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180131 KU Rules and Rule-Following (2021S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 30 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 11.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 18.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 25.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 15.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 22.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 29.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 06.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 20.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 27.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 10.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 17.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 24.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Due to Covid-19-related restrictions, this lecture course has to take place online. If things change later in the semester we might switch to in-class teaching. The weekly lectures will place via video-conference.

In this course we will examine the nature of rules and rule-following. In the first part we will study what rules are, how they differ from mere regularities and conventions and how they govern differing spheres of human activity from everyday social interactions to law. We will also pay special attention to constitutive rules and how they constitute activities like playing games, speaking languages, and performing speech acts like assertion. In the second part of the course we will relate this work to a range of puzzles arising from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule-following, Saul Kripke’s interpretation of it, and responses to both.

Assessment and permitted materials

· First: midterm essay, deadline: TBD, 40%
· Second: final essay, deadline: TBD, 60%

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements: regular attendance, completion of all assessments
Assessment criteria: the overall grade will be a weighted average of the two partial grades: mid-term paper (40%), final essay (60%).

Examination topics

The essay will be on a topic derived from the first part of the course, the second can be either a substantial development of the first or an entirely new essay on a topic from the second part.

Reading list

Some of the readings below are required, some are recommended, see syllabus for more info.

Brennan, Eriksson, Goodman, Southwood, Explaining Norms, Ch. 1-2
Kaplan “Attitude and Social Rules”
Southwood & Eriksson “Norms and Conventions”
Southwood “The Moral/Conventional Distinction”
Kaplan “Attitude and the Normativity of Law”
Southwood “Laws as Conventional Norms”
Berman “Of Law and Other Artificial Normative Systems”
Searle “Rules”, Speech Acts, Ch. 2.5
Reiland “Constitutive Rules”
Suits “What is a Game?”
Ridge “Individuating Games”
Suits, The Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia
Stenius “Mood and Language-Game”
Reiland “Meaningfulness, Conventions, and Rules”
Lewis “Languages and Language”
Thomasson, Norms and Necessity, Ch. 2-3
Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations #138-242
Bridges “Meaning and Understanding”
Fogelin, Taking Wittgenstein at His Word, Ch. 1
Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language
Boghossian “The Rule-Following Considerations”
Ginsborg “Primitive Normativity and Skepticism About Rules”
Miller “Rule-Following, Primitive Normativity, and Meaning”
Boghossian “Blind Rule-Following”
Miller “Blind Rule-Following and the ‘Antinomy of Pure Reason’”
Wright “Rule-Following without Reasons”
Boghossian “Epistemic Rules”
Boghossian “What is Inference?”

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 05.03.2021 13:08