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The paper deals with the interpretation of Wittgenstein's views on the power of occurrent mental states to sort objects or states of affairs as in accord or in conflict with them, as presented in the rule-following passages of the Philosophical Investigations. I shall argue first that the readings advanced by Saul Kripke and John McDowell fail to provide a satisfactory construal of Wittgenstein's treatment of a platonist account of this phenomenon, according to which the sorting power of occurrent mental states is to be explained by reference to the mind's ability to grasp universals. I contend that the argument that Kripke extracts from Wittgenstein's discussion doesn’t succeed in undermining the platonist position. Then I argue that McDowell's reading exhibits a more serious shortcoming: the position that he ascribes to Wittgenstein is indistinguishable from the platonist account. Then I put forward a proposal as to how to articulate the relationship between Wittgenstein's views and the platonist position.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-09-01

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