Wittgenstein and basic moral certainty

Philosophia 37 (4):669-679 (2009)
In On Certainty, Wittgenstein’s reflections bring into view the phenomenon of basic certainty. He explores this phenomenon mostly in relation to our certainty with regard to empirical states of affairs. Drawing on these seminal observations and reflections, I extend the inquiry into what I call “basic moral certainty”, arguing that the latter plays the same kind of foundational role in our moral practices and judgements as basic empirical certainty does in our epistemic practices and judgements. I illustrate the nature and significance of basic moral certainty via critical examination of contemporary philosophical “explanations” of the wrongness of killing. These pseudo explanations, as I show them to be, will be seen to founder in a similar manner to Moore’s “Proof” of an external world, that is, in a manner that discloses the phenomenon of basic (moral) certainty.
Keywords Wittgenstein  Basic certainty  Badness of death  Wrongness of killing
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-009-9198-0
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References found in this work BETA
Don Marquis (1989). Why Abortion is Immoral. Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):183-202.
Kai Draper (1999). Disappointment, Sadness, and Death. Philosophical Review 108 (3):387-414.

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