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"This was our paradox: no course of action could be determined by a rule, because any course of action can be made out to accord with the rule" - Wittgenstein

This paradox is purported to call into question the possibility of meaning determining rules in language. It has been treated in disparate ways by philosophers such as Saul Kripke, and John McDowell.

To me it seems the paradox would simply evaporate in the face of consensualism, with natural language being a social construct and all...

Question: Has anybody taken to Wittgenstein with a Consensual theory of Truth?

  • Consensualism is Wittgenstein's own dissolution of the paradox. The "rule" in the paradox is meant to be something like a verbal instruction ("interpretation"), and "“there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation, but which is exhibited in what we call "obeying the rule" and "going against it"". Communal customs obviously exist, and can be grasped and reinforced. Wittgenstein simply reverses the causation:"Because they all agree in what they do, we lay it down as a rule, and put it in the archives". Rules do not come first, what is followed becomes "the rule". – Conifold May 15 at 4:10
  • @Conifold I take it McDowell reads closer to the truth? Also, to what extend did Wittgenstein follow consensualism? – christo183 May 15 at 5:40
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    "Consensualism" is not a widely used term. Kusch invented it in 2000-s to characterize Lehrer's views on "knowledge by agreement". Wittgenstein does not go this far. To him, communal customs are not all contingently chosen, they are themselves derivative, from empirical regularities of behavior:"It is as if we had hardened the empirical proposition into a rule." But he did not develop this line of thought very far. As it applies to mathematics, see Steiner's Empirical Regularities in Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Mathematics. – Conifold May 15 at 9:44

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