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Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language: An Elementary Exposition Revised ed. Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674954014
ISBN-10: 0674954017
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Editorial Reviews

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Saul Kripke has thought uncommonly hard about the central argument of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and produced an uncommonly clear and vivid account of that argument...set out with all the clarity, incisiveness and economy that one expects of its author. (Times Literary Supplement)

Kripke's interpretation, and his arguments, deserve--and will repay--extremely careful attention. (Philosophical Books)

Review

"Saul Kripke has thought uncommonly hard about the central argument of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and produces an uncommonly clear and vivid account of that argument ... clearly and compellingly presented ... an exemplary piece of exposition." Times Literary Supplement

"A detailed examination of what is clearly a central theme in Wittgenstein's writings." Times Higher Education Supplement

"Kripke does bring a whole range of things into focus in a striking and provocative way ... What Kripke has achieved, I think, is the first successful translation of what Wittgenstein was saying into the idiom of the contemporary Anglo-American mainstream in philosophy ... full of excellent things." Australasian Journal of Philosophy --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Revised ed. edition (1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674954017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674954014
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Like all of Kripke's work, this book makes a wildly original contribution to the subject, and like all of his work, it is pure pleasure to read. Kripke's writing is the perfect mixture of lucidity and profundity. In the book, Kripke interprets the central theme of Wittgenstein's work as an examination of what it means to follow a rule, and Kripke explores this train of thought and examines the consequences. This leads to a new form of skepticism, of which Wittgenstein's private language argument is a consequence.
Although Kripke's interpretation seems to have fallen out of favor in many circles, this book is still a classic. Regardless of whether you agree with Kripke's conclusions, this book will make you think deeply.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Originally published in 1982, Saul Kripke's Rules and Private Language has become a classic in contemporary analytic philosophy and probably the most notable (if contentious) analysis of Wittgenstein's later work.

As noted by Kripke himself, the work is more an elaboration of Kripke's thoughts in reaction to the Philosophical Investigations, than a truly dedicated attempt to uncover Wittgenstein's perspective. In large part as a result of this bold approach, Kripke comments have become both extremely well known and controversial. Readers unfamiliar (or rusty) with Kripke may find the pertinent chapters in Scott Soames' excellent Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 2: The Age of Meaning helpful in preparing for this text.

Overall, I recommend this book to readers of analytic philosophy - it is a relatively quick and enjoyable read. Familiarity with the Philosophical Investigations, however, is likely a prerequisite to understanding and appreciating this text.
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Format: Paperback
Intro/Background:
Kripke opens up this work with something important to say: This book is the culmination of his first reading of Wittgenstein's P.I. and how "it struck to me". Therefore, Kripke doesn't hold any of these views anymore.
Summary:
In this book he acts like an attorney in a court room defending a possible interpretation of the "Wittgensteinian paradox". The paradox, briefly summed up, is the question of whether a past rule determines future usage in a new (set of) problem(s). Another sub-problem is whether the result of a function was the intention of the person who commands/uses the function.
The first essay deals with answering the constant questioning by a sceptic that Kripke thinks up. The essay goes down all sorts of various and different pathways. (Kripke takes and examines the "dispositional theory" of intention for example.)
Kripke ends somewhere in the second essay with claiming something like: A private language or privately followed rule (in a new way) cannot be followed individually because it has to be agreed upon in the community. Some of Kripke's argument against private language resides in ressurectioning David Hume's argument against a private causation.
The argument against individual intention contra another's intention rest on the resonance with the community again. If one person follows one rule, and another person follows some other rule, and if the answers differ, then the correct answer to problem will be the one that is agreed upon. (Kripke doesn't take up the argument against people that are following different rules but arrive at the same answer.)
That completes the first two essays. The postscript is interesting but tackles a different issue: The certainty of other minds being like ours.
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A great addition to the modern philosophical literature. Clear exposition of W's paradox about rule following, epistemology, psychology. If you're thinking about buying this, you probably already know this is heady, but subtle stuff and difficult to assimilate to a comfort level at which you can actually "use" the concepts without getting really tripped up. I've probably read five or six other commentaries or exegeses of the Philosophical Investigations, each of which added a little. In light of the difficulty of the material I especially liked Kripke's occasional comments to the effect that he's not sure he's got it quite right, or that he's repeating himself in a little different way just because he's not totally sure he understands it, which is probably what most normal people experience with this amazing branch of philosophy. A little modesty goes a long way. I would suggest some companion pieces for the non-genius level reader that aim at similar points, namely, Ryle's Concept of MInd and Strawson's Individuals and especially the essay Persons. Oddly enough, since the work borders on psychology, another great approach to these matters is Schafer's "A New Language for Psychoanalysis" in which the metapsychological problems with "ordinary" concepts like "self" and the like are raked over until they are clear. None of this is advanced philosophy but it's well beyond most psychology. I don't know ANYTHING about Kripke otherwise, but this is real nice little book.
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