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Rule-Following and Rule-Breaking: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein

Watts, Daniel (2017) 'Rule-Following and Rule-Breaking: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein.' European Journal of Philosophy, 25 (4). pp. 1159-1185. ISSN 0966-8373

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My aim in this paper is twofold: to establish that Kierkegaard's so‐called theory of the leap strongly anticipates a line of argument that is central to Wittgenstein's so‐called rule‐following considerations; and to begin to show how Kierkegaard's work has fruitful contributions of its own to make to on‐going discussions about rules and rule‐following. The paper focuses throughout on the question of how, if at all, human rule‐following can be distinguished from behaviour that is merely mechanical or instinctual. I identify a central line of argument in Wittgenstein that problematizes this question by establishing the basis our ability to follow rules in our spontaneous responses. I argue that Kierkegaard not only strongly anticipates this line of argument but also offers a distinctive story about what, at bottom, makes the difference between human rule‐following and behaviour that is merely mechanical or instinctual. In a word, on Kierkegaard's story, what makes the difference is: anxiety.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 11:56
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:45

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