Was Wittgenstein a Normativist about Meaning?

Claudine Verheggen


I try to shed light on the ongoing debate concerning the question whether meaning is
normative by returning to its sources in Wittgenstein’s writings. I argue that, once
we recognize, with Wittgenstein, that the conditions of correctness that govern the
application of linguistic expressions are intrinsic to meaning and not to anything to
which meaning could be reduced, we must conclude that there is a sense in which
meaning is essentially normative. This, however, is not the sense usually attributed
to Wittgenstein, according to which the conditions of correct application of
expressions are themselves determined by rules.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; meaning; rule-following; normativity; skeptical paradox; correctness condition; interpretation; categorical prescription; hypothetical prescription; reductionism; naturalism

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