Following a Philosopher

Murilo Seabra


What might be to follow a philosopher? According to the latter Wittgenstein, rules
are fundamentally what philosophers are concerned with, rules are what they write -
that is, grammatical and not empirical propositions. This idea naturally allows us to
transpose Wittgenstein's remarks on rule-following into the problem of following a
philosopher. We should keep in mind that this idea applies as much to the
metaphysicians and analytical philosopher's of the author's time as for himself. From
his own point of view, Wittgenstein applied common rules of language to break down
the bizarre representation norms - not empirical propositions about the inner
workings of reality or language - proposed by philosophers. For instance, against the
rule that states the privacy of meanings (sustained by Carnap and Russell as if it
were an empirical proposition), Wittgenstein reminds us of an internal relation
between the concepts of meaning and explanation, that is, he reminds us that meanings
cannot be private as long as they can be explained. The rule that states the privacy
of meanings simply takes the concept of meaning out of circulation (or else it
drastically alters the concept of privacy).


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; rule; rule-following; interpretation

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