In Chad Engelland (ed.), Language and Phenomenology. Routledge. pp. 74-91 (2021)

Jacob Rump
Creighton University
The paper presents a phenomenological approach to recent debates in the philosophy of language about rule-following and the normativity of meaning, a debate that can be traced to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations but that was given new life with Saul Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Taking a cue from Hannah Ginsborg’s recent work on “primitive normativity,” I use some of Husserl’s own comments about meaning and the status of rules to sketch a solution to Kripke’s rule-following paradox by appealing to a kind of normativity at the level of perception and intersubjective embodiment. This level of normativity arises, like Ginsborg’s, via a primitive kind of judgment that does not presuppose linguistic or conceptual mastery. Unlike for Ginsborg, however, for Husserl this level should still be understood in terms of meaning—just not in the standard linguistic or conceptual senses prominent in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition in which the rule-following debates have occurred. My interpretation thus also demonstrates how Husserl’s account bypasses certain presuppositions about meaning common in the period of the linguistic turn—presuppositions also questioned, in different ways, by Wittgenstein, by Kripke, and by Ginsborg.
Keywords rule-following  normativity  Wittgenstein  Kripkenstein  Husserl
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