Patterns, Particularism and Seeing the Similarity

Philosophical Papers 31 (3):271-291 (2002)
Abstract I argue for a form of particularism from a reading of Wittgenstein's critique of the idea that word use is governed by rules. In place of the idea that word use is driven by rules, I show how the patterns of word use, in virtue of which we express our reasons, emerge from our ongoing practice, including our practice of seeing things as similar. I argue that the notion of seeing the similarities is primitive for Wittgenstein. The remark, ?this and similar things are called ?games?? does not signal a form of ignorance. It signals the constitutive role that speakers, as judges, have to play in the metaphysics of the patterns of word use
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