Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

How to Understand Rule-Constituted Kinds

Date: 23 October 2019

Time: 15:00

Place: Seminari de Filosofia UB


The paper distinguishes between two conceptions of kinds defined by constitutive rules, the one suggested by Searle, and the one invoked by Williamson to define assertion. Against recent arguments to the contrary by Maitra, Johnson and others, it argues for the superiority of the latter as an account of games. On this basis, the paper argues that the alleged disanalogies between real games and language games suggested in the literature in fact don’t exist. The paper relies on Rawls’s distinction between types (“blueprints”, as Rawls called them) of practices and institutions defined by constitutive rules, and those among them that are actually in force, and hence truly normative; it defends along Rawlsian lines the plurality of norms applying to actual instances of rule-constituted practices, and uses this fact to counter the plausible examples that Maitra, Johnson and others provide to sustain their case.