How to be a good philosopher? Are there any rules?

Abstract: The paper represents an attempt to present and discuss a puzzle derived from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s rule-following considerations, aiming to avoid the existent ambiguities and conceptual misunderstandings. It is shown that the traditional logical approach to language is in principle unable to solve the puzzle. lthough this result was ta!en to balance the odds in the favour of a naturalistic approach to the aim of producing a philosophical theor" of natural language, it is also shown that this approach is e#uall" wrong-headed. few more general considerations with respect to the implications of this negative result are formulated in the end. 1. It has been said more than once about philosophical questions that they are meaningless. And it might be true of at least some questions usually asked by philosophers that they are so indeed. As philosophers, we cannot just rely on our own natural linguistic abilities and hope that this will do. e!eral e"amples ha!e been produced, if only in the philosophical literature of the last century, illustrating situations in which sentences that we would be inclined to consider meaningful pro!e to be, after a more careful e"amination, quite meaningless#. As a consequence, ha!ing a solid theory of language to pro!ide us with the criteria for distinguishing between meaningful and meaningless sentences could be regarded as a prerequisite task for a philosophical in!estigation. I belie!e that such a theory will rest at least on the following assumption$: %A& 'here is a set of rules that go!ern our linguistic acti!ities, such that, for any linguistic utterance, we are able to say if it breaks or agrees with some of these rules. (e can point out which rules were supposed to apply to the considered situation and which, if this is the case, ha!e not been correctly followed. In the second case, not only can we state that a
'his paper was supported by a research grant offered by the Ale"ander !on Humboldt *oundation between +ay and eptember $,,$ in the frame of a special program for scientific reco!ery in -alkans. *or useful comments and suggestions I am indebted to +ircea *lonta, Herbert chn.delbach, /eert 0eil and 0athrin /luer12agin.
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Adrian 2aul Iliescu %in 3(ittgenstein and the problem of nonsensical philosophical questions3, 4e!. filos., 567, 8, p. 89:18;,, -ucharest, #::< =in 4omanian>& discusses a few e"amples of this sort offered by (ittgenstein.

I ha!e elsewhere %namely, in /heorghe tefano!, 'he (ittgensteinian ?hallenge to the ?ontemporary 2hilosophical Approaches to 6anguage, doctoral thesis submitted at the @epartment of 2hilosophy, Ani!ersity of -ucharest, $,,,, =4omanian, unpublished>& considered other assumptions %like the one that we can distinguish between simple and comple" elements of language, between the sense and the force of an utterance, between language and metalanguage or between logical rules and semantical rules& and tried to show how they could be criticised from a (ittgensteinean point of !iew. 'hat enterprise was somewhat similar %keeping the proportions& to the one pursued by Hacker and -aker, #:<8. Howe!er, I belie!e that %A& goes deeper than any other assumption. Indeed, it is hard to see how an" normati!e semantical theory not assuming a !ersion of %A& would look like.

abstract or perhaps mental&. ::1##. if I can still show that it is wrong&. mostly willing to accept that I did not if the arguments presented here turn out to be feeble. I will first show how (ittgensteinCs 4*? lead to the conclusion that if the rules are seen as some sort of entities %linguistic. howe!er. -oghossian. uppose that we ha!e two e"tremely simple languages9. we could start a philosophical in!estigation being completely assured that the question we are trying to answer is not a meaningless one. -ut if someone accepts them. In what follows I will do little more %if any& than re1enact (ittgensteinCs arguments..& Fach of these has generated !arious attempts to pro!ide a solution. 6et us begin by looking at an e"ample. we would be able to detect. pp. #:<:. that it so happened. usually presented as an alternati!e to the analytical approach. *or the purpose of this presentation there is no point in getting into the internal 'here are at least four different readings of (ittgensteinCs 4*?. 9 . A different interpretation was initiated by (right. 'his is due to the fact that my strategy is a more tolerant one %I am inclined to accept as much as I can of the criticised position. the theory will aim to state the rules one must obey if one wishes to speak meaningfully. A more recent one is due to +c@owell. %see also +c@owell. the one that I hope not to distance !ery much from& is the one offered by Hacker and -aker. together with the procedure of translating the sentences from 6 # to sentences from 6$ introduced below. I think. D Jet (ittgenstein or (ittgensteineans would not agree perhaps with some of the things I am saying here. Accordingly. (ere we armed with the set of rules and the procedure to apply them correctly to each case. whether it is meaningful or not. 'he structure of this paper is as follows. 'he most radical criticism of %A& is fostered by the later (ittgensteinBs rule1following considerations. by making appeal to the rule. #::$. #::<. I do not wish to get into disputes regarding what (ittgensteinBs rule1following considerations %4*?& really meanD. for any question we might want to raise. Gne reading has started with 0ripke. 6# and 6$. 'hus. in order to see if it agrees with the rules or not. form a particular language1game. (ith respect to this. I am. Fach of them has only three sentences. for instance. 8 If one is reluctant to accept them as fully de!eloped languages. then it is not possible to bridge the gap between them and our linguistic practice. 'he last part of my paper will be dedicated to showing that an attempt to offer a naturalistic e"planation of the relation between semantic rules and linguistic acti!ities. is equally mistaken. It will also pro!ide a procedure to apply the rules to each possible utterance. I would rather take it for granted that I understood (ittgenstein correctly.$ rule that was supposed to be followed has been broken. essay ## 1 3(ittgenstein on *ollowing a 4ule3. #:<9&. A few general conclusions will be presented in the end. *or a systematic summary of the debate generated by 0ripkeBs !ersion see.e. 'he problem is that %A& is wrong and it should be rejected. but we can also reasonably argue. ?rispin (rightBs !ersion of the argument has recei!ed % inter alia& different replies from both +c@owell and /areth F!ans %F!ans. and the consequences of (ittgensteinCs arguments in this respect ha!e been gradually gaining acceptance. 'his. #:<#. then I think the whole credit should be gi!en to (ittgenstein8. I will not insist on this point because it seems to me that it has been lately understood. #:<$. 2. 'he Hstandard readingI %i. is enough to show that the traditional logicalEanalytical approach to language is in principle wrong1headed. #:<9. then I could say that 6 # and 6$.

N 2erhaps one could doubt that (ittgenstein would regard translating from 6 # to 6$ as a language1game. once the nth sentence from the second language and once the {n+1}(mod m)th sentence from the second language.B he will ne!ertheless continue in a most strange way: B#. as it appears in %4&. but she interpreted the phrase 3replacing a sentence by another3. A. $. but occurrences of the sentences themsel!es. B$B. D. BDBL A te"t written in 6# will look like this: MA. #. MDC are not symbols or shortcuts for the HrealI sentences of 6 # and 6$. alternately. D. replacing the nth sentence from one language with the nth sentence from the other means writing the nth sentence from the second language in the place of e!ery apparition of the nth sentence from the first language.B ?onfronted with the rule %4& she will answer that all the sentences were translated according to the rule. M$C. #.C Gur translator will start with the first three sentences as e"pected. we could skip formation rules and define our languages in a descripti!e manner: 6# 1 KBAB. -. D. . D. a situation where only three orders %MAC. for instance&. M-C and M?C& are gi!en and to understand them correctly is to react in a different way to each %one may think of transporting bricks from three different piles to a certain place. ?. replacing the nth sentence from one language with the nth sentence from the other means writing instead of the nth sentence from the first language. B-B. from 6# into 6$: %4& 'he nth sentence from 6# is correctly translated into 6$ if it is replaced by the nth sentence from 6$. Here MAC. In order to pre!ent such de!iant interpretations we will make our intended interpretation e"plicit: %I#B& *or any two formal languages which both contain m sentences. M-C. ?. for instance. by writing BD. B?BL 6$ 1 KB#B. -. (e may consider. $. ?. It is not important here that the reactions are not within the realm of linguistic beha!iour anymore. A. he might e"press her interpretation like this: %I#& *or any two formal languages which both contain m sentences. since both 6# and 6$ are finite. A. ?.C Oow we state the following general rule for translating. M?C and M#C. in a different manner. $. -ut then we could de!ise another e"ample.CN 'he same te"t could be written in 6$ like this: M#. . uppose now that we gi!e to a person trained to translate from 6# into 6$ the following te"t: %t#& M?. -.D structure of these sentences so.

#P n and C#P Cn. th occurrence of each sentence from 6# MAC should be replaced by M#C. 6et f1 P fm be such a series.I 'his. ome phrase marking the correspondence will appear in the formulation of the rule. a procedure could be de!ised to assign to each instance of %2& a real number written in the base n. 'he pattern of a non1standard interpretation. *or any two languages described as sets of sentences we could regard the translation rules as functions from the sentences of one set to the sentences of the other. could be: %2& Ap to the ith occurrence of Sk the replacement should be made according to f1Q from the %iR#&th occurrence to the %iRj&th the replacement should be made according to f2 etc. 'his phrase could always be misinterpreted. . < Actually. the same result as f1#. D. : 6et the translation rule R1 be that up to the #. j etc. then. it is ob!ious that there is an infinite number of possible interpretations of the translation rule:. D. D. #. of course. #. $. ince i. howe!er. are arbitrarily large numbers. #. 'here are m! possible arrangements of the mapping functions in a row % m! is still a finite number&. (e can imagine an entire class of non1standard interpretations of the translation rule in the following way: *or two finite sets of sentences ha!ing n elements. Gnly that this time she has interpreted %I#B& differently: %I$& (riting an e"pression in the place of another which appears within one string of symbols is to create a mirror image of the string and substitute the e"pression accordingly.B (e make another try with the following te"t: %t$& H?. in fact. no matter how. where n is an arbitrarily large natural number. produces an une"pected result: M#. 6et us stop here for a bit and turn to some more general considerations <. D. o there is no point in saying that the standard translation rule should be In what follows I mainly e"pand on (ittgenstein. MDC for M-C and M#C for M?C. -.. 6et f1 be the standard mapping function and m the number of possible functions. M-C by $ and M?C by MDC and that the replacements should be made differently after that. n! are bijections&. Gther patterns of non1standard interpretations are also possible.8 Oow our translator will retranslate %t#& correctly: BD. A. 'here are non1 standard interpretations of this sort.C Again our translator claims that she agrees to the rule %4& and to the interpretation %I#B&. $. playing the role the equality sign has in the definition of a function. th occurrence of each sentence from 6# we should write M$C for MAC. which will produce. there are nn possible functions which associate elements from the second set to elements from the first set %of which. #:9D %from now on referred to as 2A& S<N and S#ND. $. 'he idea of correspondence between sentences must be somehow e"pressed in the rules. 'he translation rule R2 will stipulate that up to the #. ?.

MDC bears no rele!ance on the e"ample#8. performed after the ith occurrence of the symbols to be translated %we could make interpretations dependent not on the number of occurrences of the symbols. R3 produces e"actly the same results as %4&. 2erhaps one might want to reply now that our parado" appears only because we take the translator not to understand the metalanguage in which we formulate the translation rules. each symbol from 6# should be replaced by symbols from 6$ according to R1. Apart from that. since the same phrase appearing in the conte"t of different sentences could be interpreted differently. too&. that the initial case had nothing to do with matters concerning meaning directly. the correct interpretation of the rules. of occurrence. . *inally.9 pri!ileged because it does not make the application of the function dependent on the number of occurrences of the symbols which are to be processed ##. the de!iant interpretation of the rule can account for both the past translations which seemed to accord to the rule and for the present translations. #$ ee 2A S #<9. and after that the replacement should be made according to R2. nothing is different. #D #8 (e could e!en imagine that he will always substitute M#C for MAC. but on the number of applications of the rule. the translator might always interpret all our e"plicit stipulations in a way such that both the translations which seem to agree with our intended rules and those which seem to break our intended rules can be made to agree with the e"plicit stipulations#D. *or. And there is. the differences regard just some phrases used to e"press correspondence relations in the context of the sentences stating the translation rules. of course. And here we only ha!e an infinite regress. j etc. M-C by $ and M?C by MDC. now that it appears within a different sentence from his. It is important to note. M$C for M-C and MDC for M?C when asked to write a sentence from 6 $ which has the same meaning with a sentence from 6#. M$C. 'he metalanguage that the translator uses differs from ours in !ery few respects. M-C M?C and M#C. #:98. nothing pre!ents our translator to interpret the phrase differently. 'he fact that our translator understands the meaning of MAC. Howe!er. we cannot point to these differences properly without making appeal to the semantic rules that go!ern the use of those e"pressions in metalanguage. since HeachI and Hthe same wayI could be interpreted differently from what we intend them to mean#$. It should ha!e become clear by now that regardless of our stipulation of the translation rules. may be arbitrarily large. 'here is no point either in trying to escape the difficulty by replacing the phrase e"pressing the correspondence relation in the formulation of the rule by the phrase used by the recalcitrant translator in his interpretation of the rule %the phrase Hthe replacement should be madeI in %2&. though. -ut I would like to suggest that. at least for now. the correct interpretation of the interpretation of the rules and so on. (hat we can say is that he does not understand Hcorrectly translating from 6# to 6$I as we understand it#9. Actually. ## 'he source of this obser!ation is Oelson /oodmanCs MgrueEbleenC e"ample from /oodman. specifying that Heach occurrence of Sk must be translated in the same wayI is useless. Oe!ertheless. we put matters concerning meaning but after that MAC should be replaced by M#C. for instance&. he would not call this Htranslating from 6# to 6$I %and neither should we&. And now we can define R3 by saying that up to the #. ince i. howe!er. no point in saying that it is not plausible that one would take HTI to mean something so different from what it means to us.

but this is incidental to our discussion. -efore going any further. (ittgensteinCs own e"amples of learning how to write down or to continue a series of numbers and 0ripkeCs e"ample about addition seem to suggest that. A? U #. #9&. 'he rule itself could be perhaps thought of as an abstract entity. 'he rules I am mostly concerned with go!ern the distinction between meaningful and meaningless sentences.A. seem to mi" the question of the relation between a rule and its application with questions about meaning. -ut insofar as we take the rule to be a linguistic entity. i. Gne might think that all our trouble comes from that fact that we took rules to be linguistic entities.. 'he problem with this !iew is that there is no apparent way in which we could trace the relation between the rule.e. . Gnly that this has not so much to do with the comple"ity of the acti!ities %!erbal or not& the rules regulate. translate the pair. Oe!ertheless. U $. contains its interpretation. I think. fully justified. unheard of. In the e"ample abo!e there are a limited number of cases that a translator has to deal with.<&.$. 'his shows that our problems are in no way related to the fact that in applying a rule we might encounter new. #N #. somehow.e. A set of rules which produces the same result could be one specifying replacements for pairs of sentences %A. #: ee. when we meet the last sentence.$. Gur trouble. Indeed. (e feel that a rule has to determine. its correct applications in a necessary manner#:. but ha!e nothing to do with establishing the meaning of sentences or their parts %since they are supposed to be prior to any proper semantical matters&. Gur problems seem to arise when we try to bridge the gap between rules and their applications. D18. one might complain that this is not using a different rule. for instance. U #. by its own nature. #< 'he e"tent to which the conte"t is making a contribution to a case is best presented in (ittgenstein. and then erase the last M#C from the translated te"t %howe!er. the parado" should disappear. understanding. seems to be that it follows from the abo!e e"ample that we cannot distinguish between a correct translation and an incorrect translation by making appeal to the translation stipulations %rules. And this could be the case e!en if he alwa"s performs the translations as we do. situations#. but only a different procedure to apply the same ruleQ this is disputable&. the e"tent of (ittgensteinCs 4*? goes far beyond that. not e"isting in space and time$.&.-. In this I agree with 4obert -random %see -random.. #:9N. there is one more point I wish to make.N and understanding apart and keep focussing on the relation between rules and their applications#N. -.&. we add MAC to it.A. If we could regard the rule as something which precludes the need for further interpretation.$. All the cases in accordance with the rule are. 7I1D8 par. for instance. #::8. A. which. If the rules concerned are semantic rules.D.. etc. for while we would be inclined to say that the rule we use is at least similar to %4&. therefore. most notably 0ripke.. in a sense..#. he might be guided by a rule similar to 4D %see note . U $. seen as an abstract object. U #.-. this is. -. the relation between the meaning of an e"pression and our linguistic beha!iour e"hibited in using it and so on %but see 2A SS#9N1#. a new case#<. p. and the actual situations in which we say that someone has followed the rule. Gne can also de!elop an argument going this way from 2A S<. we cannot argue for this strong feeling of ours. 2A S#<< par.. 3. #9 (ittgenstein himself and most of his interpreters.#. An e"tra rule will concern cases where we ha!e an une!en number of sentences: at the end of the te"t to be translated. interpretations of the rules and the like&. i.. determined by it. Howe!er. so to speak. each situation we would refer to as an Happlication of a ruleI is. it could be said that a sentence could only be the e"pression of a rule and not the rule itself. a sentence.

-. there would be no more questions of interpreting or applying it wrongly. 'he three representations will then look like this: A# -$ ?D Gne problem with MA#C. of course. M-$C and M?DC is that they contain no hint that they ha!e anything to do with a rule.. ha!ing the representation of a translation table. 'he cases in accordance with the rule could not be causally determined by the rule. 6etCs accept for now that things are this way. 'his does not make using rational arguments unnecessary. for instance. I will put aside for now the objection that if the three representations are kept apart from each other there is no indication that they ha!e something in common. 'he rule is not Hin his mindI. $. 'he problem with our recalcitrant translator seems to be. since they relate to the same rule. 'he string MA. one for each row of the table. M?C and M#C. she still might get the rule wrong. $$. M-C. (e could show to someone who has already grasped the rule that he had broken it in one particular case by using such arguments. for instance. for the idea that there is no absolute distinction between simples and comple"es. ???. Gne might try to answer to this problem by saying that we actually ha!e three different representations. 'here are many ways in which one can make substitutions while ha!ing in mind the three representations from abo!e. 2A S N. for instance. And here a !ersion of 2latoCs Hthird manI argument will surely apply. ???. *or the case presented abo!e. 6et us ask now what sort of mental object the rule is. (hat the abo!e e"ample shows is at best that we cannot Hput the rule in the mind of the translatorI by using rational arguments. M$C. that he has not grasped the translation rule yet.C 'his also means that we cannot point directly to the rule and say to our recalcitrant translator: H'his is the rule you were supposed to obeyI. --. on this !iew. Another strategy would be to speak of the rule as a mental object. we could e!en eliminate the arrows. -ut e!en if we accept that the person who represents MA#C to herself somehow knows that MA#C is a rule. ?C. 'he three arrows could be regarded as a single symbol. so to speak. which are kept apart from each other in our mind.C M#. of course. grasping the rule might be. which they should. which pro!ides a substitution rule for MAC. we must talk of some correspondence. In order to show what this relation consists in. it may stand for an" substitution rule. ?. DDD. $# . As a single symbol. DDD. 'here has to be another sort of relation. uppose it is a mental representation. ee. (ere the rule Hin his mindI. In order to pre!ent further misinterpretations. 'he table will perhaps look like this: A ? V# V$ VD (e still ha!e the problem of using the table in actual cases. MDC$#. could produce any of the following results: MA.

Gur brains are. 2erhaps we could say that the mechanism formed by the cards and the means to turn them o!er is correctly translating from 6# to 6$. Gthers ha!e M-C written on one side and M$C on the other. And now it may occur to us that we are not in a !ery different position. I will further assume that this is done mechanically. 'he person who has grasped the rule that MAC should be replaced by M#C. in the end. A te"t written in 6# by using the cards could be correctly translated into 6$ by turning all the cards to the other side. 'he problem with our puWWle. 'hose with M?C written on one side will display MDC when turned o!er. all the ACs will come first. all the -Cs will come in the second place and all the ?Cs in the third. the concept of Ha sign looking like M#CI for the mental representation of M#C and so on.< MA#. MDC appearing in his mental representations as iconic symbols for the signs she has to work with. we think. ?. which looks like M#C for the sign which looks like MAC. M$C. he must also possess the concept of Hsubstituting one sign for anotherI. ome of them ha!e MAC written on one side and M#C on the other. M-C. the concept of a sign which looks like MAC and the concept of a sign which looks like M#C.C$$ M#?-?. A?$?C etc. ?D. #:N#. 'his is the starting point of a naturalist approach. must possess. such mechanisms. M$C written on a piece of paper&. though far more complicated. apart from mental representations of MAC and M#C. It is ob!ious that she did not do so and is not at all clear why she should ha!e done that. 'he translation rules are somehow physically instantiated in this mechanism. AD-D. M#C. M-$C and M?DC to mean something like a sorting rule: H4ewrite the series of symbols such that. 6et us now think that we ha!e a large enough set of cards. M?C and M#C. 4. 6et us now substitute the concept of Ha sign looking like MACI for the mental representation of MAC. 'his amounts to the conclusion that grasping the rule is not ha!ing a mental representation. Oeither an abstract object. as it may occur to the naturalist. ?. nor a mental one has feelers to touch the reality with $D. then. 'he fact that this is a thought and she possesses the right concepts.#9#9&. 'his is perhaps inherent to the way we usually speak of objects and relations: one object does not contain the relation it has with another.C MA. -ut here we are in no better position than when we spoke of the rule as an abstract object. pre!ents any misinterpretations of the rule. ?D. M#C. -$. was due to the $$ 'his result is e"plained by the fact that the translator takes MA#C.I $D 'he earlier (ittgenstein thought that of pictures %see (ittgenstein. $. and the relation between the rules and their correct applications is a causal relation. (e e"pected the translator to read MAC. . And here there still is a correspondence relation we seem to ha!e o!erlooked. M$C as images in our mind& and the components of the cases to which our representations ought to apply %MAC. -. And now the rule could be regarded as a proposition formulated in the language of thought: %416G'& ubstitute the sign. in a sense. namely that between the elements of our representation %MAC.

I am not concerned with this sort of situations here. Here it is clear that our e"ample helps us to keep things simple: there is no need to speak of an infinite number of states occurring in the mechanism$. 2ylyshyn.P.& $< Is our theory supposed to account for neural processes that correspond to Hwilling to translate correctly from 6# to 6$I? I think not. 'hat part should e"plain.: fact that we were trying to get from rules to their correct applications by using a Hlogical pathI.. which correspond to a 'ranslation Input and to a 'ranslated Gutput respecti!ely$N. if state I obtains in the mechanism. $8 ee. Howe!er. -ut I do not think that this counts as a strong critique of the naturalist !iew %It would be !ery easy to speak of rules for performing addition or obtaining the ne"t e!en number for numbers written in unary base. $9 $N Gne might wish the theory to contain also an e"planation of the causal relation between the input and the output facts %i. for instance& and the I and G states. Gne model for the facts the theory must apply to is this: 'ranslation Input V 'ranslating +echanism V 'ranslated Gutput 'he theory. Jet. signs written on paper. so to speak. And we could apply these rules e!en to numbers that we do not read entirely. 'here are three I states and three G states. MI C and MG C are two states of the 'ranslating +echanism. *rom these laws. ee note #9. then state G will also occur. 6et us now try to figure out how a theory e"plaining the relation between %4& and correctly translating from 6# to 6$ would look like. it will be conceded that when we speak of dispositions or abilities we actually speak of certain processes going on in our brains. for instance. it is ob!ious that e!en if the ability to translate correctly is instantiated in my brain and the I corresponding to reading MAC . then. 'he ?#. processes which cause us to beha!e as we do when we act according to the rules. for instance. $. F"plaining the relation between rules and acting according to rules is nothing else but constructing an empirical theory about those processes and the relations between them and our beha!iour. Another way of getting from the translation rule of our e"ample to the set of appropriate translations would be that of stating the causal laws which describe the functioning of the mechanism translating from 6# into 6$$8. gi!en the finite number of neurons in our brains. 'his choice was enforced upon us by our preference for the method of conceptual analysis. ee the first two sentences of 2A S#8:. #::< for this !iew. 'he approach proceeds with the remark that grasping a rule is some sort of ability or disposition$9.e. this was not the only a!ailable alternati!e. we should be able to obtain predictions of the form: %2& Ander the circumstances ?#XPX?n. 'he rule of addition or the rule of writing the series of e!en numbers still apply for numbers so large that we would ne!er be able to represent.?n conditions are required in order to Hcut the causal relationsI between the functioning of the mechanism and e!erything else going on in the uni!erse %my head included&$<. Jet. will include some general principles or laws that go!ern the functioning of the 'ranslating +echanism. with the aid of some deri!ation principles. Howe!er. what happens when the translator mistakenly takes a M-C in handwriting for a M?C and translates it by MDC.

for each such mechanism. one of the conditions should specify that I want to perform the translations correctly %i. in order to build such mechanisms. -ut we might still feel that there is something not completely in order here. although it does not necessarily ha!e to e"plain the part regarding consciousness.. Gn the other hand. 'he 'ranslation Input will be coded differently. 'here is a question that could be raised now: How general are the laws of the theory? (e could think of many different mechanisms. How is it possible that we could deri!e only three predictions %connecting the state of reading MAC with the state of writing down M#C.#. strings. -eing conscious about what one is doing could be regarded as one of the conditions ? #. for instance. (e could use water pipes. Htranslating by using a human brainI and so on. the state of reading M-C with that of writing down M$C. and MIIIC. would we ha!e to construct a completely different theory? 'o this one could answer that perhaps there are two kind of laws or principles: some general principles which will perhaps e"plain all the cases of the Mwriting something instead of something elseC kind. that the laws of our theory apply only to human brains$: and that we could somehow circum!ent the idea of coding by speaking of the causal relation between the input and the output. o.? n and the e"planation for that could be left as a task to a different theory. for the sake of the argument. and some particular laws which. If we build a different theory for each. It is clear that e"actly the same theory that e"plains the functioning of our first mechanism using cards to perform the translation will work as an e"planation of a translation from 6D to 6$. +Z where /6 is the set of general laws of the theory. produce only the three predictions we were looking forD. @2 is the set of deri!ation principles and + is the meta1theoretical obtains.P. it is ob!ious that the functioning of a machine using water is go!erned by different physical laws from those concerning the functioning of an electrical machine. when added to those general principles. D. that the theory regards Hconsciously translating from 6 # to 6$I. on one hand. hould we say that we only ha!e one translation rule or two? I will suppose. then we should say that there are different rules for Htranslating from 6# to 6$ with a computerI. electric wires etc. I could write down MDC just because I do not want to translate MAC correctly. that the state corresponding to that occurs in my brain. on the other. and the brain states. of course. @2. uppose now that we ha!e completed this theory. 26 is the set of its particular laws. 26. perhaps in some other region than the one where the translating module is located&. *or instance. performing what we would call Htranslations from 6# to 6$I. Its structure could be roughly represented like this: ' T Y/6. and the state of reading M?C with the state of writing down MDC& from our theory? (ere the languages 6# and 6$ one sentence bigger.e. MIIC. $: Gne could say. 'he idea of coding the input and the output brings some problems too: we could think of e"actly the same states of a mechanism coding a different input or output. the occurrences of the sentences from 6D will produce different states in our brain from those produced by the occurrences of the sentences from 6#. omeone might think here of problems like: MIs the functioning of the brain of a person who knows to replace symbols and learns to translate from 6 # to 6$ similar to that of the brain of a person who learns to replace symbols b" learning to translate from 6# to 6$?C %compare this with 2A SS #9N1#9<& . let 6D be a language which contains only three sentences: MIC. 'hus. apart from our brains.

then + too. Gur translator makes the same mistake. Actually. . ince ' is an empirical theory.I D# In what follows. (e ha!e disco!ered that the e"planatory power of our theory is greater than what we ha!e thought. must be refutable by the e"perienceD8. And now we realise that this too can be accounted for by the theory. is not a !ery good mo!e. why not adopt the second choice? And if we do not adopt it. I think.P. Jet he makes something which we would usually call a mistake. HF!en if you are brain1dead. Gne might say. ince a correct translation is whate!er the theory describes. because + makes reference to all the other statements of the theory. it is quite easy to see that stating a causal connection between reading MAC and writing M#C is no replacement for a translation rule. (hy is that so? 2erhaps our problem can be pointed at directly in the following way. 'he states described by the theory occur in his brain. since it instantly brings forward questions related to the distinction between norms and natural laws. Gne is to add the condition that the disturbing factor does not occur to the conditions ?#. (e ha!e thought that there are only three predictions that could be deri!ed from '. is it not because we make appeal to the rule? 6et us now imagine a different situation. since it is a part of it. it should be at least in principle refutable. were some other things to happen too. according to 'Cs laws and all. If ' is to be an empirical theory. -ut why do we say that? 'his was not an infirmation of +.## assertion that the theory offers an e"planation for what is to perform a correct translation from 6# to 6$. Gnly that in this situation our theory will not be a theory of Hcorrectly translating from 6# to 6$I anymoreDD.?n. the conditions ?#. it still applies that you must translate MAC by M#C. seen as a norm.?n are satisfied and the I corresponding to reading MAC also obtains. 6et us try to find out what would count as an empirical infirmation of '. for instance. o there is no empirical infirmation here. 'his happens perhaps due to a disturbing factor which the theory did not account for. D$ DD It could be. it is only in conjunction with all of them that its sense could be rendered properly. 'his. 'hat is a fair enough remark. since speaking of what will or what would happen. I think. 'here are two different ways in which we could modify our theory to fit the empirical facts. 6et us think of a translator who translates correctly from 6# to 6$. we wish to change our theory. the background of my remarks is contained in 2A S#9< and 2A SS #:D1 #:9. till.P. there might be a problem with this naturalist account D$. 'he consistent naturalist will probably say that it is not the case to think of the rule as a linguistic entity anymore and therefore it makes not sense to speak of a distinction between two types of statements. D8 'his does not mean that it should be refutable considered in isolation from other principles of the theory. +aybe one would like to say that the rule %4& was replaced in this theory by the laws from the 26 set. the theory of Htranslating correctly from 6 # to 6$ and making mistakes when you are !ery tiredI. -ut how can we speak of an empirical infirmation of + without making appeal to the non1naturalised concept of the translation And neither on the theoryCs predictions. Jet. Another possibility is to e"tend the laws of the theory such as to co!er these cases and predict the translator reactions in these situations too. Indeed. is completely different from speaking of what ought to happen. perhaps. And we realise that the translatorCs beha!iour could be also predicted by our theory. but we applied the principles from the @2 set incorrectly. o perhaps is better not to try to pin the rules on any assertion of the theoryD#.

ince the ideal model is not a physical object. then? 2erhaps it is wrong to speak of rules and their application as if they were two different things.#$ rule? -eing a meta1theoretical statement. (hat is wrong with %A&. In this !ein. there still is a problem left. which makes it ob!ious that + could not be empirically infirmed. Anyway. Gn the new reading. 'he other one is a model of one of our de!iant translators who ne!er di!erges from the way he is performing the translation. -ut then he will not be in a position to claim that he has answered a naturalised !ersion of the question regarding the relation between rules and their applications. D9 In taking this to be our common !iew about the relation between these two theories I deliberately disregard more learned accounts of this matter like those offered by Finstein and Heissenberg. but to an ideal model within which the causal relation between the processes instantiating the rule and those counting as applications of the rule is ne!er affected by disturbing factors. 5. It is ob!ious that we cannot gi!e + up. I do not think. (e donCt make appeal to a non1naturalised rule. what + says is that there is a relation between '[K+L and the ideal model. (hy would anyone want to go the other way round? -ut I will lea!e that aside for now. o + states the relation between our theory and this ideal model. I do not see how bringing a more sophisticated account of the scientific progress could change the odds in the fa!our of the naturalist. that this !itiates my argument. I am not going to try I think +a" 2lanck was e"pressing this pre1kuhnian !iew !ery nicely. + states a relation between the rest of the theory and the non1naturalised rule. Oamely. And e!en if this !iew is perhaps obsolete. If the naturalist is not bothered by that. one may think that ?lassical +echanics is a more abstract model of the physical interactions than the 4elati!ity 'heory.I 'his account. howe!er. 6et us imagine that we ha!e two such ideal models. it is only because he does not realise that now he is in e"actly the same position as the conceptual analyst. 'he more factors which could affect the correct functioning of the translating mechanism we disco!er and eliminate. -ut what can we make of it? 'he naturalistCs reply. of course. seems to contradict our common !iew about the scientific progress. which offers a more accurate description of the factsDN. DN . If it is true that the both adumbrated approaches fail to account for the relation between rules and their applications. could run as follows: H(hat guides our in!estigation is the model of a mechanism which ne!er makes mistakes. then nothing will be objected to that. And it is useless. it follows that the relation cannot be a causal one. the better our appro"imations of the ideal model are. to try to state rules if we cannot relate them to their applications properly. howe!er. he must speak of the relation between an abstract object %the ideal model& and actual situations and processes. then it is hard to see how a mi"ture of the two will succeed to do the job. Gne is that of a regular translator who ne!er makes mistakes. if he wants to hold on +. Gur theories are empirical in the sense that they are only appro"imations of such a model. If he only wants to speak of the functioning of our brain. (e use to think that science ad!ances by offering models that are less ideal and more close to the facts D9. (hy do we choose to be guided by the first and not by the last model? How could the naturalist moti!ate his choice of the first model without speaking of the translation rule? And e!en if he could somehow moti!ate his choice. as I imagine it.

'his is the conclusion of (ittgenstein. far beyond the topic of my paper. I donCt think that the later (ittgenstein has changed his !iew in this respect. it is as if we ha!e no reasons at all. ince we cannot pro!ide theories and arguments about what is morally. (e do not ha!e solid. that our social institutions are illusory or anything of the kind. norms or rules. 'hey can be taught. It is difficult. this is not to say that there are no !alues.. 'here are cases in which we would say that normati!e talk is inappropriate e!en if no one would take it for theoriWing. 'o pre!ent any misunderstandings. e!en enforced. howe!er. that a sentence like H ince you are a !ery close friend of mine. to maintain. that all the traditional philosophical questions are meaningless. And it might be the case that is in principle not possible to ha!e such criteria. Again. ne!ertheless. @iscussing these matters is. it does not follow from the abo!e presentation that we cannot communicate. D. of course. 4ejection of theoriWing about norms and !alues might be taken by some to lead to some sort of irrationalism. practically or in some other way reasonable to do in this or that situation. #:N#. prudentially. (e might feel. you ought to e"press condolences to me for the death of my motherI should never be uttered. And some would perhaps agree that ignoring the later (ittgenstein or interpreting him such that his !iews do not endanger our philosophical habits is not ad!isable either. compute. (hat the arguments from abo!e amount to is only that we cannot produce normati!e theoriesD. as long as we do not take normati!e talk for what it is not. ultimate criteria to distinguish between meaningful and meaningless sentences. 'rying to disco!er by philosophical analysis the rules that go!ern the distinction and to state them is doomed to be a isyphean acti!ity. for instance. as (ittgenstein usually does. rules and !alues D<. but will not help us a single bit to remo!e the shadow of suspicion cast upon our philosophical acti!ities. Oor do I think that any relati!ist conclusions are supported by this account alone. to say the least. will not think that ignoring 0ant and plunging into traditional metaphysics would be !ery wise. ?onstructing scientific theories which e"plain what happens in our brains when we learn to use the language or when we actually distinguish between meaningful and meaningless sentences could be informati!e. 'here is nothing wrong with normati!e talk either. 'hey sometimes collide. transmitted. \ It seems quite radical. to remo!e the suspicion that some of them might actually be nothing more than nonsensical puWWles. I do hope. +ost philosophers. one may think. D< . I do not agree with this !iew. namely a descripti!e account of norms.#D to ad!ance a solution to our problem here but only to e!aluate the import of the arguments presented abo!e.

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