Natalia Waights Hickman (Oxford): Two Avatars of the Tortoise: Rule-Following and the Novelty Objection to Intellectualism

Two Avatars of the Tortoise: Rule-Following and the Novelty Objection to Intellectualism


This paper investigates the relationship between the Wittgensteinian rule-following problem and the ‘novelty objection’ to intellectualist views of knowledge-how, offering a different vantage point from which to assess the ongoing debate. I focus on two similarities: a parallel puzzle about how standing knowledge is connected with appropriate or successful action in a potential infinity of novel cases; and a parallel regress affecting that connection. I consider competing ways of understanding these parallels, indicating how they connect with wider philosophical and exegetical commitments, and I defend an interpretation that favours intellectualism. By highlighting its continuity with the rule-following-problem, I wish to show that the novelty challenge is not a challenge for intellectualism at all, but on the contrary for the metaphysics of intentionality that the anti-intellectualist relies upon. Thus Rylean proponents of the novelty objection are hoist by their own petard.

Preceded by a pre-talk for graduate students, from 1:30-3PM in the Benjamin Library, and followed by drinks at Badger&Co, and then dinner. Please sign up for dinner on the Thursday Seminar Dinner signup sheet, which can be found

3:30-5:30PM, Thursday, 28 March 2019

Coombs Extension, Lecture Hall 1.04

No events are currently scheduled. Details of future events will be posted as they become available.

Date & time

Thu 28 Mar 2019, 3:30pm to 5:30pm


Coombs Ext Rm 1.04


Natalia Waights Hickman (Oxford)

Event series


School of Philosophy


Updated:  28 March 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications