Wittgenstein on rules and practices

Abstract
Some readers of Wittgenstein---I discuss Robert Brandom---think that his writings contain a regress argument showing that the notion of participating in a practice is more basic than the notion of following a rule, in explanations of linguistic correctness. But the regress argument bears equally on both these notions: if there is an explanatory regress of rules, then there is an explanatory regress of practices as well. Why then does Wittgenstein invoke the notion of a practice, apparently by way of diagnosing the error on which the regress argument rests? I suggest that he invokes that notion to emphasize certain aspects of rule-following which we are apt to neglect, when we forget that rule-following is---not, rests upon---participating in a practice. When we appreciate those aspects of rule/practice-following we see the flaw in both regress arguments.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2002_24
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