, Volume 190, Issue 5, pp 871–890 | Cite as

Rule-following as coordination: a game-theoretic approach

  • Giacomo SillariEmail author


Famously, Kripke has argued that the central portion of the Philosophical Investigations describes both a skeptical paradox and its skeptical solution. Solving the paradox involves the element of the community, which determines correctness conditions for rule-following behavior. What do such conditions precisely consist of? Is it accurate to say that there is no fact to the matter of rule following? How are the correctness conditions sustained in the community? My answers to these questions revolve around the idea (cf. P.I. §§198, 199) that a rule is followed insofar as a convention is in place. In particular, I consider the game-theoretic definition of convention offered by David Lewis and I show that it illuminates essential aspects of the communitarian understanding of rule-following.

Make the following experiment: say “It’s cold here” and mean “It’s warm here”. Can you do it?

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 1953, §510.

I can’t say “it’s cold here” and mean “it’s warm here”—at least, not without a little help from my friends.

David Lewis, Convention.


Coordination Rule-following Convention Wittgenstein David Lewis Common knowledge 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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