Anscombe's Moral Epistemology and the Relevance of Wittgenstein's Anti-Scepticism

Enrahonar: Quaderns de Filosofía 64 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Elizabeth Anscombe is well-known for her insistence that there are absolutely prohibited actions, though she is somewhat obscure about why this is so. Nonetheless, I contend in this paper that Anscombe is more concerned with the epistemology of absolute prohibitions, and that her thought on connatural moral knowledge - which resembles moral intuition - is key to understanding her thought on moral prohibitions. I shall identify key features of Anscombe's moral epistemology before turning to investigate its sources, examining the roots of connaturality in Aquinas and comparing it with rationalist ethical intuitionism, which Anscombe differs from in rejecting "good" as a simple, non-natural property. I then develop a two-stage argument about absolute prohibition: The first will be loosely Thomistic, while the second will suggest how Anscombe's absolute prohibitions can be seen as a continuation of Wittgenstein's anti-scepticism in On Certainty. I develop an account of absolute prohibitions as a form of Wittgensteinian hinge proposition - they are not the conclusions of deductive arguments, but the foundations for intelligibility in action.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,389

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Virtue, Rule-Following, and Absolute Prohibitions.Jeremy Reid - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (1):78-97.
Revisiting Modern Moral Philosophy.Jennifer A. Frey - 2020 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 87:61-83.
Moral Absolutes and Neo-Aristotelian Ethical Naturalism.David McPherson - 2020 - In Michiel Meijer & Herbert De Vriese (eds.), The Philosophy of Reenchantment. Routledge.
Anscombe and Wittgenstein.Elisa Grimi - 2020 - Enrahonar. An International Journal of Theoretical and Practical Reason 64:165-179.
Anscombe Reading Aristotle.Susana Cadilha - 2020 - Enrahonar: Quaderns de Filosofía 64.
Modern Moral Philosophy.Anthony O'Hear (ed.) - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Understanding 'Practical Knowledge'.John Schwenkler - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
Modern Moral Philosophy.Anthony O'Hear (ed.) - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Anscombe’s Intention: A Guide.John Schwenkler - 2019 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
Winch and Anscombe on Ethics and Religion.Howard Mounce - 2011 - Philosophical Investigations 34 (3):241-248.


Added to PP

16 (#662,230)

6 months
5 (#143,633)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael Wee
Durham University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

On Certainty (Ed. Anscombe and von Wright).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1969 - New York and London: Harper Torchbooks.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Language, Truth, and Logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong.Fred Feldman & J. L. Mackie - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (1):134.

View all 18 references / Add more references