Blind Rule-Following and the Regress of Motivations

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (6):1170-1183 (2023)
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Normativists about belief hold that belief formation is essentially rule- or norm-guided. On this view, certain norms are constitutive of or essential to belief in such a way that no mental state not guided by those norms counts as a belief, properly construed. In recent influential work, Kathrin Glüer and Åsa Wikforss develop novel arguments against normativism. According to their regress of motivations argument, not all belief formation can be rule- or norm-guided, on pain of a vicious infinite regress. I argue that the regress of motivations argument is unsuccessful: an appeal to the notion of blind rule-following, drawn from a plausible interpretation of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s remarks on rule-following, stops the regress of motivations in its tracks.

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Zachary Swindlehurst
Australian National University


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