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Wittgensteinian ethics

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L114-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

Although the strict ‘fact-value distinction’ of Wittgenstein’s early period has shaped much subsequent work on ethics, his most profound influence on the subject stems from the later Philosophical Investigations and associated writings. Of particular significance have been, first, the concept of a ‘language game’, and second, the discussion of following a rule. The vision of morality itself as a language game – a complex of speech and action ordered in a way that makes sense to the participants – has seemed to diminish the urgency of traditional questions about the ‘foundations’ of ethics, and has promoted acceptance of moral experience and consciousness as natural (human) phenomena. More recently there has been a growing interest in how Wittgenstein’s general reflections on rule-governed practices might apply to the specific case of moral understanding.

Citing this article:
Lovibond, Sabina. Wittgensteinian ethics, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L114-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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