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Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language

  • Baker J
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In the interpretation of wittgenstein's thinking about the concept of a rule, Two sharply differing positions have emerged. On one reading wittgenstein is taken to hold that the concept of a rule presupposes a community within which a common agreement in actions fixes the meaning of a rule. Baker and hacker argue vigorously against this reading. They take wittgenstein to be holding that agreement is necessary only for "shared" rules, "shared" concepts, "shared" language. According to their interpretation, Wittgenstein allows the possibility that a human being who had always lived in isolation from any human community, Could have a language and could follow rules. In my article I argue that baker and hacker have misunderstood wittgenstein on the concept of a rule, That the passages they adduce in support of their reading do not support it, And that many passages in his writings show wittgenstein's position to be that without general agreement there could be neither rules nor language.




Baker, J. (1984). Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Philosophical Studies, 30, 373–375.

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