Wittgenstein’s philosophical achievement lies in the development of a new philosophical method rather than in the elaboration of a particular philosophical system. Dr Paul Johnston applies this innovative method to the central problems of moral philosophy: whether there can be ‘truth’ in ethics, or what the meaning of objectivity might mean in the context of moral deliberation.
Wittgenstein and Moral Philosophy, first published in 1989, represents the first serious and rigorous attempt to apply Wittgenstein’s method to ethics. The conclusions arrived at differ radically from those dominating contemporary ethical discussion, revealing an immense discrepancy between the ethical concepts employed in everyday moral decision-making and the way in which these are discussed by philosophers.
Dr Johnston examines ways of eliminating this discrepancy in order to gain a clearer picture of the proper nature of moral claims, and at the same time provides new insights into Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and Ethics 2. Misunderstanding Human Action (I) 3. Misunderstanding Human Action (II) 4. The Ineffability of Value 5. Ethics and Human Action 6. Ethics: A Distinctive Reaction 7. Truth, Relativism, and Objectivity 8. Reasons and the Will; Conclusion; Appendix: ethics and society; Notes; Abbreviations and bibliography