David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophia 41 (2):477-487 (2013)
In his article, “Wittgenstein and Basic Moral Certainty,” Nigel Pleasants argues that killing an innocent, non-threatening person is wrong. It is, he argues, “a basic moral certainty.” He believes our basic moral certainties play the “same kind of foundational role as [our] basic empirical certaint[ies] do.” I believe this is mistaken. There is not “simply one kind of foundational role” that certainty plays. While I think Pleasants is right to affiliate his proposition with a Wittgensteinian form of certainty, he exposes himself to a tension that exists in On Certainty regarding how we acquire it: is certainty natural, is it social? In this paper, I present two ways in which we come to possess certainty: a bottom-up approach, where certainty is part of our instinctual predisposition, and a top-down approach, where certainty is acquired through positive reinforcement by family and culture
|Keywords||Bottom-up Top-down Certainty Basic moral Wittgenstein|
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References found in this work BETA
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1969/1991). On Certainty (Ed. Anscombe and von Wright). Harper Torchbooks.
Edward O. Wilson, Arthur L. Caplan, Daniel G. Freedman & Michael Ruse (1982). On Human Nature. Ethics 92 (2):327-340.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1980). Culture and Value. University of Chicago Press.
Peter Singer (1981/1983). The Expanding Circle: Ethics and Sociobiology. Oxford University Press.
Margrit Shildrick (1999). Humanity a Moral History of the Twentieth Century. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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