[SydPhil] Philosophy Seminar at Macquarie - Alex Miller

Jane Johnson jane.johnson at mq.edu.au
Sat Nov 9 14:59:38 AEDT 2013

Alex Miller of the University of Otago will give the final Macquarie
University Philosophy Seminar for 2013 on Friday 15th November 1-3 in
W6A127. His title and abstract are included below.

*Blind Rule-Following *

 Since Saul Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language it has been
common to identify the “rule-following problem” as finding an answer to the
questions: What makes it the case that a given agent is following one rule
rather than another? And: what makes it the case that a speaker means one
thing rather than another by a linguistic expression? In a series of
important papers in the 1980s and 1990s, Crispin Wright and Paul Boghossian
argued that this problem could be neutralised via the adoption of a form of
non-reductionism about content. In recent work on “blind rule-following”,
however, both now argue that even if a non-reductionist view can be
defended in such a way as to neutralise the challenge posed by Kripke’s
Wittgenstein, a more fundamental problem about rule-following remains
unsolved. I will argue that this is a mistake. Specifically, I will argue
that: if, courtesy of a non-reductionist conception of content, we can
successfully meet the challenge posed by Kripke’s Wittgenstein, there are
no further problems about rule-following along the lines of those suggested
by Boghossian and Wright in their most recent writings on this topic.
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