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BOOK REVIEWS 685 Wittgenstein: To Follow a Rule. Edited by STEVEN HoLTZMANN and CHRISTOPHER LEICH. (International Library of Philosophy.) London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981. Pp. xiii + 250. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations was published in 1953, and despite the continuing appearance of -0ther major "late" works, such as the recently published Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, the tenor of his later philosophy has been unmistakeable for decades. Yet basic interpretative questions about the nature of his work remain in dispute. What is the relevance of the later Wittgenstein to the problems with which philosophers have traditionally been concerned¥ Does he redefine the issues about mind and body, language, knowledge, and perception ? Does he ignore these issues, pushing them aside in the construction of an edifying philosophical discourse f Or does he, albeit obscurely, con- !rant the traditional problems in their traditional forms1 Such questions as these range far beyond the interpretation of Wittgenstein . The nature of philosophy itself-always a matter of contentionhas received unusually extensive and unusually able attention in the last few years. Major books by Cavell, Nozick, Rorty, and Putnam are representative of this concern. As conceived and practiced by the contributors to this volume, philosophy is a domain of determinate problems to be confronted. And whatever their differences in the exegesis of Philosophi- 'cai lnvestigwtions 139"'242, they are agreed in finding the text to be Wittgenstein's systematic treatment of certain central, perennial philosophical issues. Steven Holtzmann and Christopher Leich have collected essays originally presented at a colloquium in Oxford in Spring, 1979. Following an introductory piece by the editors, the eight essays are grouped into sections dealing successively with the interpretation of Philosophical Investigations 139-242, the implications of Wittgenstein's arguments in those passages for the possibility of formal semantic theory, the implications of. those arguments for the controversy between cognitivism and non-cognitivism in ethics, and their implications for the philosophy of the social sciences. These seemingly disparate topics are linked by the idea that the apparently piecemeal argumentation of the central problems of Philosophcal Investigations in fact contains "a single underlying set of powerful arguments" (xi-xii) offering general considerations -0n "global issues in metaphysics and epistemology." Thus the book has a two-fold program: first, to present and argue a systematic Wittgensteinian position on rules and rule-following, and, second, to discuss the implications of that systematic view for the topics mentioned. 686 BOOK REVIEWS Arguing in their introductory essay that Wittgenstein displays an inexpungeable anthropocentrism in the notion of objectivity, the editors discuss first, whether Wittgenstein held the "majoritarian '.' view that a. word's meaning is fixed by the consensus of a majority of speakers, and, second, whether his insistence that public practice determines what constitutes a reason for an action or an interpretation lands ethics in cultural relativism. Their contention in each case is " No." In the first instance a rather tortuous argument concludes with the assertion that reading Wittgenstein as holding the "majoritarian" view depends on understanding him to be attempting to refute general scepticism. This they deny, but without elaboration. In the second instance, eager to avoid the "highly conservative implications" (23) of cultural relativism, they attempt to show that Wittgenstein's anthropocentrism offers the possibility -yet to be worked out-of rationality and objectivity in ethics. The first essay in Part One is Gordon Baker's detailed exegesis of Philosophical Investigations 143-242. He acknowledges that portions of this text strike some readers as a " hitherto unknown kind of madness " (58), but argues that it contains Wittgenstein's portrayal of rule-following as the use of instruments of measurement-a needed corrective to the still-prevalent tendency to think of linguistic rules of sublime or transcendently authoritative. So, argues Baker, Wittgenstein clears away a mistaken picture of rule-following in order to show that such activities, though not mechanical or automatic, are yet objective. He resists the notion that Wittgenstein's view disposes of objectivity by explaining it as merely psychological, relative, voluntarist, or behavioristic. Rather, " by eliminating the illusion that anything stands in need of theoretical explanation , it preempts the place occupied by any possible theory of rulefollowing " (58). Replying to Baker, Christopher...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 685-690
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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