The Origins of the So-Called ‘Rule-Following Paradox’

Mauro Engelmann


The notion of ‘rule-following’ is already important in the Tractatus. There it
characterizes ‘thought’ as the activity of following rules of projection. In MS
109-110 (1930-31), especially, Wittgenstein goes back to the discussion of the nature
of Satz and thought. Its result is a version of some aspects of the so-called
‘rule-following paradox’ as presented in the Philosophical Investigations (PI). In
those manuscripts, there is neither a solution for the ‘paradox’, nor a clear answer
to the question of how the problem arises. Nevertheless, there are important
indications of what could count as such an answer for Wittgenstein in line with the
new method that he seems to be developing there.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; rule-following; new method; middle Wittgenstein; rule; paradox

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