Rule-following has been a controversial issue in professional philosophical literature since Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Many authors have developed accounts of rule-following along different lines, including those that naturalistically reduce rule-following to non-normative phenomena and those that take rule-following to be an irreducible aspect of cognition and agency. Hannah Ginsborg, a prominent contributor to rule-following literature, has developed a partially reductive account of rule-following, combining features of both reductionist and nonreductionist accounts. But naturalizing or internalistic theories of rule-following, or even Ginsborg’s partial reduction of rule-following, ignore important facets of what it is to follow a rule, particularly its social aspect. In this thesis I reject Ginsborg’s partial reductionism, holding that her hybrid theory does not escape the particular problems of naturalistic reductionism or nonreductionism about rule-following. I argue instead that certain social concepts are necessary for a satisfactory theory of rule-following. The first concept is how an individual is “enculturated” into her various social and cultural networks. The second is one’s “normative identity,” the accumulated concepts and behaviors one has as part of a social and cultural network. I develop these notions with inspiration from Wittgenstein and other social contributors to rule-following literature.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Odom, Nicholas, "Rule-Following, Enculturation, and Normative Identity" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 917.