be said to be following rules


Baker/Hacker: 'The pivotal point in Wittgenstein's remarks on following rules is that a rule is internally related to acts which accord with it. The rule and nothing but the rule determines what is correct. This idea is incompatible with defining 'correct' in terms of what is normal or standard practice in a community. To take the behaviour of the majority to be the criterion of correctness in applying rules is to abrogate the internal relation of a rule to acts in accord with it. // There is no possibility of building consensus in behaviour (or shared dispositions) into the explanation of what 'correct' means except at the price of abandoning the insight that a rule is internally related to acts in accord with it.'

2. 1. Acts that accord are internally related to the rule in the sense that if you do not do this then you aren't following the rule a. i.e. if you multiply 25 by 25 and don't get 625 you multiplied incorrectly - the result is a criterion of correctness

2. BUT not internal relation in the sense that the according acts are somehow contained in the rule a. a rule is not an extension - the applications of a rule are not given with the rule, but have to be produced or constructed

3. 'The rule and nothing but the rule determines what is correct' a. but what if people disagree over what is accordance with the rule? We can only have rules where there is a framework of overwhelming agreement i. (this seems question begging - there is only the possibility of agreement/disagreement where there is a community, and Malcolm hasn't yet shown that it would be impossible for a RC to follow a rule. In any case the stated W quote looks consistent with the view that where there is a community, a communal rule must require agreement - this doesn't entail that RC can't follow a rule) b. this neglects W's insight that a rule only determines in a setting of quiet agreement without community agreement, a rule is empty, naked, indeterminate


Wittgenstein replaces the picture of the interpreted rule as determining the series 'like an infallible machine through which a conveyor belt runs' with the picture of a person who has been given a certain training, and determines (without reflection) that a rule determines this step
* this step is what others will agree is what the rule demands
* for Wittgenstein, agreement on rules is necessary for the existence of language Baker/Hacker claim that 'if the rule is given, then so is its 'extension''
* but how can this be, if the rule is not its extension, or does not contain its extension?
* also, if this is true, then the phenomenon of near universal agreement in applying rules is

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