Wittgenstein on Rules: Justification, Grammar, and Agreement (Hardcover)
James R. Shaw offers a new 'bipartite' reading of Wittgenstein's treatment of rule-following and the foundations of semantics in his seminal Philosophical Investigations. On this reading, Wittgenstein's remarks are split between two logically distinct projects marked by different guiding questions, presuppositions, and methodologies. It shows how the attribution of this thoroughgoing bipartite structure resolves a number of internal tensions in the text and reveals Wittgenstein's controversial remarks on human agreement to exhibit a surprising attentiveness to, and plausible treatment of, a blurring of the semantics/metasemantics distinction arising in Wittgenstein's treatment of foundational semantic questions. Shaw then turns to an extended engagement with "Kripkensteinean" meaning skepticism. While on the reading offered, Wittgenstein never countenanced meaning skepticism, his work in the foundations of semantics gives us the resources to develop an unusual naive reply to the skeptic not yet explored in literature. Shaw argues that the Wittgensteinean reply is simple, effective, generalizable, and theoretically light-weight', so that a theorist of almost any stripe could in principle take it up.
James R. Shaw is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.