The transition from causes to norms: Wittgenstein on training

Grazer Philosophische Studien 71 (1):205-225 (2006)
Anti-reductionist philosophers have often argued that mental and linguistic phenomena contain an intrinsically normative element that cannot be captured by the natural sciences which focus on causal rather than rational relations. This line of reasoning raises the questions of how reasons could evolve in a world of causes and how children can be acculturated to participate in rule-governed social practices. In this paper I will sketch a Wittgensteinian answer to these questions. I will first point out that throughout his later philosophy Wittgenstein draws a sharp distinction between "teaching" and "training": newly-born children are trained (conditioned) to react to specific stimuli in specific ways, which then allows them to acquire concepts and follow rules. I will then show that this picture presupposes a strong analogy between concepts and capacities, which is also present in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. In the last section I will point out that Wittgenstein only discusses the ontogenetic question of how individual children can acquire speech, but not the phylogenetic question of how rule-governed behavior could evolve in the first place. I will argue that this strategy should not be seen as a shortcoming, but rather as an expression of Wittgenstein's approach that can be characterized as naturalistic in a wide sense.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,651
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Michael Luntley (2008). Training and Learning. Educational Philosophy and Theory 40 (5):695-711.
Michael Luntley (2009). On Education and Initiation. Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (s1):41-56.
David Bakhurst (2015). Training, Transformation and Education. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 76:301-327.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

30 ( #158,973 of 1,902,709 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #329,673 of 1,902,709 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.