In Daniel Whiting (ed.), The Later Wittgenstein on Language. Palgrave-Macmillan (2010)
According to the received view the later Wittgenstein subscribed to the thesis that speaking a language requires being guided by rules (thesis RG). In this paper we question the received view. On its most intuitive reading, we argue, (RG) is very much at odds with central tenets of the later Wittgenstein. Giving up on this reading, however, threatens to deprive the notion of rule-following of any real substance. Consequently, the rule-following considerations cannot charitably be read as a deep and subtle defense of (RG) against the threat of paradox, as proponents of the received view are wont to do. Instead, we argue, the rule-following considerations provide Wittgenstein's deep and subtle reasons for rejecting the very idea that speaking a language involves rule-guidance. Although Wittgenstein subscribed to (RG) during his middle period writings, his later remarks on rules, far from being a clarification and elaboration of his earlier views, are directed against the claim of the middle period that speaking a language is an essentially rule-guided activity.
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