Rule-following as Coordination: A Game-theoretic Approach

Giacomo Sillari

Abstract



I argue that the notion of rule-following can be reduced to the notion of equilibrium
in a coordination game. The communitarian solution to the Kripkean skeptical paradox
hinges on the ideas of convention and normativity. Lewis’s account of convention as a
solution to recurrent coordination games contains the game-theoretic, strategic element that—I claim—is crucial for the skeptical
solution. Moreover, the game-theoretic analysis indicates a possible origin for the
normativity of rule-following. Can the reduction proceed any further? Lewis’s account
of convention relies on the idea that players coordinate by identifying successful
precedent as the salient action. I argue that reliance on
precedent is to be understood in terms of Wittgenstein’s notions of bedrock and form of life. Finally, I argue that the
game-theoretic analysis stops at bedrock and that attempts to
further reduce the phenomenon of rule-following lie beyond its scope.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; rule-following; convention; coordination; game theory; common knowledge

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