|dc.description.abstract||The question of whether the concept of a rule-follower presupposes more than a single individual came into prominence in the wake of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s considerations on rule-following, found primarily in his Philosophical Investigations (1953). Since then, a debate on the substantive side of the question (in addition to an exegetical one) has been waged between three sides, namely individualists, communitarians, and quietists. Briefly, individualists claim that the concept of a rule-follower does not presuppose more than one individual, while communitarians contend that it does so presuppose, and finally quietists argue that there is no determinate answer to the question.
This thesis is an attempt to work towards resolving the debate on the substantive question by examining the arguments proposed by these three sides and deciding which of them is the most tenable. The individualist arguments I contend with include those from A. J. Ayer, G. P. Baker and P. M. S. Hacker, Simon Blackburn, John Canfield, Grant Gillett, and Jussi Haukioja. The communitarian arguments evaluated here include those from Donald Davidson, Norman Malcolm, John McDowell, Rush Rhees, Claudine Verheggen, Meredith Williams, and Saul Kripke’s Wittgenstein. Finally, I also examine the arguments of the proponents of quietism, namely Edward Minar and Martin Gustafsson.
I argue that the proponents of all three sides of the debate have thus far failed to present convincing cases for their claims. Individualists have largely neglected to take their opponents’ arguments into account and so risk begging the question against them, the arguments of the communitarians lack crucial justification, and the quietists’ attempts at undermining either side rely on misconceptions of the debate itself. However, the work done here in considering all these arguments enables us to see that individualism emerges as the most tenable position to hold in the end.||