Edited by Indrek Reiland (University of Barcelona, University of Southern California)
About this topic
Key works Wittgenstein's discussion of rule-following can be found mainly in his Philosophical Investigations and Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics. Important commentaries which largely started the contemporary discussion are Wright 1980 and Kripke 1982. Further work includes McDowell 1984 which comments on both Wright's and Kripke's interpretations while defending his own, Pettit 1990 which defends the reality of rule-following and Ch. 1 of Brandom 1994 which provides a very clear statement of the basic issues. A lot of work from this period is collected in Miller & Wright 2002. Recent work includes Wright 2007, Boghossian 2008, Panjvani 2008, Yamada 2010, and Ginsborg 2011.
Introductions Although there are no strictly introductory articles available as of yet, one can get a grip on the basic issues by reading Boghossian 1989, and Pettit 1990.
Related categories

242 found
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  1. Wittgenstein, Rules and Origin - Privacy.D. F. Ackermann - 1983 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 1:63-69.
  2. Wittgenstein's Epistemology of Rule Following: Understanding and Evaluation.M. I. Afaqui - 1994 - Pakistan Philosophical Journal 31:35.
  3. Saul Kripke.Arif Ahmed - 2007 - Bloomsbury Academic.
    Saul Kripke is one of the most important and original post-war analytic philosophers. His work has undeniably had a profound impact on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. Yet his ideas are amongst the most challenging frequently encountered by students of philosophy. In this informative and accessible book, Arif Ahmed provides a clear and thorough account of Kripke's philosophy, his major works and ideas, providing an ideal guide to the important and complex thought of this key philosopher. (...)
  4. Puzzles About Rule-Following : Pi 185-242.Erich Ammereller - 2004 - In Erich Ammereller & Eugen Fisher (eds.), Wittgenstein at Work: Method in the Philosophical Investigations. Routledge. pp. 127.
  5. Problem of Normativity, Rules and Rule-Following.Michał Araszkiewicz, Paweł Banaś, Tomasz Gizbert-Studnicki & Krzysztof Płeszka (eds.) - 2015 - Springer.
  6. Following a Rule.Robert L. Arrington - 2001 - In Hans-Johann Glock (ed.), Wittgenstein: A Critical Reader. Blackwell. pp. 119--137.
  7. Can There Be a Private Language?A. J. Ayer - 1954 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 28:63-94.
  8. The Rule-Following Paradox and the Impossibility of Private Rule-Following.Jody Azzouni - 2010 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5 (1).
    Kripke’s version of Wittgenstein’s rule-following paradox has been influential. My concern is with how it—and Wittgenstein’s views more generally—have been perceived as undercutting the individualistic picture of mathematical practice: the view that individuals—Robinson Crusoes—can, entirely independently of a community, engage in cogent mathematics, and indeed have “private languages.” What has been denied is that phrases like “correctly counting” can be applied to such individuals because these normative notions can only be applied cogently in a context involving community standards. I attempt (...)
  9. Malcolm on Language and Rules.Gordon P. Baker & P. M. S. Hacker - 1990 - Philosophy 65 (252):167-179.
    In ‘Wittgenstein on Language and Rules’, Professor N. Malcolm took us to task for misinterpreting Wittgenstein's arguments on the relationship between the concept of following a rule and the concept of community agreement on what counts as following a given rule. Not that we denied that there are any grammatical connections between these concepts. On the contrary, we emphasized that a rule and an act in accord with it make contact in language. Moreover we argued that agreement in judgments and (...)
  10. Wittgenstein: Rules, Grammar and Necessity.Gordon P. Baker & P. M. S. Hacker - 1985 - Blackwell.
  11. Scepticism, Rules and Language.Gordon P. Baker & P. M. S. Hacker - 1984 - Blackwell.
  12. On the Possibility of a Solitary Language.Dorit Bar-On - 1992 - Noûs 26 (1):27-46.
  13. Rule-Following and the Evolution of Basic Concepts.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):829-839.
    This article concerns how rule-following behavior might evolve, how an old evolved rule might come to be appropriated to a new context, and how simple concepts might coevolve with rule-following behavior. In particular, we consider how the transitive inferential rule-following behavior exhibited by pinyon and scrub jays might evolve in the context of a variety of the Skyrms-Lewis signaling game, then how such a rule might come to be appropriated to carry out inferences regarding stimuli different from those involved in (...)
  14. Forms of Life and Following Rules: A Wittgensteinian Defence of Relativism.K. Barry Donald - 1996 - E.J. Brill.
    This book provides a defence of epistemological relativism against its most powerful opponents.
  15. How Not to Think About Rules and Rule Following: A Response to Stueber.Lorenzo Bernasconi-Kohn - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):86-94.
    This article offers a critique of Karsten Stueber’s account of rule following as presented in his article "How to Think about Rules and Rule Following." The task Stueber sets himself is of defending the idea that human practices are bound and guided by rules (both causally and normatively) while avoiding the discredited "cognitive model of rule following." This article argues that Stueber’s proposal is unconvincing because it falls foul of the very problems it sets out to avoid. Stueber’s defense of (...)
  16. Rule-Following Made Easy.Sven Bernecker - 2004 - In Winfried Löffler & Paul Weingartner (eds.), Knowledge and Belief. öbv-hpt. pp. 63-69.
    I argue that the problem of rule-following rests on semantic internalism and that semantic externalism makes the problem evaporate. Given that the rule-following problem is a version of the general problem that the reference of an intentional phenomenon is underdetermined by its meaning, semantic externalism solves the problem by reducing meaning to reference. Since both Kripke and Wittgenstein are proponents of semantic externalism, the problem of rule-following is not a problem for either Kripke or Wittgenstein, but only for Wittgenstein’s internalist (...)
  17. Bildung, Meaning, and Reasons.Matteo Bianchin - 2012 - Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 41 (1-3):73-102.
    By endorsing that Bildung is a condition for thought, McDowell explicitly sets out to revive a theme in classical german philosophy. As long as the concept of Bildung is intended to play a role in McDowell’s theory of meaning and reasons, however, it is best understood in the light of its distinctive combination of neo-Fregeanism about content and Wittgensteinianism about rule-following. The Fregean part is there to warrant that reasons are objective, the Wittgensteinian move is to account for our grasping (...)
  18. Dispositions, Rules and Finks.A. Bird & T. Handfield - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (2):285-98.
    This paper discusses the prospects of a dispositional solution to the Kripke-Wittgenstein rule-following puzzle. Recent attempts to repair dispositional approaches to this puzzle have appealed to the ideas of finks and antidotes - interfering dispositions and conditions - to explain why the rule-following disposition is not always manifested. We argue that this approach fails: agents cannot be supposed to have straightforward dispositions to follow a rule which are in some fashion masked by other, contrary dispositions of the agent, because in (...)
  19. Notes on the Meaning of 'Rule'.Max Black - 1958 - Theoria 24 (3):139-161.
  20. Notes on the Meaning of ‘Rule’.Max Black - 1958 - Theoria 24 (2):107-126.
  21. Reply : Rule-Following and Moral Realism.Simon Blackburn - 1981 - In S. Holtzman & Christopher M. Leich (eds.), Wittgenstein: To Follow a Rule. Routledge. pp. 163--87.
  22. Wittgenstein, Rules and Institutions.David Bloor - 1997 - Routledge.
    David Bloor's challenging new evaluation of Wittgenstein's account of rules and rule-following brings together the rare combination of philosophical and sociological viewpoints. Wittgenstein enigmatically claimed that the way we follow rules is an "institution" without ever explaining what he meant by this term. Wittgenstein's contribution to the debate has since been subject to sharply opposed interpretations by "collectivist" and "individualist" readings by philosophers; in the light of this controversy, Bloor argues convincingly for a collectivist, sociological understanding of Wittgenstein's later work. (...)
  23. Content and Justification: Philosophical Papers.A. Boghossian Paul - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume presents a series of influential essays by Paul Boghossian on the theory of content and on its relation to the phenomenon of a priori knowledge. The essays are organized under four headings: the nature of content; content and self-knowledge; knowledge, content, and the a priori; and colour concepts.
  24. Blind Rule-Following.Paul A. Boghossian - 2012 - In Crispin Wright & Annalisa Coliva (eds.), Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge: Themes From the Philosophy of Crispin Wright. Oxford University Press.
  25. Sense, Reference and Rule-Following. [REVIEW]Paul A. Boghossian - 1993 - Philosophical Issues 4 (1):135-141.
    This is a critical discussion of Jerrold Katz's "The\nMetaphysics of Meaning". The essay raises some questions\nabout exactly how Katz's new intensionalism' is to be\nunderstood, and about its plausibility. It also questions\nthe views ability to solve the outstanding problems in the\nphilosophy of mind and language.
  26. The Rule-Following Considerations.Paul A. Boghossian - 1989 - Mind 98 (392):507-49.
    I. Recent years have witnessed a great resurgence of interest in the writings of the later Wittgenstein, especially with those passages roughly, Philosophical Investigations p)I 38 — 242 and Remarks on the Foundations of mathematics, section VI that are concerned with the topic of rules. Much of the credit for all this excitement, unparalleled since the heyday of Wittgenstein scholarship in the early IIJ6os, must go to Saul Kripke's I4rittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. It is easy to explain why. (...)
  27. Rule-Following Skepticism, Properly So Called.Jason Bridges - 2014 - In Andrea Kern & James Conant (eds.), Varieties of Skepticism: Essays After Kant, Wittgenstein, and Cavell. De Gruyter. pp. 249-288.
  28. Developing an Understanding of Social Norms and Games : Emotional Engagement, Nonverbal Agreement, and Conversation.Ingar Brinck - 2014 - Theory and Psychology 24 (6):737–754.
    The first part of the article examines some recent studies on the early development of social norms that examine young children’s understanding of codified rule games. It is argued that the constitutive rules than define the games cannot be identified with social norms and therefore the studies provide limited evidence about socio-normative development. The second part reviews data on children’s play in natural settings that show that children do not understand norms as codified or rules of obligation, and that the (...)
  29. Normativity in Reasoning.John Broome - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):622-633.
    Reasoning is a process through which premise-attitudes give rise to a conclusion-attitude. When you reason actively you operate on the propositions that are the contents of your premise-attitudes, following a rule, to derive a new proposition that is the content of your conclusion-attitude. It may seem that, when you follow a rule, you must, at least implicitly, have the normative belief that you ought to comply with the rule, which guides you to comply. But I argue that to follow a (...)
  30. Grimlaicus: Rule for Solitaries. [REVIEW]Scott Bruce - 2011 - The Medieval Review 11.
  31. Wittgenstein on Meaning, Interpretation and Rules.Malcolm Budd - 1984 - Synthese 58 (March):303-324.
  32. Concept Nativism and the Rule Following Considerations.M. J. Cain - 2006 - Acta Analytica 21 (38):77-101.
    In this paper I argue that the most prominent and familiar features of Wittgenstein’s rule following considerations generate a powerful argument for the thesis that most of our concepts are innate, an argument that echoes a Chomskyan poverty of the stimulus argument. This argument has a significance over and above what it tells us about Wittgenstein’s implicit commitments. For, it puts considerable pressure on widely held contemporary views of concept learning, such as the view that we learn concepts by constructing (...)
  33. McDowell and Hegel on Following a Rule.Louis Carré - 2015 - Hegel-Jahrbuch 2015 (1).
  34. Ruling-Out Realism.Peter Carruthers - 1985 - Philosophia 15 (1-2):61-78.
    The case for anti-realism in the theory of meaning, as presented by Dummen and Wright, 1 is only partly convincing. There is, I shall suggest, a crucial lacuna in the argument, that can only be filled by the later Wittgenstein's following-a-rule considerations. So it is the latter that provides the strongest argument for the rejection of semantic realism.
    By 'realism', throughout, I should be taken as referring to any conception of meaning that leaves open the possibility that a sentence may have (...)
  35. Baker and Hacker's Wittgenstein. [REVIEW]Peter Carruthers - 1984 - Synthese 58 (3):451-79.
  36. 'Kripke's Near Miss' and Some Other Considerations On Rule Following.Rodrigo Jungmann de Castro - 2008 - Princípios 15 (23):135-151.
    In his 1982 book Wittgenstein On Rules and Private Language, Saul Kripke maintains that Wittgenstein´s rule following considerations land us with a skeptical argument about meaning. This essay contains a short exposition of Kripke´s argument. In addition, I hold, both on textual grounds and by an appeal to some select secondary literature, that Wittgenstein offered no such skeptical argument in the Philosophical Investigations . Although Wittgenstein certainly repudiates a view of meaning based on temporally located mental states, it does not (...)
  37. Solitary Rule-Following.T. Stephen Champlin - 1992 - Philosophy 67 (261):285-306.
    Can a rule be followed by one person who has lived all his life in as complete isolation from other human beings as is consistent with his mere physical survival? This question divides philosophers as sharply today as it did over thirty years ago when, prompted by their reading of Wittgenstein, they first asked it. My aim here is to suggest a way of reconciling the two opposing sides in the current debate. I also hope to explain why it was (...)
  38. A New Look at the Problem of Rule-Following: A Generic Perspective.Kai-Yuan Cheng - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (1):1 - 21.
    The purpose of this paper is to look at the problem of rule-following—notably discussed by Kripke (Wittgenstein on rules and private language, 1982) and Wittgenstein (Philosophical investigations, 1953)—from the perspective of the study of generics. Generics are sentences that express generalizations that tolerate exceptions. I first suggest that meaning ascriptions be viewed as habitual sentences, which are a sub-set of generics. I then seek a proper semantic analysis for habitually construed meaning sentences. The quantificational approach is rejected, due to its (...)
  39. The Sceptical Paradox and the Nature of the Self.Tony Cheng - 2016 - Philosophical Investigations 39 (1):3-14.
    In the present article, I attempt to relate Saul Kripke's “sceptical paradox” to some issues about the self; specifically, the relation between the self and its mental states and episodes. I start with a brief reconstruction of the paradox, and venture to argue that it relies crucially on a Cartesian model of the self: the sceptic regards the Wittgensteinian “infinite regress of interpretation” as the foundation of his challenge, and this is where he commits the crucial mistake. After the diagnosis, (...)
  40. Rule-Based Explanations and the Philosophy of Mind.Deborah Antoinette Conrad - 1988 - Dissertation, Wayne State University
    Rule-based explanations are accounts of phenomena that cite or appeal to rules . Such explanations of human action are ubiquitous in philosophy and in everyday life. The endeavor I call "computational" cognitive science presupposes a type of rule-based explanation of human behavior that appeals to rules like those that comprise computer programs. This dissertation furnishes an analysis of the concepts of rule and rule following assumed in the two varieties of explanation in order to determine whether they are conceptually compatible. (...)
  41. Rule-Following and the Objectivity of Proof.Cesare Cozzo - 2004 - In Annalisa Coliva & Eva Picardi (eds.), Wittgenstein Today. Il poligrafo. pp. 185--200.
    Ideas on meaning, rules and mathematical proofs abound in Wittgenstein’s writings. The undeniable fact that they are present together, sometimes intertwined in the same passage of Philosophical Investigations or Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, does not show, however, that the connection between these ideas is necessary or inextricable. The possibility remains, and ought to be checked, that they can be plausibly and consistently separated. I am going to examine two views detectable in Wittgenstein’s works: one about proofs, the other (...)
  42. Meaning and Privacy.Edward Craig - 1997 - In Bob Hale & C. Wright (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Blackwell. pp. 541-564.
  43. Aesthetic Concepts, Perceptual Learning, and Linguistic Enculturation: Considerations From Wittgenstein, Language, and Music.Adam M. Croom - 2012 - Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 46:90-117.
    Aesthetic non-cognitivists deny that aesthetic statements express genuinely aesthetic beliefs and instead hold that they work primarily to express something non-cognitive, such as attitudes of approval or disapproval, or desire. Non-cognitivists deny that aesthetic statements express aesthetic beliefs because they deny that there are aesthetic features in the world for aesthetic beliefs to represent. Their assumption, shared by scientists and theorists of mind alike, was that language-users possess cognitive mechanisms with which to objectively grasp abstract rules fixed independently of human (...)
  44. Thick Concepts, Non-Cognitivism, and Wittgenstein's Rule Following Considerations.Adam M. Croom - 2010 - South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):286-309.
    Non-cognitivists claim that thick concepts can be disentangled into distinct descriptive and evaluative components and that since thick concepts have descriptive shape they can be mastered independently of evaluation. In Non-Cognitivism and Rule-Following, John McDowell uses Wittgenstein’s rule-following considerations to show that such a non-cognitivist view is untenable. In this paper I do several things. I describe the non-cognitivist position in its various forms and explain its driving motivations. I then explain McDowell’s argument against non-cognitivism and the Wittgensteinian considerations upon (...)
  45. Wittgenstein, Kripke, and the Rule Following Paradox.Adam M. Croom - 2010 - Dialogue 52 (3):103-109.
    In?201 of Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein puts forward his famous? rule - following paradox.? The paradox is how can one follow in accord with a rule? the applications of which are potentially infinite? when the instances from which one learns the rule and the instances in which one displays that one has learned the rule are only finite? How can one be certain of rule - following at all? In Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language, Saul Kripke concedes the skeptical (...)
  46. The Second Person.Donald Davidson - 1992 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 17 (1):255-267.
  47. Rules and Dispositions in Language Use.Florian Demont-Biaggi - 2014 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Human language is not arbitrary. But how is its use constrained? Are there rules or general human dispositions that govern it? Rules and Dispositions in Language Use explains how correct language use is indeed governed by both rules and general human dispositions. It does so by bringing together themes from Ludwig Wittgenstein and Noam Chomsky, which for many years have been thought to be incompatible. -/- Opening with a fresh discussion of Saul Kripke's work on rule-following and meaning, the question (...)
  48. Rules: Looking in the Right Place.Cora Diamond - 1989 - In Dayton Z. Phillips & Peter G. Winch (eds.), Wittgenstein.
  49. Following Rules of Nature, Not the Pedestrian Muse: Reply to Yamada.Daniel Dohrn - manuscript
    I criticize Yamada's account of rule-following. Yamada's conditions are not necessary. And he misses the deepest level of the rule-following considerations: how meaning rules come about.
  50. Rule Following, Rule Scepticism and Indeterminacy in Law: A Conventional Account.Peter Drahos & Stephen Parker - 1992 - Ratio Juris 5 (1):109-119.
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