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Wittgenstein on following a Rule Author(s): John McDowell Source: Synthese, Vol. 58, No.

3, Essays on Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy (Mar., 1984), pp. 325-363 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20115972 . Accessed: 10/12/2013 10:04
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JOHN

MCDOWELL

WITTGENSTEIN

ON FOLLOWING

A RULE'

These

things are finer spun inkling of. (RFM VII-57.)1

than crude

hands

have

any

1.

and understanding We find it natural to think of meaning in, as itwere, of a word is to contractual terms.2 Our idea is that to learn the meaning that obliges us subsequently if we have acquire an understanding to judge and speak in to deploy in question occasion the concept certain determinate ways, on pain of failure to obey the dictates of the we have grasped; to certain patterns that we are 'committed meaning we attach to expressions' of linguistic usage by the meanings (W, p. to Crispin Wright, the burden of Wittgenstein's 21).3 According on following a rule, in his later work, reflections is that these natural ideas lack the substance we are inclined to credit them with: 'there is in our understanding of a concept no rigid, advance determination of what is to count as its correct application' (ibid.).4 as Wright to If Wittgenstein's it, is allowed conclusion, interprets is a familiar notion of the most intuitive stand, striking casualty The idea at risk is the idea of things being thus and so objectivity. or not we choose to investigate the matter in question, anyway, whether and whatever the outcome of any such investigation. That idea requires of how things could correctly be said to be anyway the conception if anything, we in fact go on to say about the matter; and this whatever, can only be the notion of how the pattern of notion of correctness we that in the concept grasp, when we come to understand application of the actual outcome of any in extends, question, independently to case. the relevant So if the notion of investigation vestigation, is to be discarded, then so is the patterns of application independent so in idea that things are, at least sometimes, thus and anyway, of our ratifying the judgement that that is how they are. It dependently seems fair to describe as a kind of this extremely radical consequence idealism.5 0039-7857/84/0583-0325 Synthese 58 (1984) 325-363. ? 1984 byD. Reidel Publishing Company $03.90

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326
We may well who wrote:
If one because tried

JOHN

MCDOWELL

hesitate

to attribute

such a doctrine

to the philosopher

to advance would

theses agree

everyone

in philosophy, to them. (PI

it would ?128.)6

never

be possible

to debate

them,

Notice that the destructive effect of the doctrine goes far beyond to the imagery of mathematical in Wittgenstein's hostility platonism, which mathematics is pictured as 'the natural history of mathematical are not remarks about (RFM 11-40). The objects' rule-following on Wright's to mathematics; confined would undermine reading they our ordinary intuitive conception of natural history, literally so called the very model on which that suspect platonist picture of mathematics is
constructed.

More specific grounds for doubting from passages like this (PI ?195):
"But

the attribution

might

be derived

a sense) determines I don't mean I do now (in grasping the future use that what and as a matter of experience, but that in a queer way, the use itself is in some causally sense present." it is, 'in some sense'! Really But of course the only thing wrong with what you say is the expression .7 "in a queer way". The rest is all right...

What

this suggests is something we might anyway have expected: that not a is the that idea state of target very Wittgenstein's present embodies commitments with respect to the future, but understanding rather a certain seductive misconception of that idea. Not that Wright merely such His claim (see W, p. passages. ignores seems almost to want to deny all substance to 21) is that Wittgenstein toWittgenstein the 'pattern' idea; what he attributes (see W, p. 227) is not an outright abandonment of the idea but a reinterpretation of it. view understanding misconception independent this purged is that the intuitive contractual and picture of meaning can be rendered innocuous purged of the seductive are the thought that the patterns by discarding of our ratification. Later (??5, 7, 10) I shall suggest that as a version of the intuitive picture is not recognizable at all, understanding But for the present, and is not let me note correctly

Wright's

only that ratification the precisely by denying reinterpretation, Wright's of object of the patterns, leaves the intuitive conception independence to wonder are we bound So I above. in described the way ivity untenable, to that Wright whether the concession making envisages Wittgenstein forWittgenstein's the 'pattern' idea can account satisfactorily to the interlocutor of PI ?195. tone in his response reassuring

of meaning and picture to Wittgenstein. attributed

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FOLLOWING

RULE

327

2.
on In Wright's reflections view, then, the butt of Wittgenstein's an is the idea that understanding is 'grasp of rule-following expression a pattern of application, to which conformity requires certain deter minate in so far unconsidered verdicts cases' (W, p. 216). But:
We ... that the to acknowledge have to definitive inaccessible is, strictly, 'pattern' never wearied no explanation of reminding of For, as Wittgenstein himself, explanation. the use of an expression is proof against musunderstanding; verbal explanations require correct understanding of the vocabulary in which and samples are open they are couched,

to an inexhaustible of interpretations. So we move towards the idea that variety an expression is a kind of 'cottoning on'; that is, a leap, an inspired guess at understanding which the instructor is trying to get across. the pattern of application (W, p. 216.)

The

of this 'leap' is something idiolectic. So the upshot that to us, in the first is the 'pattern' idea comes naturally suggestion in the shape of 'the idea that each of us has some sort of instance, access to the character of his own understanding of an privileged us an of each of knows idiolectic of use, for which expression; pattern there is a strong presumption, when sufficient evidence has ac it that is shared cumulated, (W, p. 217).8 communally' answer is this: What is wrong with this idea? Wright's pictured
... whatever

Imake of a particular sincere applications when I have paid due expression, to the situation, will seem to me to conform with my understanding of it. There is no to me to conform here between the fact of an application's scope for a distinction seeming I understand with the way in which it and the fact of its really doing so.9 heed

are naturally to protect inclined the intuitive view that sense utterances and make thoughts by virtue of owing, or purporting to owe, allegiance to conceptual commitments. So, given that idiolectic room cannot for the 'pattern' idea, it is tempting to make understanding Now But (the argument appeal to communal understanding. ascribes toWittgenstein this cannot rehabilitate continues) idea. For (W, p. 218): that Wright the 'pattern'

we

out of line concerning that one of us finds himself of the description Suppose incorrigibly a new case. We have just seen that he cannot as it were, give sense to the single-handed, idea that he is at least being faithful to his own pattern; that is, that he recognises how he must describe to his own understanding the new case if he is to remain faithful of the relevant become, expressions. properly How, speaking, then, does to apply the expression to a new case his disposition a so happens of of if it the continuation pattern recognition

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328
that he is not out of line,

JOHN

MCDOWELL

if it so happens

that there

is communal

agreement?

the community's trouble is that there is a precise parallel between committed it has itself that of the patterns communally supposed grasp to and the individual's of his idiolectic commitments. supposed grasp secure communal of an expression Whatever approval, just applications The to conform with will seem to the community its applications an we as of the If individual aiming understanding regard expression.10 to speak a communal that language, we take account of the possibility room for an he may go out of step with his fellows; thus we make of the notion of error, and so of right and wrong. But it is application room for; not out of step with one's fellows that we make only going those that they pattern going out of step with a ratification-independent follow. So the notion of right and wrong that we have made room for is at best a thin surrogate for what would be required by the intuitive as notion of objectivity. That would the idea of concepts require move not that and from idiolects has the reinstated authoritative; away idea. In sum (W, p. 220):
None save can make sense of the idea of correct of us unilaterally of employment to the authority assent on the matter; of securable communal by reference to meet. so no standard the community itself there is no authority, language and for

3.

are directed, in to Wright, reflections then, Wittgenstein's According can be the first instance, against the idea that a determinate practice that owes no al dictated something understanding by a personal legiance to a communal way of going on. On the surface, at least, there influential reading of the is a point of contact here with Saul Kripke's which I shall now outline.11 remarks on rule-following, Suppose one is asked to perform an addition other than any one has encountered before, either in the training that gave one one's under trying to put one's understand standing of addition or in subsequently In into answer, one will giving a particular confidently ing practice.12 - to a that is have put it in terms namely problematic: naturally thought that in that bring out the point of contact with Wright's reading one answer of with one's faith this is understanding keeping returning the 'plus' introduces sign. To a sceptic is problematic, show how this thought Kripke idea is that one's it. The natural who questions

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FOLLOWING

RULE

329

of 'plus' dictates the answer one gives. But what could understanding no doubt it is one's being in such a state? Not a disposition: constitute as one does is an exercise of a disposition true that answering that one one a of when learned but the relation arithmetic, acquired disposition - a to its exercises is in no sense contractual is not something disposition to which are faithful.13 But nothing else will serve either: its exercises - 'it for - to quote Kripke's summary of a rich battery of argument seems that no matter what is inmy mind at a given time, I am free in the future to interpret it in different ways' (K, p. 294). That is, whatever I furniture of mental cite, acquired by me as a result of my training piece in arithmetic, to point out that my present it is open to the sceptic on one interpretation it faith with of it, and performance keeps only are possible. other interpretations So it cannot constitute my under standing 'plus' in such a way as to dictate the answer I give. Such a state of understanding would require not just the original item but also my on it. But what could constitute my the having put right interpretation on some mental item? And now the having put the right interpretation can argument evidently be repeated. The upshot of this argument is a 'sceptical paradox', which, accord there is no fact that could con accepts: ing to Kripke, Wittgenstein one to the rather than another meaning stitute my having attached 'plus' sign (K, pp. 272-273). It may well seem that if concedes this much to Kripke's Wittgenstein to expressions the right to attribute meaning sceptic, he has renounced to Kripke, at all. According offers a 'sceptical however, Wittgenstein solution' to the 'sceptical paradox'. to a sceptical solution' (A 'sceptical ... one that is that the problem 'begins by conceding sceptic's negative are unanswerable' assertions (K, p. 270).) The essentials of this 'scep tical solution' are as follows. of meaning, First, we must reform our intuitive conception replacing the notion of truth conditions with some notion like that of justification conditions. Kripke quotes with approval (K, p. 274) a claim of Michael Dummett's: 'The Investigations contains of the implicitly a rejection view that the general form of (realist) Frege- Tractatus a of statement is of the truth The conditions.'14 explanation meaning we are to no which is that there is fact that 'sceptical paradox', accept, could constitute my having attached one rather than another deter to the 'plus' sign. We are inclined to understand minate meaning this as a concession that I have attached no determinate meaning to the 'plus' classical

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330

JOHN

MCDOWELL

is that this is only because we adhere, naively, sign: but the suggestion of meaning to the superseded truth-conditional applied, in conception a to the determinate this case, to the claim T have attached meaning "plus" sign'. (See K, p. 276.) of the state conditions the justification Second, when we consider some attaches the idea that someone ments in which we express to an expression under which we determinate (the conditions meaning and the roles they play in our lives), we see that affirm such statements, of we can make sense of them in terms of their use to record acceptance into the linguistic community. individuals (The thesis that we can make is the core of idea of meaning only in that connection Private of the Language Argument.) interpretation Kripke's this 'sceptical Now there is room for doubt about how successful it is con within which can be. The exegetical framework solution' the between of the transition the Dummettian structed picture - is not without But Tractatus and the Investigations dispute. beyond that issue (which I shall touch on below: ??10, 11, 14), we can opening the 'realist' about his doubts note that when Dummett expresses are to be in of (which supposed meaning (truth-conditional) conception it is doubts about the Tractatus), the spirit of the later Wittgenstein's as 'What constitute this: could such questions typically by pressing that of a sentence of the sort of understanding someone's possession to him?' The is that, failing a satis attributes "realism" implication It is that sort of understanding.15 factory answer, no one could possess no fact that could constitute natural to suppose that if one says 'There is from affirming that P; oneself its being the case that P', one precludes 'realist' one, plays so far from being a distinctively and this supposition, sense of the this 'realism'. Given in the standard arguments against to the makes that concession the says Wittgenstein Kripke supposition, a denial that I understand the 'plus' sign to mean one sceptic becomes - we now do the denial generalizing thing rather than another. And and self-defeating 'the incredible seem to have fallen into an abyss: is meaningless' that all language (K, p. 273). It is quite conclusion, the obscure how we could hope to claw ourselves back by manipulating in a linguistic community. notion of accredited membership a central role 4. In any case, Kripke's thesis that Wittgenstein accepts the 'sceptical

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FOLLOWING

RULE

331

paradox'

the (see K, p. 241) identifies Kripke to that he attributes with the paradox 'sceptical paradox' Wittgenstein in the first paragraph of PI ?201: formulates that Wittgenstein
was our paradox: no course of action could of action can be made out to accord with out to accord with be neither every by a rule, because answer was: if everything out to conflict with it can also be made it. be determined the rule. The here.

seems

a falsification.

This

course And

can be made

so there would

the rule, then nor conflict accord

But
room:

?201 goes on with

a passage

for which

Kripke's

reading makes

no

It can be seen that there is a misunderstanding here from the mere fact that in the course we give one interpretation of our argument us at as if each one contented after another; until we thought of yet another least for a moment, it.What this shews is standing behind a rule which that there is a way of grasping is not an interpretation, but which is exhibited in what we call "obeying the rule" and "going against it" in actual cases.

What could constitute my understanding, say, the 'plus' sign in a way answers to with which certain would given addition problems only we tend to be enticed accord? Confronted with such questions, into looking for a fact that would constitute my having put an appropriate in interpretation on what I was told and shown when I was instructed we hit on as satisfying arithmetic. Anything contents that specification us only 'for a moment'; then it occurs to us that whatever we have hit on would itself be capable of interpretation in such a way that acting in conformity with it would require something quite different. So we look for something that would constitute my having interpreted the first item come up with we as satisfying in the right way. Anything that us a in turn will content 'for and so on: 'any moment'; specification only

still hangs in the air along with what it interprets, and interpretation cannot give it any support' (PI ?198). Kripke's reading has Witt this and genstein endorsing reasoning, consequently willing to abandon an the idea that there is anything that constitutes my understanding some in determinate But what way. expression Wittgenstein clearly is that the reasoning is vitiated to the right response paradox, Witt not to in effect tells is it to correct but the us, genstein accept on it to which that is, realize 'that there is a misunderstanding depends: a an of not rule which is way grasping interpretation'. of ?201 is one horn of a dilemma with which The paradox the misunderstanding presents us. Suppose we are not disabused of the claims, in the second paragraph The by 'a misunderstanding'. of ?201,

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JOHN

MCDOWELL

that is, we take it that our problem is to find a fact misunderstanding an interpretation with that constitutes my having given some expression In that case, the attempt to which only certain uses of itwould conform. resist the paradox of ?201 will drive us to embrace a familiar mythology of meaning and understanding, and this is the second horn of the to mean in the way I do (my dilemma. My coming the expression an at must the be but itmust rule') my arriving interpretation; 'grasping to the movement that is not susceptible of thought be an interpretation - not in the sceptical such as to content us only until line of reasoning we think of another interpretation it. standing behind
What mustn't one wants be capable to say is: "Every of interpretation. of interpretation; but the meaning sign is capable It is the last interpretation." (Blue Book, p. 34.)16

an expression, an inter be possessing then, must Understanding - an cannot be that that pretation interpreted interpretation precisely in the sceptical between the the gap, exploited argument, bridges in learning the expression and the use one goes instruction one received on to make of it. The irresistible upshot of this is that we picture as a super-rigid a of rule the yet (or perhaps we following operation should
How

say 'hence')
It looks unforeseen, (Zettel

ethereal

machine.
could misfire the only reliable and let in

queer:

something guidance.

as if a physical form of guidance (mechanical) so to speak, but not a rule! As if a rule were,

form of

?296.)17

main concerns is clearly to cast doubt on this of Wittgenstein's on are not, as Kripke attacks the But his mythology mythology. of for the arguments acceptance 'sceptical paradox'.18 That suggests, but the point of the would be so if the dilemma were compulsory; One that it is not. The mythology is paragraph of PI ?201 is precisely our to of the in need first avoid the from us, wrung paradox paragraph, we fall into the misunderstanding; the attack on the only because in but rather constitutes, is not support for the paradox, mythology an with the fact that the paradox is intolerable, argument conjunction second against the misunderstanding. It is worth noting two points about the second horn of the dilemma to two aspects of Wright's that correspond reading of Wittgenstein. that would precisely First, if we picture an interpretation bridge the instruction and competent use, it seems that it can only be gap between - so one which that it is at best a each person hits on for himself with if his interpretation coincides the one fortunate contingency

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FOLLOWING

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instruction, or with

arrived at by someone else subjected the one intended by the instructor.

to the same

to the other person what you yourself "But do you really explain understand? Don't the essential but he has to guess get him to guess thing? You give him examples, drift, to guess your intention." (PI ?210.)

you their

This

is clearly the basis inWittgenstein forWright's remarks (quoted in an expression about 'the idea that ?2 above) is a kind of understanding a an that at the pattern of on"; is, "cottoning leap, inspired guess the instructor is trying to get across' (W, p. 216). application which of the picture of the super-rigid machine is a Second, a concomitant as of the sets of rails. for (See, picture patterns instance, PI ?218.) At each

of a series, the rule itself determines stage, say in the extending comes next, independently of the techniques that we learn in learning to extend it; the point of the learning is to get our practice of in line with the rule's impersonal dictates. judging and speaking (An omniscient God would not need to do mathematics in order to know whether '777' occurs in the decimal expansion of tt; see RFM VII-41.) Now this conception inWright's formulations of the figures regularly idea: 'pattern' what
... ... the pattern the extends of itself to cases which we have yet to confront... is settled, and the

autonomously character of

truth of statements that their truth investigation-independent requires and without the need for human interference, by their meanings the relevant facts.19

have a again, that these formulations the second horn of the dilemma. polemic against the rule an extension' is meant (RFM VI-29) to say 'The rule extends inclination of itself. determine mathematical something only by VII-41.)

It is clear,

basis inWittgenstein's A remark like T give as a corrective of the can (And 'even God RFM mathematics':

5. InWright's reading, as I said (??1 and 2 above), Wittgenstein's point is that the natural contractual of understanding should not be conception but purged of the idea - which it must if the discarded, incorporate intuitive notion of objectivity is to have application that the patterns

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334

JOHN

MCDOWELL

to which our concepts oblige us are ratification-independent. I express ed a suspicion (in ?1 above) that this purging would not leave a residue as a conception of meaning at all, or and understanding recognizable as now I want that recommends. recognizable something Wittgenstein to begin on an attempt to back up this suspicion. At PI ?437 Wittgenstein writes:
A wish makes not a thought, what seems already to know what will or would satisfy it; a proposition, it true - even when that thing is not there at all! Whence of what is this determining of the logical must.") demand? ("The hardness yet there? This despotic

Note

the parenthesis: in which this clearly he thinks that the discussion or occurs with the relation between wishes passage expec dealing tations and their fulfilment, and the relation between orders and their - raises the same issues as his reflections on the execution continuation of a series. (See K, p. 300, n. 17.) We can bring out the connection by it is natural to say focusing on the case of orders and their execution: of an order is faithful to its meaning, that the execution and in saying this we clearly express a version of the idea that we express when we say of a series is faithful to its principle. that the competent continuation to What would Wright's be like, transposed reading of Wittgenstein on these lines (cf. ?2 above). The temptation to this case? Something of an order conforms with my understanding of it say that my execution as idiolectic of my understanding arises primarily out of a conception to someone else, so that that cannot be definitively something conveyed if it coincides with the understanding it is at best a happy contingency of

the order possessed by the person who issued it. On reflection, however, we should realize that this is an illusion: we cannot make sense of an would constitute of that essentially personal understanding anything on an order, but would nevertheless I constraints what impose genuine I 'sincerely' did would seem to be did in 'execution' of it. For whatever in conformity with my supposed personal understanding of the order. We naturally want to protect the intuitive notion of an action's fulfilling an order; so we are tempted at this point to appeal to the idea of my room for my in a linguistic community. This does make membership going wrong. But all that my going wrong action does not secure the approval of my fulfilment of such would do in attempted that is not a matter of does approve, munity can amount to is this: my or not is what they fellows, an order. When the com its collectively recognizing

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FOLLOWING

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communal understanding of my action to an antecedent the conformity communal would be in of the order: for this supposed understanding We idiolectic understanding. exactly the same position as my supposed cannot hold, then, that the community 'goes right or wrong', by the when it awards my action the title 'execution lights of its understanding, of the order'; 'rather, it just goes' (W, p. 220). the correspondence Given (noted in ?4 above) between aspects of the polemic against reading and aspects of Wittgenstein's Wright's it is not surprising that part, at least, of this second horn of the dilemma, should neatly fit parts of of Wright's version reading transposed for instance, PI ?460: discussion. Consider, Wittgenstein's
me of an action as fulfilment of an order run like this: "You said 'Bring the justification that is why I this one gave me a feeling of satisfaction; flower', upon which one have to reply: "But I didn't set you to bring me the flower it"? Wouldn't have brought I said!"? after what which should give you that sort of feeling Could a yellow

to understand this as an attack on the and illuminating I act on is essentially idiolectic.20 idea that the understanding as a whole, I think this reading gets Wittgenstein Taken however, I can perhaps begin to explain my disbelief with this completely wrong. to have for Wittgenstein remark: it would have been fully in character written as follows: It seems correct
Could 'Bring the me justification a yellow of an action upon brought should as fulfilment which receive this it"? Wouldn't approval of an order one received one have from run like this: "You all said the

flower', that is why I have bystanders; you to bring the flower which said!"?

approval

from

to reply: "But I didn't set I else after what everyone

returns again to trying to characterize In his later work, Wittgenstein consensus. that If there is anything and the relation between meaning to not a in his serious it be would it that is error, view, emerges clearly, 'This is a the between radical distinction make of, say, significance called be 'This would of, say, "yellow" by yellow' and the significance And (see, for instance, Zettel ??428-431). (most) speakers of English' to seems it leave mysterious, reading my transposed version of Wright's should be so important. at best, why this distinction to Itmay appear that the answer is both obvious and readily available of 'To say "This would be called 'yellow' by speakers English" Wright: and that is what in question would not be to call the object "yellow",

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one does

JOHN

MCDOWELL

But this would merely when one says "This is yellow".' the does serious postpone Wright's reading of Wittgenstein question: to make it intelligible contain the means that there should so much as be such an action as calling an object offers 'yellow'? The picture Wright a at of basic human in certain the level, is, picture beings vocalizing ac to objects, in response with this behaviour (no doubt) ways as or of 'inner' such constraint, companied by phenomena feelings are of what they are saying. There a in of fellow of the members correspondences propensities presumably to to in and feel comfortable vocalize, linguistic community doing so, to a single species, in the light of their belonging which are unsurprising in the training that gave them the propen together with similarities at sities. But the basic level there is no question of shared commitments of the behaviour, of the streams of and the associated aspects to the authority of anything outside consciousness, being subject so no itself there is no authority, themselves. ('For the community convictions of the Tightness standard to meet': W, p. 220.) How, then, can we be entitled to view the as behaviour say, calling things 'yellow', rather than a mere involving, brute meaningless sounding off? The thought that is operative here is one that Kripke puts by saying: to future action is normative, of and 'The relation intention meaning a not descriptive' It aims to respect. is (K, p. 257). thought that Wright This is the point of his aspiration not to discard the contractual concep it of the idea of ratification tion of meaning, but only to purge But the purging yields the picture of what I have been independence. basic 'the level'; and at that level Wright's calling picture has no room
for norms, and hence given the normativeness of meaning no room

Wright hopes to preserve a foothold for a purified form of of meaning, the normativeness implicit in the contractual conception by are to to communal the that fact individuals susceptible appealing It is problematic, correction. the picture of the basic however, whether once as can to from purporting be entertained level, such, prevented In that case its freedom contain the real truth about linguistic behaviour. for meaning. from norms will preclude our attributing to the substance any genuine to etiolated normativeness that Wright The problem preserve. hopes to Witt for Wright the position that he attributes is to distinguish one to from which the of according genstein possibility going out of step with fellows gives us the illusion of being subject the illusion of entertaining and expressing consequently our to norms, meanings. and

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6.
to linguistic relates normatively by the insight that meaning as concerned to reads Wittgenstein like Wright behaviour, Kripke a role for the intuitive contractual But Kripke's preserve conception. locates that conception only in the context of the 'scep Wittgenstein - a tical solution' response to a supposedly 'sceptical paradox'. accepted Moved to the case of orders and their execution, Kripke's 'sceptical Applied that constitutes take this form: there is nothing my paradox' will an a a order in with which in certain way understanding only acting determinate manner would conform. And, here as before (cf. ?4 above), once to to question is conceded it is open that much whether, can a avert effect that the the destructive solution' 'sceptical scepticism, concession threatens to have. In any case, this line of interpretation foot, gets off on the wrong of a 'sceptical paradox', so with acceptance when it credits Wittgenstein that a 'sceptical solution' would be the best that could be hoped for. Just as in the case of the continuation of a series, the reasoning that would that Wittgenstein lead to this 'sceptical paradox' starts with something in this case, that the the assumption, aims to show up as a mistake: on which I act when I obey an order must be an understanding with the The connection thought of PI ?201 is made interpretation. clear by this juxtaposition
How can the word with "Slab" any indicate into accord How can interpretation? a rule, when after all whatever I do can be interpreted as following it?

(RFM VI-38):
what I have to do, when after all I can bring any action

I follow

The parallel understanding paradox of PI standing stance, PI


"There

that can be extended If we assume (see ?4 above). to resist the then the need is always interpretation, ?201 drives us into a fantastic picture of how under for in between order and execution. mediates Consider, ?431:
between an order and its execution. that we It has to be filled The by the act of why,

is a gulf

understanding." is itmeant "Only in the act of understanding - "2l that is nothing but sounds, ink-marks.

are to do THIS.

order

The

in terms of hitting on an inter act of understanding, conceived an order and its the that bridges gulf between completely pretation as a con to be demands execution, setting up pictured super-rigid action the words and the subsequent the nection between (hence

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in PI ?437, to 'the hardness of the logical must'). allusion, in PI ?461: that Wittgenstein is mocking
its execution? In^what sense does an order anticipate to say "which carried out? - But one would have carried out." And that is to say nothing. "But

It is this idea

later on is just that which By ordering later on is carried out, or again is not

even ifmy wish does not determine to be the case, still it does so to what is going - as a the of theme whether fact determine the fulfils the wish or not." We are fact, speak not at itwere at to at the future, but his being able surprised, anyone's knowing prophesy all (right or wrong). As whereas if the mere it knows prophecy, nothing of no matter the future whether and cannot true or false, know less foreshadowed than nothing. the future;

goes further still. When we are tempted to conceive of an order in this way, what we have in mind the understanding is a at the of the guess person something essentially personal: meaning who issued the order. This idea is target in, for instance, Wittgenstein's And the parallel

PI ?433:
When an order, it can look as if the ultimate thing sought by the order has to a an as is order and its execution. there between always gulf Say I unexpressed, a particular someone to make want it quite movement, say to raise his arm. To make seems unambiguous This picture until we ask: how does he clear, I do the movement. know he is to make this movement? How does he know at all what use he is to make of now to the signs I give him, whatever I shall the order try they are? supplement Perhaps to him, making of further signs, by pointing from myself gestures, by means encouraging we give remain etc.. Here As it looks as if the order if the signs were precariously token understand them, by what to stammer. beginning trying to produce understanding do we understand? were in us. But if we now

in Kripke's way, we shall take Wittgenstein's read Wittgenstein as in favour of the 'sceptical paradox' of these ideas argument mockery the thesis that there is nothing that could constitute my understanding an order in a determinate way. That iswhat the mockery would amount to if there were no options the paradox besides and the ideas that mocks. But is that this dilemma seems Wittgenstein Wittgenstein's point on the that is always only compulsory assumption understanding us not one to to his aim shift from horn of is the dilemma interpretation; us to reject the dilemma by discarding the other, but to persuade the on which it depends. assumption 7. Having diagnosed the dilemma as resting on the mistaken idea that

If we

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Wittgenstein goes on,

grasping famously,
And obey hence

a rule is always to say (PI ?202):


also

an

interpretation,

a rule. Hence

obeying

a rule is not to to think one is obeying And 'obeying a rule' is a practice. to obey a rule 'privately': it not possible otherwise thinking one was a rule would be the same thing as obeying it.

The

'How can there be a way of grasp diagnosis prompts the question an a not and I think the thesis that is rule which interpretation?', ing to a a meant constitute the answer to this is rule is obeying practice That the what mediates inference is, ('hence also') is this question. a we a to that if we are to have realize rule is thought: practice obeying find it intelligible is not an that there is a way of grasping a rule which rest two sentences of the into ?202 (The interpretation. crystallization of the Private Language is offered as a corollary.) Argument of the same line of thought in PI ?198: There is another formulation
"Then can whatever I do be brought into accord with the rule?" Let me ask this: what has of a rule sort of the expression say a sign-post got to do with my actions? What this one: I have been trained to react to this sign is there here? connexion Well, perhaps in a particular way, and now I do so react to it. "But to tell how it has come about that we go by that is only to give a causal connexion: not what this going-by-the-sign in." On the contrary; I really consists a so that a person in far as there exists a indicated goes by sign-post only use of sign-posts, a custom.22

the sign-post; have further regular

This passage opens with an expression of the paradox formulated in the first paragraph of ?201. Then Wittgenstein introduces the case of in order to adumbrate the diagnosis that he is going to state sign-posts, a more in When I follow the connection ?201. explicitly sign-post, an between it and my action is not mediated of by interpretation was use. as I that I in I when trained their act sign-posts acquired simply I have been trained to.23 This prompts an objection, which might be on these lines: 'Nothing in what you have said shows that paraphrased what you have described is a case of following a rule; you have only told us how to give a causal explanation of certain bits of (what might as well be for all that you have said) mere behaviour.' The reply which to sentence of the is first that in the ?202 corresponds training a were custom. not is into If it account initiation then the that, question of the connection between sign-post and action would indeed look like an account of nothing more than brute movement and its causal our not to entitle us to would contain the materials explanation; picture a of speak following (going by) sign-post.24

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Now how

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is this to be understood? exactly concern the insidious assumption is to exorcize that Wittgenstein's an order, or the that mediates there must be an interpretation between of a rule given in training, on the one hand, and an action in expression conformity with it, on the other. In his efforts to achieve this, he is led to say such things as T obey the rule blindly' (PI ?219). This is of a piece that the agreement that is necessary for the with his repeated insistence in opinions: notion of following a rule to be applicable is not agreement
what is true and what It is decides what is false?" "So you are saying that human agreement use. in the language human beings say that is true and false; and they agree they in opinions but in form of life. (PI ?241.)25 That is not agreement

I take it that at least part of the point of this passage is that an opinion is one for which be asked for a justification; may reasonably something the 'bedrock' where T whereas what is at issue here is below that level and the justifications' have exhausted The thought is clear in RFM VI-28:
Someone asks me: What is the colour of this flower? I not have

'my spade

is turned'

(PI ?217).

Are you absolutely sure! But may and called the wrong sure? Yes, absolutely been deceived colour I call the colour with which is the rigidity of my "red"? No. The "red" certainty it is the rigidity from which I start. When I give descriptions, that is not to measuring-rod, be brought (I may into doubt. of course even This here to what we simply characterizes a slip of the tongue, assume the rule is FUNDAMENTAL call describing. but nothing else.) to our language-game. It

I answer:

"red".

Following characterizes

according what we

call description.

Again (RFM Vl-35):


How to confirm it is called "green"? Well, seeing if they did not agree with me, I should become totally for crazy. That confused and should perhaps take them or myself is to say: I should either no longer trust myself to judge, or no longer react to what they say as to a judgement. how do I know what the word Help means? Well, and I shout "Help!", If I am drowning as well Now that is how I know what "green" means that's how I react in this situation. do I know that the colour people, I might ask other but and also know how I have to follow the rule in the particular case.26 that I am now

in which is a use of language is trying to describe What Wittgenstein a use an what one does is 'to (PI ?289; justification' expression without I say One may be tempted to protest: when compare RFM VII-40). a case I do he envisages, have 'This is green', in the sort of justification, is green. But how can I justify the use namely that the thing in question it? It is thoughts of this sort that lead of an expression by repeating Wittgenstein to say (On Certainty ?204):

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Giving certain part;

grounds,

however,

propositions' it is our acting,,

comes to an end; - but the end is not the evidence, justifying us as i.e. it is not a kind of seeing on our true, striking immediately of the language-game.27 lies at the bottom which

to understand Now there is a temptation this on the following lines. At have come to an end), there the level of 'bedrock' (where justifications is nothing but verbal behaviour and (no doubt) feelings of constraint. to behaviour and associated feelings Presumably people's dispositions in interesting ways; but at this ground-floor level there is no match normative fades out of everything question of shared commitments the picture. in This is the picture of what I called 'the basic level' that is yielded, of the ?5 (see Wright's reading, by ratification-independence rejection in which this is how things that a position above). I expressed disbelief are at the basic level can accommodate at all. If it is true that a meaning is the upshot of the position, failure to accommodate then it meaning can be attributed toWittgenstein at the of that he only price supposing to see that the in his aims. But we are now equipped does not succeed he describes the 'bedrock' use attribution falsifies his intentions. When as 'without of expressions he nevertheless insists (to justification', complete
To use

the quotation
without

from PI
a justification

?289):
does not mean to use it without right.28

an expression

And

to prevent it seems clear that the point of this is precisely the - from our our norms out of from of 'bedrock' leaching picture picture, that is, of how things are at the deepest level at which we may sensibly in the world. To quote again from the place of language contemplate RFM VI-28:
Following according to the rule is FUNDAMENTAL to our language-game.

to think we can dig down to a By Wittgenstein's lights, it is a mistake level at which we no longer have application for normative notions (like to the rule'). 'following according Wright's picture of the basic level, so far from capturing Wittgenstein's view, looks like a case of succumbing to a temptation that he is constantly warning against:
The difficult thing here is not, to dig down to the ground; us as the ground. that lies before (RFM VI-31.) no, it is to recognize the ground

is to steer a course Wittgenstein's problem Charybdis. Scylla is the idea that understanding

a Scylla and a between is always interpretation.

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This

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us with it confronts idea is disastrous because the embracing the paradox dilemma of ?4 above: the choice between that there is no on the one hand, and the fantastic mythology to meaning, substance of on the other. We can avoid Scylla by stressing the super-rigid machine, that, say, calling something 'green' can be like crying 'Help!' when one one is drowning how has learned to react to this situation. But simply then we risk steering on to Charybdis the picture of a basic level at which there are no norms; if we embrace then that, I have suggested, we cannot prevent meaning from coming to seem an illusion. The point of PI ?198, and part of the point of ??201-202, is that the key to finding the indispensable middle course is the idea of a custom or practice. How can a performance both be nothing but a 'blind' reaction to a situation, not an attempt to act on an interpretation (avoiding Scylla); and be a answer The is: by going by a rule (avoiding Charybdis)? a or to custom institution (PI ?198), practice (PI ?202), belonging (RFM VI-31). Until more is said about how exactly the appeal to communal practice course available, for a the middle this is only a programme makes a even we were as to at to if But loss solution problem. Wittgenstein's case of could be executed how he might have thought the programme (and I shall suggest that we need not be: see ??10 and 11 below), this would be no ground for ignoring the clear textual evidence that the programme is
Wittgenstein's own.

8.

I have claimed might be put like this: Wittgenstein's What point is that we have to situate our conception within of meaning and understanding a framework of communal credits Witt reading practices. Kripke's notion of with the the that thesis meaning something by one's genstein to a single person considered in isolation' words is 'inapplicable (K, p. that the is similar, then; and it cannot be denied 277). The upshot in Kripke's insistence on publicity reading corresponds broadly with a we conceive a it how makes difference thought. But Wittgensteinian to emerge. of publicity the requirement as a condition it emerges for the intelligibility of In my reading, to interpretation of understanding the assimilation rejecting a premiss So there are three that would present us with an intolerable dilemma. and the community in play: the two horns of the dilemma, positions

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of meaning that enables us to decline the choice. oriented conception two of these, equating the paradox of PI ?201 conflates the Kripke first horn of the dilemma with Wittgenstein's conclusion; only so can to the 'superlative he take it that when Wittgenstein fact' of PI objects the paradox of ?201.29 But this is quite wrong. ?192, he is embracing at ?201 is not, as Kripke that Wittgenstein formulates The paradox an individual mere we that if in the consider supposes, 'paradox' we means sense to make of the notion of do not have the isolation, to the idea meaning (something we might hope to disarm by appealing a It is the genuine and devastating of linguistic community). paradox on the individual in isolation from that meaning is an illusion. Focusing is not the way we fall into this abyss; it is, any linguistic community rather, an aspect of the way we struggle not to, so long as we retain the that generates the dilemma. (See ?4 above, on the idiolectic assumption of the second horn.) The fundamental trouble is that implications concern to reject the assimila Kripke makes nothing of Wittgenstein's to interpretation; tion of understanding and the nemesis of this over sight is the unconvincingness on which Kripke's Wittgenstein (see ?3 above) must rely. 9. Kripke suggests (K, p. 239) that, in the light of PI ?202, we should take are contained it that the essentials of the Private Language Argument in the general discussion of rule-following, rather than in the section of it has been more usual to the Investigations that begins at ?243, where I cannot look. view that the Private accept Kripke's Language is a corollary of the 'sceptical solution'; but his structural Argument from that. proposal can be detached remarks (K, pp. 277-278) that the lesson of Wittgenstein's Kripke on in two is counter-intuitive reflections rule-following particularly areas: mathematics and talk of 'inner' facts. This remark is still true account of what the lesson is. In the after we have corrected Kripke's case of mathematics, the difficulty is that we tend to construe the of proof as a matter of glimpses of the super-rigid phenomenology In the case of talk of 'inner' facts, the difficulty in operation. machinery to suppose that one knows what one means lies in the temptation from one's own case (PI ?347). How can one's linguistic community have its control over the circumstances any bearing on the matter beyond of the 'sceptical solution'

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in which one gave oneself

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one's private ostensive definitions? Kripke's that the passages is illuminating suggestion usually regarded as con are not rightly so regarded; the taining the Private Language Argument PI is essentially ?202, and the familiar passages argument by complete this inclination (??258, 265, 293, and so forth) are attempts to dissipate to its conclusion. to cite talk of 'inner facts' as a counter-example those familiar passages carry conviction This implies that whether is, If the in a sense, irrelevant to the cogency of Wittgenstein's argument. to regard talk of 'inner' facts as a counter-example inclination persists to through them, that by itself cuts no ice. And we are now in a position see what would be needed in order to undermine One the argument. would need to show either that one or the other of the horns of the or that it is not the case that the dilemma can be comfortably occupied, to of understanding which the assimilation poses interpretation, can be resisted only by locating meaning in a framework of dilemma, of is the assimilation expect the areas where his to be areas where we are is peculiarly counter-intuitive conclusion to In the with inclined be comfortable that assimilation. strongly we are to the assimilation mathematical case, prone particularly - as I - we are because remarked above inclined to accept especially its natural accompaniment, the picture of the super-rigid machine. are strongly in this What about talk of 'inner' facts? We tempted, a a to of think that there could be context, concept private grasp for all its privacy, it would make sense to think of something by which, as utterances What constrained. and Wittgenstein's judgements we are here toying as I is the that read it, requires argument, diagnosis reflections should the picture of an interpretation (placed by us on a private ostensive so we can contrive to conceive it that is the that definition) only at all. It is true that this matter in terms of concepts and judgements does not readily succumb to the softening effect interpretation pictured of the sceptical reasoning 'one interpretation after another, as if each one contented us at least for a moment, until we thought of yet another it' (PI ?201). We that in this case we can standing behind imagine - one an that comprehensively that hard stays interpretation picture with bridges the judgements exceptions the private definition ostensive and the gap between as we cannot But it there be that dictating. picture can bridge to the thesis that no interpretation the gap practices. target of Wittgenstein's we to interpretation, understanding communal If the

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It of a concept and its subsequent employment. the acquisition between is trying to make vivid for us in the is this, I think, that Wittgenstein this might stand as an epitome: battery of passages of which
Always changes, you. in this way: assume that it constantly get rid of the idea of the private object the change because deceives but that you do not notice your memory constantly

(PI p. 207.)30

The

can be immune to the softening idea that a private interpretation as must be an illusion. If we conceive such an interpretation we to turns out whatever the the be, gap, gap filling comprehensively it as having. the hardness that we picture deprive of all substance It may be tempting to locate a weakness, in the argument I attribute to Wittgenstein, in the claim that we can steer between Scylla and a to of If it is the the community. practice only by appealing Charybdis of notion of a practice that does the work, can we not form a conception that would do the trick?31 But if one is the practice of an individual to be sure tempted by this thought, one must search one's conscience effect one has inmind is not really, after all, the picture of a private case one is not, after all, steering between in which interpretation; to Scylla, leaving oneself but and Charybdis, resigning oneself Scylla to I have just sketched.32 of that the line vulnerable argument fully that what
10.

if posses reading of Wittgenstein hinges on this conditional: Wright's as grasp of a (ratification conceived sion of a concept were correctly then there would be no knowing for sure how pattern, independent) an expression. someone underlies This conditional else understands we entertain the when conviction that, 'pattern' idea, Wright's
... the kind is no matter There of each reflective grasp of us discerning to claim temptation of to is essentially of meaning it is a idiolectic appealed of his own understanding of expressions. the character a reflective of features of others' understand knowledge except against the background of the hypothesis that it

ing of a particular expression coincides with one's own.33

We

summarize Wright's reading by saying that he takes Witt a modus as to propound tollens argument with the conditional genstein of idiolectic meaning is an major premiss. Thus: the idea of knowledge con cannot be correctly of a concept illusion; therefore possession ceived as grasp of a (ratification-independent) pattern.

can

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The basis of this argument is, as Wright points out, 'the fundamental anti-realist thesis that we have understanding only of concepts of which we can distinctively our understanding' manifest (W, p. 221). Wright on of the modus would both premisses tollens argument ground for the minor premiss 'anti-realism'. The justification (see ?2 above) is that the picture of an idiolectic rule makes no room for a distinction between and merely the impression that actually conforming having one is conforming. In Wright's the reading thought here is an 'anti context one could not distinctively realist' one: that in an idiolectic - not even to oneself - a difference manifest with a manifestation in of T am actually and T have the understanding conforming' of What the major premiss underlies the impression conforming'.34 conditional of what it is to manifest is the 'anti-realist' conception to others. understanding one's to that conception, the behaviour that counts as manifest According to others must be characterizable, in such a way as ing understanding to display its status as such a manifestation, without of a benefit of the language in question. Without command that proviso, the 'manifestation that 'anti-realists' direct against the truth challenge' of meaning conditional would be trivialized.35 The chal conception if one lenge would hold no fears for the truth-conditional conception were allowed to count as satisfying the requirement of manifestation by as saying - manifestly, at least to someone such behaviour who understands the language one is speaking that such and such is the case. So the distinctive manifestations allowed by 'anti-realism' consist, as assenting to a sentence in such and such rather, in such behaviour
circumstances.36

itself could be fully manifested besides by a piece of or a of of in described series accordance behaviour, behaviour, pieces the the with 'anti-realist' would behaviour Perhaps requirement?37 to a but how can we extrapolate license us to attribute a disposition; a to is do? of what the disposition determinate disposition conception to is not allowed of the manifesting behaviour Our characterization our so even in in of the language if, question; exploit understanding Now what we start out by conceiving that as grasp of 'a network of innocence, are from extrapolating debarred determinate (W, p. 220), we patterns' It seems clear that within the rules along the pathways of the network. could only be inductive, which means that of this game any extrapolation in be fully manifested that understanding if we accept the requirement

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no extrapolation is licensed at all. The upshot is this: the behaviour, of manifestation of 'anti-realist' any conception precludes requirement a as of And this is of network grasp patterns. precisely understanding the conclusion that Wright draws.38 to accepting character of this argument is the normative The obstacle aims to accommodate the notion of meaning. As I have granted, Wright have no is not that concepts that: he would insist that his conclusion normative status, but that the patterns they dictate are not independent of our ratification. But the trouble is (see ??5 and 7) that the denial of own insistence, yields a picture by Wright's ratification-independence, of the relation between the communal language and the world in which once we are obliterated. norms it seems have this picture, And a in which the it different picture, impossible simply to retain alongside that he is of an individual to correction openness by his fellows means leaving subject to norms. The first picture irresistibly claims primacy, our openness to correction like, at best, an by our fellows looking to to the illusion that we are subject of our propensity explanation on norms. it turns Wright's its head: a If this is correct, argument for the notion of condition for the possibility of finding real application at all is that we reject 'anti-realism'. meaning I think this transcendental 'anti-realism' is fully argument against to carry conviction it is perhaps unless sup cogent. But unlikely with a satisfying account of how 'anti-realism' goes wrong. plemented this supplementation will help to discharge the unfinished (Providing business noted at the end of ?7.)
11.

to 'anti-realism', is constituted According people's sharing a language to linguistic in their by appropriate dispositions correspondences on as characterized without command of the behaviour, drawing not terms in and of the contents hence of their utterances. The language, a recoil from the idea that for this thesis is admirable: motivation a meaning to an utterance is by a speaker of one's language a about something concealed behind the surface of forming hypothesis his linguistic behaviour. But there are two possible directions in which one. One - the 'anti-realist' direction this recoil might move is to assigning retain resolutely the conception of the surface that makes the idea natural, and on the surface, so conceived. That attempt to locate meaning

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this attempt

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of the transcendental fails is the conclusion argument. The to out that the needs is the availability argument supplementation point to of the alternative direction: of the the reject conception namely, it recoils surface that 'anti-realism' shares with the position from. to of different the outward this view, aspect According linguistic a speaker makes to others - must be what behaviour available in terms of the contents of utterances (the thoughts they as course such an outward aspect cannot be conceived to just anyone; command of the language in is needed made available to put one contact in direct in order with that which cognitive someone's meaning consists.39 (This might seem to represent command sort of X-ray vision; but only in the of the language as a mysterious characterized express). Of of the surface.) of the rejected conception us warns not to 'bedrock'. But it is try to dig below Wittgenstein a sense to of in avoid what, as it were, difficult, reading him, acquiring a of down web facts about behaviour and 'inner' episodes, lies there: without describable using the notion of the struck by sheer contingency on in this the dividuals which, vision, and hence depend, impressed by an sense of one another.40 There making one that is easily distorted; correcting of meaning. One is likely to be in the resemblances between to seems of possibility meaning our in apparent precariousness is an authentic insight here, but the distortion will help to bring context

construal of Wittgenstein. out what is wrong with the 'anti-realist' The distorted version of the insight can be put as a dilemma, on these of the principle lines. Suppose that, in claiming a 'reflective knowledge' I claim to speak for others as well as of application of some expression, to a definitely In that case my claim (even if restricted specified myself. in a particular is indefinitely other: say my interlocutor conversation) to the possibility of an unfavourable future. Below vulnerable 'bedrock' so at in but the time future there is nothing any my contingency; use of the expression in question interlocutor's may stop simply to the pattern that I expect. And that would retrospectively conforming undermine my present claim to be able to vouch for the character of his So I can claim to know his pattern now only 'against the understanding. that it coincides with [my] own' (W, p. of the hypothesis background as grasp of of understanding 354). If, then, we retain the conception the idea that what we becomes the feeling of precariousness patterns, is at best a set of corresponding think of as a shared language idiolects, no better than in the correspondence for believing with our grounds

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the other horn of the dilemma - is, inductive. The only alternative to give up the conception as grasp of of understanding with Wright, turns This of pre the patterns. feeling (ratification-independent) into the idea that I cannot know for sure that my inter cariousness to march in step. But on this horn my present locutor and Iwill continue claim to understand him is not undermined my by that concession: now a our matter of him is understanding being in step now, and does not require a shared pattern extending into the future. is wrong with this, at (or above) propositions that lie below. tingencies thought is that, if I claim to to a prediction of the uses What inWittgensteinian terms, is that it conflates 'bedrock' with propositions about the con for Its key instance, RFM VI-49.) (See, know someone else's pattern, I bind myself

of language in various that he will make future circumstances, with these uses characterized in sub possible to see the contingency terms. (That is why coming 'bedrock' of the at this level, on which meaning rests is supposed to resemblances, of another person's pattern could that knowledge induce appreciation at best be inductive.) But when I claim understanding of someone else, as to which his present of the patterns and construe this knowledge utterance owes allegiance, what I claim to know is not that in such and such circumstances he will do so and so, but rather at most that that is what he will do if he sticks to his patterns.41 And that is not a prediction at all. (Compare RFM VI-15.) It is true that a certain disorderliness below 'bedrock' would under of the notion of rule-following. mine the applicability So the underlying bear an intimate relation to the notion of rule-following contingencies a relation that Wittgenstein tries to capture by saying 'It is as if we had hardened the empirical into a rule' (RFM VI-22). But proposition not to must the intimate relation be allowed the obscure recognizing of levels.42 If we respect the difference difference of levels, what we of the feeling of precariousness make will be as follows. When I another person, I know the rules he is going by. My right to understand claim to understand him is precarious, in that nothing but a tissue of stands in the way of my losing it. But to envisage its loss is contingencies not necessarily to envisage its turning out that I never had the right at of levels suffices to drive a wedge all. The difference between these; contrast wedge mutual horn of the above dilemma, on which inserting of the idea that mutual understanding requires abandonment of shared commitments.43 knowledge the second the is

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'Anti-realists' of acquisition hold

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language consists in use of the describable without linguistic propensities of notion of meaning. the conflation They thereby perpetrate exactly a rule, someone's levels against which Wittgenstein warns; following to 'anti-realism', of resem is constituted by the obtaining according that initiation in sub-'bedrock' his behaviour describable terms, between blances, and that of his fellows. Not that 'anti-realists' would put it like that: it is the same point to say that they locate 'bedrock' another way of making - not lower than it is the fact that 'following according accommodating to the rule is FUNDAMENTAL to our language-game' (RFM VI-28; see ?7 above). If, by contrast, we satisfy the motivation of 'anti-realism' that I distinguished then we refuse to above, way of what countenance sub-'bedrock' characterizations (meaning-free) consists in, and thus respect meaning something by one's words of levels. distinction Wittgenstein's a radically different conception of what We make possible, moreover, a a to it is to belong 'Anti-realists' linguistic community. picture a as one to collection of individuals another community presenting in the different in certain respects. They hope to humanize that match this exteriors that what meaning in lies on those bleak picture by claiming consists as they conceive them. But the transcendental exteriors argument as A vain. in the reveals this hope related thought is this: if regularities of an isolated verbal behaviour in described norm-free individual, it is quite obscure how it could terms, do not add up to meaning, if there are several individuals with somehow make all the difference of a linguistic de The community matching picture regularities.44 a mere a of into 'anti-realist' under then, picture assumptions, generates, reason not to of individuals whom we have no convincing aggregate on one as to the other another. conceive hand, we reject the If, opaque on as counts what restriction one's under 'anti-realist' manifesting to this thought: shared membership in a standing, we entitle ourselves a not matter of in is aspects of an just linguistic community matching we us to to make our but equips exterior that anyone whatever, present one one to minds another with a available another, by confronting we to outsiders. different exterior from that which present can be Wittgenstein's problem was to explain how understanding con other than interpretation (see ?7 above). This non-'anti-realist' of a linguistic community ception answer: shared command following gives us a genuine right to the of a language equips us to know

into a common

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to arrive at that knowledge meaning without needing by us to it because hear someone else's meaning in interpretation, equips his words. 'Anti-realists' would claim this right too, but the claim is rendered void by the merely additive upshot of their picture of what it is to share a language. In the different I have described, the picture a com to works because response Wittgenstein's problem linguistic as bound not by a match is conceived in mere munity together, to a externals accessible but for a (facts just anyone), by capacity one another's meeting When of minds. we had no more than an abstract characterization of Witt an as to the notion of communal response, genstein's appeal practice, there seemed to be justice in this query: if the concept of a communal can magic meaning into our picture, should not this power practice - so a as to of be credited the concept such that the practice of practice an individual might serve just as well? (See ?7 above.) But ifWitt is the one I have described in this section, it is genstein's position of a communal notion the that is needed, and not precisely practice some notion that could equally be applied outside the context of a in The essential which one person can community. point is the way to Wright's know another's meaning without interpretation. Contrary we can have what Wright calls 'a reflective reading, it is only because of features of others' understanding of a particular expres knowledge sion' (W, p. 354) that meaning is possible at all.45
12.

on rule-following reflections attack a certain familiar Wittgenstein's I of which facts and shall formulate like this. A genuine truth, picture fact must be a matter of the way things are in themselves, utterly of us. So a genuinely true judgement must be, at least independently an exercise of pure thought; if human nature is necessarily potentially, our in the very formation of the judgement, that precludes implicated as of of the fact and us, thinking corresponding properly independent hence as a proper fact at all.46 We can find this picture of genuine truth compelling only ifwe either or are such only because forget that truth-bearers they are meaningful, care no as of take it were, themselves, suppose that meanings needing, is the one that is relevant to our help from us. This latter supposition concerns. If we make it, we can let the judging subject, in our picture of

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true judgement, shrink to a locus of pure thought, while the fact that a judging is human activity fades into insignificance. on rule-following Now Wittgenstein's undermine reflections this the supposition that meanings take care of picture by undermining can be an A particular themselves. 'inner' or overt, performance,* a judgement or ameaningful utterance - only of a concept application to constraints if it owes allegiance that the concept imposes. And being is not being led, in some occult way, by an governed by such constraints autonomous but acting within a (the super-rigid machinery), meaning custom. The upshot is that if something enters into being a enters in it the relevant customs, participant equally into being capable at all. We have to give up that picture of of making any judgements can shrink to a the maker of a true judgement truth, in which genuine from anything that might make him point of pure thought, abstracted one of us. and recognizably distinctively It seems right to regard that familiar picture as a kind of realism. It communal to be wholly autonomous to say 'out takes meaning (one is tempted of realism as the term is used in the old debate there'); this is reminiscent about universals. And it embraces an extreme form of the thesis that the in a way facts are not up to us; this invites the label 'realism' understood to recent debates. But if we allow ourselves of more characteristic describe the recoil from the familiar picture as a recoil from realism, there are two points that we must be careful not to let this obscure. to do with of the truth First: the recoil has nothing rejection of meaning, conditional understood. That con conception properly are the fact that truth conditions ception has no need to camouflage us, in a language that we understand. When we say necessarily given by ' are hard" is true if and only if diamonds are hard', we are "Diamonds on on the right-hand involved side as the reflections just as much to miss this is a standing temptation tell us we are. There rule-following that the right-hand obvious side somehow truth, and to suppose as a unconceptualized us with a possible fact, pictured presents can we of in find the connection themselves. But things configuration between meaning and truth illuminating without succumbing to that temptation. Second: the recoil is from an extreme form of the thesis that the facts are not up to us, not from that thesis in any form whatever. What Wittgenstein's polemic against the picture of the super-rigid machine of a concept is the thesis that possession is grasp of a makes untenable

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that extends of itself to new cases. (See ?4 above.) pattern of application InWright's reading, that is the same as saying that it deprives us of the of grasp of ratification-independent patterns. But rejection conception obliterates meaning of ratification-independence (see ??5, 7, altogether In effect, 10 above). shows that there the transcendental argument must be a middle that is grasp of patterns position. Understanding as our cases to new of extend ratification, independently required for - not an to for the illusion be other than (and incidentally meaning a to of have but the constraints intuitive notion use); objectivity do not have the platonistic autonomy with imposed by our concepts are in the picture of the super-rigid machinery. which credited they of this the possibility As before (compare ?11 above), what obscures to get below 'bedrock'. Wright is the 'anti-realist' attempt position on that the emergence of a consensus (W, pp. 217-220) suggests whether, say, to call some newly encountered object 'yellow' is subject to picture to no norms. That is indeed how it seems ifwe allow ourselves in terms of sub-'bedrock' in the communal resemblances language in But if we respect Wittgenstein's and phenomenology. behaviour junction not to dig below the ground, we must say that the community to whether the (compare W, p. 220) according 'goes right or wrong' can or and in make its is not, is, nothing being yellow; object question on our ratification of the judgement that that yellow, or not, dependent claim is how things are. InWittgenstein's eyes, as I read him, Wright's so no standard to itself there is no authority, that 'for the community that meet' (W, p. 220) can be, at very best, an attempt to say something in cannot be said but only shown. It may have some merit, conceived as a doctrine can yield only it toWittgenstein that light; but attributing distortion. writes, at RFM 11?61: Wittgenstein
Finitism is.... and behaviourism Both deny the existence are quite similar trends. Both say, but surely, all we have here a view to escaping from a both with of something,

confusion.47

of The point about finitism is this. It recoils, rightly, from the mythology that extend of themselves, the patterns the super-rigid machinery without this limit, beyond any point we take them to. But it equates of that without recoil with rejecting extend, any conception patterns idea that in limit, beyond any such point. This is like the behaviourist as essentially from the confused idea of the mental order to escape

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concealed

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we have to reject the mental from others behind behaviour, seems to be idealism that intoWittgenstein reads altogether. Wright another similar trend. (Clearly the remark does not applaud the trends it The

discusses.)

13.

two sets of passages In this section I want to mention inWittgenstein of can. which we are now placed to make better sense than Wright First: inWright's reading, the 'pattern' idea is inextricably connected But this does not seem to be with the picture of idiolectic understanding. sees how Wittgenstein does not scruple to say that things. Wittgenstein a series 'is defined... to the by the training in proceeding according rule' (RFM VI-16). And at Zettel ?308 he writes:
Instead of "and would so on" simply he might have be a definition said: of "Now you know what the expression "following I mean." And the rule +1" his ...

explanation

Again, PI ?208 and the remarks that follow it contain a sustained attack on the idea that successfully someone the sort of putting through to 'point beyond' the examples given (see ?208) is training that ismeant when getting him 'to guess the essential thing' (PI ?210). For Wright, these passages reject the picture of a leap to a personal understanding, the 'pattern' idea. But Wittgenstein they should be eo ipso rejecting combines criticism of the 'leap' picture with conceding (?209) how as reaching beyond all the natural it is to think of our understanding this concession examples given. (Wright would construe we can make of version the But idea. purged 'pattern' him without with the problems says Wittgenstein saddling denial of ratification-independence.) in terms of his sense of what generated by

sometimes Second: Wittgenstein (for instance at PI ?151) discusses the idea that one can grasp the principle of a series, or a meaning, 'in a can that the idea of this 'flash' flash'. Wright be suggests (W, pp. 30-31) But I nothing but the idea of a leap to a purely personal understanding. see no reason to accept that Wittgenstein In intends this identification. casts a gratuitous slur on his phenomenological fact, the suggestion can be The idea that the meaning of an expression perceptiveness. in an instant is just as tempting about someone else's meaning present as it is about one's own; and Wittgenstein aware of this: is perfectly
When someone says the word "cube" to me, for example, I know what itmeans. But can

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I understand it in that way? (PI

the whole ?139;

use of

the word

come

before

my mind,

when

cf. ?138.)

view must be that the intended answer to this question is 'No' Wright's intends to show up as an illusion the idea that one can that Wittgenstein someone in a flash. But else's the only illusion that grasp pattern us to in this the is illusion of supposing Wright neighbourhood explains a of that one could have an idiolectic So Wright's grasp pattern. us we owes for which search the something writings of the Wittgenstein in vain: an explanation of how it is that we not only actual Wittgenstein fall into that illusion but misconceive its character mistaking what is in fact the supposition that we can guess at someone else's pattern for the supposition that we can (what seems on the face of it very different) hear it in his utterances. are now placed to see that this latter supposition We is not, in an use at in a flash' all. illusion the whole view, Wittgenstein's 'Grasping as expressing an incorrigibly is not to be dismissed confused picture the picture of a leap to an idiolectic understanding but to be carefully in the light of the thesis that there is a way of grasping a rule understood which In that light, we can see that there is is not an interpretation. one can grasp in a flash the principle of with the idea that nothing wrong a series one is being taught; and equally that there is nothing wrong with the idea that one can hear someone in his words. else's meaning us to The put a fantastic tempts 'interpretation' prejudice insidiously on construction these to the conceptions; mythological right response that is not to abandon the conceptions but to exorcize the 'inter and so return them to sobriety. pretation' prejudice ('Really the only a with what is the "in you say queer way"': PI expression thing wrong

?195.)
At PI ?534, Wittgenstein writes:
a word sense. How in a particular that there should be such a thing! Hearing queer in this way, like this, heard this sentence is the first of a Phrased like this, emphasized a transition to these sentences, is made actions. series in which pictures, of familiar paths leads off from these words in every direction.))48 ((A multitude

What of

are these 'familiar paths'? Presumably, for instance, continuations sense: not, then, 'patterns' in the conversation that would make the sense with which we have been concerned (which would precisely cases on as same thing'), would of these the not, be, paths 'going doing a series of but they raise similar issues. Suppose in that, describing

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utterances that in fact

JOHN

MCDOWELL

an intelligible we constitutes conversation, to the 'anti-realist' conform account of how meaning must be mani fested. We shall have to describe each member of the series without of the language in question. Such a description drawing on command will blot out the relations of meaning between the members of the an intelligible conversation; what series, in virtue of which it constitutes is left will be, at best, a path that one could trace out inductively or retrodicting).49 demonstration that (whether predicting Wright's cannot 'anti-realism' countenance patterns ratification-independent should work for these 'familiar paths' too. An cannot 'anti-realist' on an occasion, from what is done in his presence extrapolate, along out by meaning; and inductive extrapolation is against paths marked the rule that we must restrict ourselves to what is fully manifested in It is obscure to me what of the linguistic behaviour. interpretation toWright. What seems to be the case passage I have quoted is available is that 'anti-realism', by, in effect, looking for 'bedrock' lower than it is, blocks off the obvious and surely correct reading: that hearing a word in one sense rather than another is hearing it in one position rather than in the network of possible patterns of making another sense that we learn to find ourselves in when we acquire mastery of a language.

14.

We

the issue between Wright's reading and mine on this on publicity how does insistence In Wittgenstein's question: emerge? answer as a the it is this: condition of the my emerges reading, of rejecting to inter the assimilation of understanding possibility InWright's pretation, which poses an intolerable dilemma. reading, the answer is this: it emerges as the only alternative after the notion of left, a idiolectic been has scotched self-contained understanding by that is epitomized (PI ?258): argument by this passage
... One means would that here we like to say: whatever can't talk about is going 'right'. to seem right to me is right. And that only

can centre

takes the thought here to be an 'anti-realist' one, to the effect Wright that the distinction between being right and seeming right is shown to be empty, a in the idiolectic of manifesting case, by the impossibility grasp of it, even to oneself. (See ?10 above.) Given this, I suppose takes it that sheer consistency the appeal to Wright requires construing

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the only the community, shown to be obligatory by virtue of being an in 'anti-realist' way. remaining possibility, it is true that the idiolectic of understanding Now is a conception (See ?4 above.) So my corollary of the second horn of the dilemma. argument against that idea, reading need not exclude a self-contained that the dilemma is intolerable. part of the demonstration constituting On such a view, the insistence on publicity would emerge twice over: first as a direct implication of the self-contained argument, and second, In fact I think indirectly, as required by the rejection of the dilemma. is unnecessary. this complexity has plenty to say against Wittgenstein the second horn of the dilemma the picture of the super-rigid machine without needing, for his case against it and therefore against accept self-contained the envisaged argument ing the dilemma, against this ' I And have how like the one ?9 (in above) passages corollary. explained I quoted above fromPI ?258, which Wright takes as formulations of the are intelligible in the context of the second, self-contained argument, But the real flaw in indirect route to the requirement of publicity. not in it countenances is that the first route, view, my Wright's reading, but that it omits the second. Like Kripke (see ?8 above), Wright makes concern - which figures at the centre of my nothing of Wittgenstein's - to to interpretation. attack the assimilation of understanding reading shows itself inWright's oversight of line following thought toWittgenstein: This
...

willingness

to attribute

the

the investigation-independent truth of statements that their truth is settled, requires the need of human and without and the interference, by their meanings no notion set of reasons, facts. For a complex the relevant of however, can be legitimised which will play this role ... the meaning of a statement, if it is meaning to make autonomous the relevant contribution towards determining that statement's autonomously of character cannot be thought of as fully determined uses of that statement truth-value, by previous uses if it is a novel statement, of its constituents and by previous by its syntax; for those no matter factors can always be reconciled with the statement's any truth-value, having same goes to be. The what the worldly for prior phenomenological facts are taken in the minds of the linguistically episodes competent. imagery, models Nothing, or of its constituents, use of the statement, or in the prior in the previous therefore, or, streams the facts of consciousness to determine of competent its truth-value, speakers, sufficient is, if its meaning to fix its meaning. is in conjunction So what does?50 with

is essentially that generates the paradox of PI ?201; the argument toWittgenstein at cost of ignoring, like and it can be attributed the only section's second that Kripke, paragraph. The result of the oversight is that, whereas Wittgenstein's key This

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thought is that the dilemma must be avoided, Wright's reading leaves the dilemma unchallenged. attacks the second Wittgenstein obviously horn of the dilemma - the picture of the super-rigid machinery. The of the to dilemma is thus locate consequence leaving unchallenged on its first horn - embracing the paradox of ?201. This Wittgenstein toWright's disastrous upshot does not, of course, correspond intentions in his interpretation of Wittgenstein. who can be (Contrast Kripke, content to attribute acceptance of the paradox of ?201 toWittgenstein because he misses its devastating it is where character.) Nevertheless, his reading leaves us (see ??5, 7, 10 above): a fitting nemesis for its toWittgenstein's inattention central concern. The villain of the piece - what makes it impossible to for Wright accommodate that understanding insistence need not be Wittgenstein's is the 'anti-realist' of our knowledge of interpretation conception to what, at the beginning others. (See ??11 and 12 above. Contrary of to suppose, the cogency of a passage this section, I took Wright like PI the picture of idiolectic is quite un ?258, against understanding, connected with the 'anti-realist' view of what it is to manifest under to others.) From Wright's then, we can learn some standing reading, that is both 'anti-realist' thing important: that there cannot be a position to meaning, and genuinely and that the construal of Witt hospitable as the source of 'anti-realism', often nowadays taken for genstein a travesty. is granted,
NOTES to respond to Simon Blackburn's This paper originated in an attempt 'Rule-Following in Steven Holtzman and Moral Realism', and Christopher Leich To (eds.), Wittgenstein: a Rule, and Kegan Follow Boston and Henley, Paul, London, 1981, pp. Routledge in writing I was stimulated the first draft, by an unpublished 163-187; also, paper of Blackburn's draft called from Margaret on the first I have been greatly helped by comments 'Rule-Following'. Saul Kripke, Susan Hurley, David Gilbert, Lewis, Christopher and Crispin Wright, who also kindly let me see a Pettit, David Wiggins, a paper in August 1982, presented and to the Seventh forthcoming Wittgenstein in the Journal of *

Peacocke, draft of

Philip his 'Kripke's Wittgenstein', at Kirchberg, Austria, Symposium

on the Foundations for the third edition of Wittgenstein's 'RFM Remarks of von edited G. H. R. and G. E. M. Anscombe, and Mathematics, Rhees, by Wright, translated 1978. Blackwell, Oxford, by G. E. M. Anscombe, 2 on the Foundations See p. 19 of Crispin Wittgenstein Wright, of Mathematics, to by 'W'. referred Duckworth, London, 1980; hereafter

Philosophy. 1 I shall use

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3 This idea of commitment The most to patterns must

A RULE

359
care ifwe are not to falsify the that Wittgenstein to think of the

be treated with on which series. Here

intuition.

concentrates, correct expansion principle things

straightforward is the continuation of the series

sort of case, of a numerical

it is familiar it is natural

commits

that, given a given express at best, metaphorical supposing concepts simply which the one chooses

as constituting a pattern to which of its understanding one. In the general idea is the idea of a series of case, the 'pattern' to say if one chose the way the world develops, it would to be correct outside the series-expansion this idea is obviously case, concept; since what state of it is correct affairs to say with the use of a given concept, even on what other aims to describe, depends in the same utterance. kernel is (The non-metaphorical one

a determinate idea that

to express of what one says is a matter of the conditions the meaning under it would be true.) It is important, between the also, not to falsify the connection and meaningfulness for instance, that the idea is that making patterns by suggesting sense depends on conforming to the appropriate commitments. out the patterns is Tracing the 'pattern' sense (in an idea takes consistently the truth to be; to make speaking one needs to do no more as if to be doing what one than felicitously make affirmation) takes that to require. (See, further, n. 41 below.) 4 see n. 19 below. 'Rigid' will call for comment: 5 does this at p. 252 of 'Strict Finitism', of See also pp. 246-247 51,1982. Wright Synthese his 'Anti-Realist Semantics: the Role of Criteria', in Godfrey Past (ed.), Idealism: Vesey and Present, CUP, 6 I shall use 'PF 1982, pp. 225-248. Cambridge, for Philosophical Investigations, correction 1953. Stanley Cavell's

what

Blackwell, Oxford, at pp. 33-34 of his The Claim

Clarendon of Reason, with Wright's view of Wittgenstein. any easier to reconcile 7 See also, e.g., PI ??187, 692, 693. 8 See also W, pp. 32, 354. 9 PI ?258: See also W, p. 36. Compare 'One would like to say: whatever is going to seem that only means that here we can't talk about "right".' (See ?14 right to me is right. And like to say: whatever would that here we can't talk about Saul A. in Kripke, Irving 'Wittgenstein Block (ed.), to seem right is going 'right'. on Rules and Private on to us is right. And that only

by G. E. M. Anscombe, of the usual reading of this passage, it 1979, does not make Press, Oxford, translated

below.) 10 One means 11 See

Exposition', Blackwell, point of

Perspectives hereafter Oxford, 1981, pp. 238-312; at p. 249 of 'Strict Finitism'; contact

an Elementary Language: the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, to by 'K\ Wright referred notes the he takes issue with Kripke in though

'Kripke's Wittgenstein'. 12 Where I say 'other', Kripke has 'larger'. This makes the scepticism perhaps more but the difference is inessential. gripping, 13 at K, pp. 250-57. This is the gist of the excellent discussion 14 of Mathematics', Review 324-348, 68,1959, 'Wittgenstein's Philosophy Philosophical at p. 348. 15 See especially Michael of Meaning? 'What is a Theory Dummett, (II)', inGareth Evans and John McDowell Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1976, pp. (eds.), Truth and Meaning, 67-137. 16 The Blue and Brown Books, Blackwell, Oxford, 1958. Compare Zettel, edited by G. E.

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360
M. Anscombe and G. H.

JOHN MCDOWELL
von Wright, and translated by G. E. M. Anscombe, Blackwell,

Oxford, 17 There citations

1967, ?231. is a good description of relevant passages, Investigations

pp. 18

for Philosophical 31-71.

of the mythological ideas expressed of here, with a wealth Some Signposts in Gordon Baker, 'Following Wittgenstein: a Rule, in Holtzman and Leich, To Follow ??143-242',

cannot distinguish of the 'superlative fact' of PI See K, pp. 269, 272: Kripke rejection a fact in which my to countenance of the mythology from refusing rejection a determinate to 'plus' consists of the paradox. acceptance attaching meaning 19 both with and 'Strict Finitism', my emphasis. W, p. 216, p. 250; 'Rigid', at W, p. 21 an expression same idea - Wright not mean of does is the in ?1 above), 'rigid' as (quoted to, say, 'vague' (see Baker, pp. 40-41). 'Following Wittgenstein', opposed 20 from PI ?258 quoted in n. 9 above. is of a piece with the passage That is, the passage ?192 suggestion p. 300, n. 17) does that

not compete with, but rather complements, (K, Kripke's suggestion to Russell's treatment of desire the passage in The refers obliquely and Unwin, 1921. Allen London, Analysis of Mind, George 21 in ?4 above. the passage from Blue Book, p. 34, quoted Compare 22 to change I have ventured the punctuation in the second paragraph, in order to make This structure of the passage the dialectical clearer. 23 man who at the order "Right PI ?506: turn!" turns left, 'The absent-minded Compare his forehead, "Oh! and then, clutching has says right turn" and does a right turn. What struck him? An interpretation?' 24 RFMVl-43. Compare 25 VI-49. See also RFM VI-30, 26 to PI ?217: '... I am inclined With 'Well, that's how I react in this situation', compare I do."' say: "This is simply what 27 On Certainty, and translated edited by G. E. M. Anscombe and G. H. von Wright, by It is worth 1969. how and Denis G. E. M. Anscombe Paul, Blackwell, Oxford, noting can seem in the case of such uses of language as 'it is not a kind of seeing' paradoxical stress on of Wittgenstein's is green. For an illuminating discussion saying that something war see Peter Winch, of the language-game', 'Im Anfang acting as lying 'at the bottom in Block, die Tat', pp. 159-178. Perspectives, 28 see For a discussion of the translation of 'zu Unrecht', or (RFM VII-40). 'wrongfully' K, p. 306, n. 46. 29 See n. 18 above. 30 'The Verification and See, e. g., PI ??258, 265, 270. See Anthony Kenny, Principle in O. R. Jones (ed.), The Private Language the Private Language Argument, Argument', Macmillan, 31 Simon London, 1971, pp. 204-228. Blackburn is in effect presses what * in n. above. See ?11 below. I have noted footnote thinks aimed to describe A 354. fuller A account of how it works this question, in the unpublished paper

mentioned 32 In this section Argument. unfinished 33 W, p.

business

Language only the structure of the Private in addition, would the require, discharging at the end of ?7 above. See especially ?11 below. adds: 'Or with one's understanding of another specified Note as a ,

expression.' 34 is how Wright This that the requirement

the Private

of manifestation

Argument Language is not initally imposed,

is to be understood. in this line of thought,

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to see that public manifestation we are brought is of public manifestation: requirement of an independent in consequence what is required critique of the (non-question-begging) see ?14 below. of Wright's On the structure idea of idiolectic reading, understanding. 35 see Wright, Truth-Value For the terminology 'manifestation 'Realism, challenge', at pp. 112-113. and the Past', Ratio For the Links, Other Minds 22, 1980, 112-132, substance of the challenge, London, Duckworth, 36 an It is actually conforms to the Understanding', standing, De see, e.g., Michael Dummett, Frege: Philosophy of Language, 1973, p. 467. to think that this kind of characterization of behaviour illusion see my 'Anti-Realism 'anti-realist' and the Epistemology of requirement: in Herman Gruyter, Berlin Parret and Jacques York, Bouveresse 1981, and New pp. 225-248, is misconceived and Under (eds.), Meaning at pp. 244-246. But in

as I am, that the programme the course of arguing, in principle, there is no point of jibbing at the details of its purported execution. 37 For 'fully', see Dummett, p. 467. Frege: of Language, Philosophy 38 At least inW. Contrast at p. 'Strawson on Anti-Realism', 40,1979,283-299, Synthese state of affairs of every '... suppose 294: has this knowledge: [someone] criterially or denial, of "John is in pain", he knows in a practical sense both the assertion, warranting that it has was that status criterial; and under that what circumstances knows the merely or denial, of "John is in pain". No the assertion, criterially warranting but the stronger our grounds for thinking know for sure that someone had this knowledge; be the allegation that he did not grasp the assertoric that he did, the more baffling would content of "John (formulated of use, and is in pain".' in terms is, he it would be brought "overturn-conditions" out of that its status any situation doubt we could not

a Here Wright maintaining (My emphasis.) contemplates of criteria) of the idea that understanding is grasp of a - as his overall for the indeed requires opts pattern accordingly position of other horn of this dilemma: the thesis, namely, that one cannot have certain knowledge in is Wright's is remarkable What the character of someone else's understanding. version souciance which about is what Wright it openly flouts the fundamental motivation of 'anti-realism', to be defending is supposed It seems clear that the against Strawson. can consistently of W is the only one an 'anti-realist' occupy. position of Understanding', and the Epistemology 'Anti-Realism pp. 239 especially this move:

contrasting 39 See my 244. 40

See K, p. 290: cf. Stanley Cavell, Must we Mean What We Say?, Scribner, New York, in Holtzman and Rule-Following', of my 'Non-Cognitivism 1969, p. 52: and pp. 145-154 a Rule, To Follow and Leich, pp. 141-162. 41 the 'pattern' idea is least metaphorical, It passes muster where Even this is too much. in the case of continuation of a series; but in the general case, the idea of a corpus namely a claim of present understanding to which would commit one is predictions here is a version of one that Rush Rhees (See n. 3 above.) The point I am making in terms of a distinction between the general of linguistic behaviour and makes, practice of rules, at pp. 55-56 of 'Can there be a Private the following in his Language?', of determinate absurd. Discussions disarms, of Wittgenstein, Routledge as an objection to Wittgenstein, and Kegan It Paul, London, 1970, pp. 55-70. the insightful remarks of Jerry A. Fodor, The Hassocks, 1975, pp. 71-72. of Wittgenstein's remarks (The source of the phrase about 'the limits of paper of isRussell's

Language of Thought, 42 The difference of empiricism': RFM

Harvester, levels is the subject VII-21. III?71, VII-17,

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362

JOHN MCDOWELL
36 See W, p. (1935-6), 131-150.) can deal only with that empiricism un 'are not assumptions (which

in Proceedings that name, of the Aristotelian Society think the point of the remarks is, very roughly, what is below 'bedrock': the limits of empiricism 220.1

we make or intuitively to be correct: in which known guaranteed, they are ways cf. On Certainty in ?7 and in which we act': RFM VII-21 ?204, quoted comparisons seems to live above it (outside its reach), at 'bedrock' level. Wright, above) by contrast, as ifWittgenstein's view were that for all its limits empiricism the passages interpret of Wittgenstein's that 72-95, implies on sub-'bedrock' in Wittgenstein's statements about view, supervene, rule-following of this; but on the most natural statements. There may be an acceptable interpretation it would make statements about rule-following to future loss of vulnerable interpretation, to. in just the way I am objecting mutual intelligibility 44 '... we at p. 183 of 'Rule-Following and Moral writes: Simon Blackburn, Realism', (eds.), 'Rule-Following: To Follow the Nature pp. a Rule, can become which with to picture of the use of language, according gripped by what I call a wooden use words, is that in certain situations the only fact of the matter perhaps people no room for various like "that fits", and so on. This wooden picture makes feelings fact words that rule. But or withholding a word people may be conforming to a in applying no to room seems for in of it the idea that because make this, just must have felt that they are expressing judgments. Wittgenstein that others do the same, was the magic turning the wooden ingredient It is most to make obscure noises to me that it fills this role: a lot of wooden contained the truth. 43 Peacocke, Christopher in Holtzman Arguments', at p. 88 and Leich of

the further pre-existent their using publicity, picture into with

the fact

the full one.

one of them is.' It will be is just more of whatever persons propensities a great deal of sympathy I believe with this complaint. Where that I have apparent as opposed that it tells against Wittgenstein is in thinking Blackburn himself, goes wrong set of interpreters to the position has been saddled with by a certain that Wittgenstein to not in I intend enroll and Rule did whom my myself 'Non-Cognitivism (among Following', 45 If I am of a linguistic conception aggregative that Kripke draws with that the parallel of causation 'Rule-Following (independently proposed by Blackburn, of language is misconceived. and Moral Realism', pp. 182-183) Wittgenstein's picture no conception to the individual of the individual such as would contains correspond that any merely the.n it seems contiguity and succession, in Hume's picture of to which the paper to suppose right falsifies Wittgenstein, Blackburn is responding).

community Hume's discussion

related cause-effect only by pair, causation. 46 later Wittgenstein The may have Tractatus. On the relation between 'Introduction:

the Unity and Kegan the Philosophy Routledge of Wittgenstein, at pp. 9-15. discussion the very illuminating especially 47 at K, pp. 293-294; this passage discusses Kripke and the 'sceptical of the 'sceptical paradox' Wittgenstein its point. appreciating 48 is quoted The last sentence from PI ?525. A related between the topics of seeing an aspect and 'experiencing

in the found a form of this picture (perhaps unjustly) see Peter Winch, and the Tractatus, the later work in Peter Winch of Wittgenstein's in (ed.), Studies Philosophy', Paul, but London, I believe 1969, his pp. 1-19, to fully

attribution him from

solution'

prevents Ilxi:

is PI passage the meaning

the connection is drawn

of a word'

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FOLLOWING
at pp. 214, 215. explicitly 49 of 'What At pp. 130-131

A RULE

363

of Meaning? is a Theory writes: 'We do not (II)', Dummett a deterministic nor should we want, to achieve for a language, expect, theory of meaning we should not expect even one which to be able to give a is deterministic only in principle: conditions environment (the physical together with all other relevant theory from which, of other speakers, of a speaker, the utterances the exact utterances etc.), we could predict of any one speaker, than, by a study of the rules and strategy of a game, we any more to to actual be able restriction, expect play.' But in the context of the 'anti-realist' predict with weaker all that this can mean is that we must content ourselves relations of the same as those not meaning-dependent) kind that would be traceable, general (inductively sort we are to renounce. in a theory of the deterministic involved 50 'Strict Finitism', also W, p. 22, where Wright the second speaker identifies p. 250. Note in the dialogue of RFM I give a rule which 1-113 rules you give me ('However many of your rules') with Wittgenstein and W, himself; (a p. 216 justifies my employment in ?2 above), passage quoted that unintended interpretations idiolectic. essentially University College where is said it is the us to push susceptibility into the of idea all of explanations understanding to as

Oxford
England

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