Rule-Following and Reflective Judgement
Dr Hanne Appelqvist
May 22nd, 2017
@ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
The Bloomsbury Institute, 50 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3DP
About the Speaker
Hanne Appelqvist is Docent of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Helsinki and a Fellow of the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies. She received her PhD degree from Columbia University in 2007. In her dissertation Wittgenstein and the Conditions of Musical Communication (Acta Philosophical Fennica 85, 2008) she defended a formalist interpretation of Wittgenstein’s remarks on music. Since then, she has worked on Wittgenstein’s ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of language from the viewpoint of the Kantian interpretation of Wittgenstein philosophy. Her work has appeared in journals such as the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, History of Philosophy Quarterly, the British Journal of Aesthetics, and Metaphilosophy. Appelqvist is currently preparing a book manuscript on the relevance of aesthetic judgment for Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language.
According to Wittgenstein, the understanding of language is a normative phenomenon. It is not yet enough that my application of words and sentences conforms to the rules that are constitutive of their uses in our language. If I understand, then my behavior ought to be internally related to the rule so that I can appeal to the rule in justifying my application thereof. However, as Wittgenstein states repeatedly, such justifications given by explicit rule-formulations come to an end. This talk will address the moment of reaching the bedrock that marks the boundary where justifications come to an end, where my grasp of the rules takes a form other than interpretation, where I follow the rule but do so ‘blindly’. It will do this by discussing Wittgenstein’s way of connecting the moment of ‘blind rule-following’ with the understanding of a musical theme. The talk argues that the understanding of music is evoked as an example of a judgment that is normative in spite of resisting conceptual justifications. In this respect, Wittgenstein’s appeal to musical understanding may be seen as relevantly similar to Kant’s appeal to reflective judgment, epitomized by a judgment of beauty, as one that ends the regress of conceptual justifications for the application of conceptual rules to sensible particulars.