Wider possibilities for moral thought -- Objectivity revisited: a lesson from the work of J.L. Austin -- Ethics, inheriting from Wittgenstein -- Moral thought beyond moral judgment: the case of literature -- Reclaiming moral judgment: the case of feminist thought -- Moralism as a central moral problem.
This text offers major re-evaluation of Wittgenstein's thinking. It is a collection of essays that presents a significantly different portrait of Wittgenstein. The essays clarify Wittgenstein's modes of philosophical criticism and shed light on the relation between his thought and different philosophical traditions and areas of human concern. With essays by Stanley Cavell, James Conant, Cora Diamond, Peter Winch and Hilary Putnam, we see the emergence of a new way of understanding Wittgenstein's thought. This is a controversial collection, with essays (...) by highly regarded Wittgenstein scholars that may change the way we look at Wittgenstein's body of work. (shrink)
This article aims to shed light on some core challenges of liberating social criticism. Its centerpiece is an intuitively attractive account of the nature and difficulty of critical social thought that nevertheless goes missing in many philosophical conversations about critique. This omission at bottom reflects the fact that the account presupposes a philosophically contentious conception of rationality. Yet the relevant conception of rationality does in fact inform influential philosophical treatments of social criticism, including, very prominently, a left Hegelian strand of (...) thinking within contemporary Critical Theory. Moreover, it is possible to mount a defense of the conception by reconstructing, if with various qualifications and additions, an argument from classic—i.e., mid twentieth-century—Anglo-American philosophy of the social sciences, in particular, the argument that forms the backbone of Peter Winch’s _The Idea of a Social Science_. Winch draws his guiding insights from the later philosophy of Wittgenstein, and one of the payoffs of considering Winch’s Wittgenstein-inspired work against the backdrop of Hegel-inspired work in Critical Theory is to contest the artificial professional strictures that are sometimes taken to speak against reaching across the so-called ‘Continental Divide’ in philosophy. The larger payoff is advancing, by means of this philosophically ecumenical approach, the enterprise of liberating social thought. (shrink)
This article offers a critique of moral individualism. I introduce the topic of moral individualism by discussing how its characteristic assumptions play an organizing role in contemporary conversations about how animals should be treated. I counter that moral individualism fails to do justice not only to our ethical relationships with animals but also to our ethical relationships with human beings. My main argument draws on elements of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy of psychology, and in presenting the argument I address the case (...) of human beings before returning to the case of animals. Given that moral individualists frequently defend what I call the ethical view of animals, i.e., the view that animals are in themselves proper objects of ethical concern, it is worth stressing that it is no part ofmy project to undermine this view. On the contrary, the critique of moral individualism I develop makes available a better understanding of what is right about the idea that animals as such merit certain forms of respect and attention. (shrink)
This article is a contribution to discussions about the prospects for a viable conceptualism, i.e., a viable view that represents our modes of awareness as conceptual all the way down. The article challenges the assumption, made by friends as well as foes of conceptualism, that a conceptualist stance necessarily commits us to denying animals minds. Its main argument starts from the conceptualist doctrine defended in the writings of John McDowell. Although critics are wrong to represent McDowell as implying that animals (...) are mindless brutes, it is difficult to see what is wrong with this critical unless we depart from McDowell's technical terminology and introduce a notion of a concept flexible enough to apply to the lives of some non-rational animals. The article closes with a discussion of observations that speak for attributing concepts, flexibly understood, to dogs. (shrink)
This article aims to disrupt received views about the significance of J. L. Austin's contribution to philosophy of language. Its focus is Austin's 1955 lectures How To Do Things With Words . Commentators on the lectures in both philosophical and literary-theoretical circles, despite conspicuous differences, tend to agree in attributing to Austin an assumption about the relation between literal meaning and truth, which is in fact his central critical target. The goal of the article is to correct this misunderstanding and (...) to show that Austin is deeply critical of a picture of correspondence between language and the world which nearly half a century after he delivered his lectures continues to structure philosophical discussions of language. (shrink)
The aims of this paper are twofold: (i) to bring out how Cora Diamond's essays on ethics represent a shift in perspective when considered against the backdrop of dominant trends in contemporary moral philosophy and thereby (ii) to shed light on and indicate strategies for combating sources of philosophical resistance to her ethical project.
Alongside Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam and Jacques Derrida, Stanley Cavell is arguably one of the best-known philosophers in the world. In this state-of-the-art collection, Alice Crary explores the work of this original and interesting figure who has already been the subject of a number of books, conferences and Phd theses. A philosopher whose work encompasses a broad range of interests, such as Wittgenstein, scepticism in philosophy, the philosophy of art and film, Shakespeare, and philosophy of mind and language, Cavell has (...) also written much about Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Including contributions from Hilary Putnam, Cora Diamond, Jim Conant and Stephen Mulhall, this book is a must-have for libraries and students alike. (shrink)
A core philosophical use of the term “objectivity” is to talk about a central metaphysical ideal. The term is employed to pick out aspects of the world that are there in the sense that any thinker who fails to register them can be said to be missing something. If we speak in this connection of a guiding concept of objectivity, we can ask what can be said about the nature of the things that fall under it. We might then speak (...) in this further connection of different possible conceptions of objectivity. Today, thought about objectivity is dominated by a conception on which objectivity is taken to have as its hallmark the exclusion of everything subjective. Starting from a description of the relevant conception of objectivity, this chapter criticizes the kinds of considerations most commonly adduced in the conception’s favor. Along the way, the chapter uses passages from the later philosophy of Wittgenstein as its main reference points. A notable virtue of this method is that it sheds light on the transformative significance of Wittgenstein’s thought for how we construe the concept of objectivity. (shrink)
This paper examines some recent trends in feminist epistemology. It argues that theories that make a priori claims to the effect that the structure of our body of knowledge must encode a masculine bias are both philosophically problematic and politically counterproductive, and it recommends a feminist methodology free from such general theoretical claims as best suited for the promotion of productive feminist thought and action.