This thesis is to propose a genetic account of rule-following problem.
First, I would argue that the traditional view of meaning identifying meaning as entity is problematic. Wittgenstein's the rule-following paradox reveals that the possible regularities between a linguistic expression and the expressed object are infinite. Since we cannot determine which possibility is the correct one, none of the regularities to be used to fix the meaning of that expression. If those co-existing regularities are the case, the paradox would occur when they are incompatible to one another. Moreover, the traditional view cannot appeal to meaning fact to determine which regularity is the correct one, because the normativity in the language use cannot be explained by meaning fact, as Kripke has argued.
Kripke’s meaning skepticism does not simply refuse the role of meaning fact. He also positively points out that the linguistic rules are not a kind of normativity independent of language use, but the practical rules generated from interactions between an agent and a community. However, I will argue that it is not appropriate to appeal to social agreement to explain normativity, because even if it may be possible for a community to be a part of objective limitations in the practical circumstance, the community is not a necessary part of them. When we shift the rule-following problem from interpretation to practice, we also need to consider that different practical circumstances will shape different kinds of practical rules. Therefore, I will develop Wittgenstein’s ‘forms of life’, and propose a ‘genetic account’ of rule-following problem. Further, I will argue that the establishment of practical rules is primarily relative to the situated objective limitations, and whether these limitations include communal factors or not is a derivative problem. Although Kripke’s account coincides with the actual social property of our language use, this is not because of the success of his account, but because of the actual context of language use having community to be a part of its objective limitations. When we consider different possibilities for the forms of life, we will find that Wittgenstein’s forms of life promise us a more liberal way to discuss the problem of following a rule, and we should not confine our focus on the numbers of person, just as the debates between individualism and communalism.
Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Saul Kripke, rule-following, forms of life, genetic account