Philosophy | Special Topics in Philosophy
P470 | 9739 | Ebbs

Topic: Metaphysics: Rule-Following and Normativity

This course will study the problem of rule-following raised by Saul
Kripke in his book Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.
Kripke focuses primarily on a question in the metaphysics of meaning—
the question of how the meanings of linguistic expressions are
determined by mental and physical facts. But his skeptical challenge
raises a general problem for the very idea that some of our acts are
correct or incorrect, right or wrong. Hence to come to terms with
Kripke’s arguments, one must also examine the metaphysics of
normativity more generally. We shall therefore look at a variety of
responses to Kripke’s arguments and a corresponding variety of views
of the metaphysics of normativity. Readings by Goodman, Quine,
Kripke, Wittgenstein, Dummett, Boghossian, Wright, McDowell, Pettit,
Goldfarb, Horwich, Brandom, Gibbard, and Railton, among others.
Course requirements: class participation, two papers, a midterm and
a final.