Philosophical Topics 42 (1):1-11 (2014)

Edmund Dain
Providence College
This paper is about what might be called the philosophical tradition of ethics, and Wittgenstein’s opposition or hostility to that tradition. My aim will be to argue that ethics, or a large part of what we think of as ethics, is nonsense, and in doing so I shall be developing the line of argument that I take to lie behind Wittgenstein’s claim in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that there can be no ethical propositions. That argument has its basis in the simple thought that value is not arbitrary or accidental, and what I shall show is how thinking through what is involved in that thought leads to a radically different conception of the possibilities open to ethical thinking than that which is assumed within the prevailing conception of ethics today.
Keywords Wittgenstein  Ethics  Eliminativism
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Reprint years 2014
ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI 10.5840/philtopics201442217
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