This volume showcases contemporary, ground-up ethical essays in the tradition of Wittgenstein's broader philosophy and Wittgenstein-inspired ethical reflection. It takes the ethical relevance of Wittgenstein as a substantial and solid starting point for a broad range of ongoing thinking about contemporary ethical issues. The texts are organised in two sections. The first consists of chapters exploring questions around what could be called the 'grammar' of our moral forms of life, and thus represents a more traditional approach in ethics after Wittgenstein. The second part represents a recent turn in the tradition towards investigating moral conceptions, perspectives and concepts that are undergoing change, either because the world itself is changing (for instance with new technologies) or because human agency, such as social movements, has brought us to reconsider previously unquestioned ideas and structures. Within the book, the authors' contributions are inspired, in their ways of working with ethical questions, by Wittgenstein' conceptions of language, understanding and the nature of philosophical inquiry. This book is of interest to philosophers influenced by Wittgenstein, as well as to all ethicists seeking ideas for how to do philosophy in a manner close to lived experience and practice.
What does it mean for ethics to say, as Wittgenstein did, that philosophy “leaves everything as it is”? Though clearly absorbed with ethical questions throughout his life and work, Wittgenstein's remarks about the subject do not easily lend themselves to summation or theorizing. Although many moral philosophers cite the influence or inspiration of Wittgenstein, there is little agreement about precisely what it means to do ethics in the light of Wittgenstein. Ethics after Wittgenstein brings together an international cohort of leading scholars in the field to address this problem. The chapters advance a conception of philosophical ethics characterized by an attention to detail, meaning and importance which itself makes ethical demands on its practitioners. Working in conversation with literature and film, engaging deeply with anthropology and critical theory, and addressing contemporary problems from racialized sexual violence against women to the Islamic State, these contributors reclaim Wittgenstein's legacy as an indispensable resource for contemporary ethics.
The outstanding features of this book are that it directly confronts the challenge posed by G.E.M. Anscombe in Modern Moral Philosophy of how moral philosophy can be done, it makes a significant contribution to the debate on virtue theory and anti-theory in ethics, and it shows the relevance of such theoretical discussion by grounding it in, and applying it to, contemporary moral issues such as abortion, suicide, and the moral status of animals. No other book currently available covers this ground. The book is aimed primarily at upper-level undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in philosophy, but it should be accessible to anyone with an interest in practical ethics or the philosophy of Wittgenstein.
This book shows that Ludwig Wittgenstein’s later philosophical methods can be fruitfully applied to several problems in contemporary moral philosophy. The author considers Wittgenstein’s ethical views and addresses such topics as meta-ethics, objectivity in ethics and moral perception. Readers will gain an insight into how Wittgenstein thought about philosophical problems and a new way of looking at moral questions. The book consists of three parts. In the first part, Wittgenstein’s later philosophical methods are discussed, including his comparison of philosophical methods to therapies. The book then goes on to explore how these methods give insight into Wittgenstein’s ethical views. Readers will see how these are better understood when read in the light of his later philosophical thought. In the third part, Wittgenstein’s later methods are applied to problems in contemporary moral philosophy, including a look at questions for moral advice. The author reviews and criticizes some of the secondary literature on Wittgenstein’s later philosophical methods and indicates how the topic of the book can be developed in future research. There is something of value for readers of all levels in this insightful and well written volume. It will particularly appeal to scholars and students of Wittgenstein, of philosophy, and of ethics.
Exploring the ethical dimension of Wittgenstein's thought, Iczkovits challenges the view that Wittgenstein had a vision of language and subsequently a vision of ethics, showing how the two are integrated in his philosophical method, and allowing us to reframe traditional problems in moral philosophy considered as external to questions of meaning.
This original and insightful book establishes a reciprocal relationship between Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of ethics and the experience of war. It puts forth an interpretation of Wittgenstein’s early moral philosophy that relates it to the philosopher’s own war experience and applies Wittgenstein’s ethics of silence to analyze the ethical dimension of literary and artistic representations of the Great War. In a compelling book-length essay, the author contends that the emphasis on “unsayability” in Wittgenstein’s concept of ethics is a valuable tool for studying the ethical silences embedded in key cultural works reflecting on the Great War produced by Mary Borden, Ellen N. La Motte, Georges Duhamel, Leonhard Frank, Ernst Friedrich, and Joe Sacco. Exploring their works through the lens of Wittgenstein’s moral philosophy, this book pays particular attention to their suggestion of an ethics of war and peace by indirect means, such as prose poetry, spatial form, collage, symbolism, and expressionism. This cultural study reveals new connections between Wittgenstein’s philosophy, his experience during the First World War, and the cultural artifacts produced in its aftermath. By intertwining ethical reflection and textual analysis, Wittgenstein’s Ethics and Modern Warfare aspires to place Wittgenstein’s moral philosophy at the centre of discussions on war, literature, and the arts.
Wittgenstein’s work, early and later, contains the seeds of an original and important rethinking of moral or ethical thought that has, so far, yet to be fully appreciated. The ten essays in this collection, all specially commissioned for this volume, are united in the claim that Wittgenstein’s thought has much to contribute to our understanding of this fundamental area of philosophy and of our lives. They take up a variety of different perspectives on this aspect of Wittgenstein’s work, and explore the significance of Wittgenstein’s moral thought throughout his work, from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, and Wittgenstein’s startling claim there that there can be no ethical propositions, to the Philosophical Investigations.
The Contradictions of Modern Moral Philosophy is a highly original and radical critique of contemporary moral theory. Paul Johnston demonstrates that much recent moral philosophy is confused about the fundamental issue of whether there are correct moral judgements. He shows that the standard modern approaches to ethics cannot justify - or even make much sense of - traditional moral beliefs. Applied rigorously, these approaches suggest that we should reject ethics as a set of outdated and misguided claims. Rather than facing up to this conclusion, most recent moral philosophy consists of attempts to find some ways of preserving moral beliefs. This places a contradiction at the heart of moral philosophy. As a resilt it is often impossible to tell whether a contemporary philosopher ultimately rejects or endorses the idea of objective right and wrong. On the basis of a Wittgenstein approach Paul Johnston puts forward an alternative account of ethics that avoids this contradiction and recognises that the central issues of ethics cannot be resolved by conceptual analysis. He then uses this account to highlight the contradictions of important contemporary moral theorists such as Bernard Williams, Alasdair MacIntyre, Thomas Nagel and Charles Taylor.
The world we live in is constantly changing. Climate change, transforming gender conceptions, emerging issues of food consumption, novel forms of family life and technological developments are altering central areas of our forms of life. This raises questions of how to cope with and understand the moral changes implicit in such alterations. This volume is the first to address moral change as such. It brings together anthropologists and philosophers to discuss how to study and theorize the change of norms, concepts, emotions, moral frameworks and forms of personhood.
This collection offers an in-depth look at Cora Diamond’s distinctive approach to ethics and its philosophical significance. It comprises a new essay by Cora Diamond on the policing of concepts, followed by ten original chapters by world-class scholars covering conceptual loss, moral theory, the category of the human, the moral consideration of animals, and the meaning of narcissism. Including comparisons to the work of other contemporary moral philosophers such as Martha Nussbaum, Jeff McMahan, Rai Gaita, Eva Kittay, Christine Korsgaard, and Edward Harcourt, the volume also creates interdisciplinary links between Diamond’s work and other fields of study, including psychoanalysis and contemporary ethology. Showcasing the vital importance of Diamond’s contribution to philosophy, this volume is essential reading for scholars working in ethics, philosophy of language and literature.
This book is an investigation into the descriptive task of moral philosophy. Nora Hämäläinen explores the challenge of providing rich and accurate pictures of the moral conditions, values, virtues, and norms under which people live and have lived, along with relevant knowledge about the human animal and human nature. While modern moral philosophy has focused its energies on normative and metaethical theory, the task of describing, uncovering, and inquiring into moral frameworks and moral practices has mainly been left to social scientists and historians. Nora Hämäläinen argues that this division of labour has detrimental consequences for moral philosophy and that a reorientation toward descriptive work is needed in moral philosophy. She traces resources for a descriptive philosophical ethics in the work of four prominent philosophers of the twentieth century: John Dewey, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Michel Foucault, and Charles Taylor, while also calling on thinkers inspired by them.