On the possibility of wittgensteinian language of ethics

Oktar, Sibel
In this study, the standpoint that discourse on ethics is impossible is examined. As Ludwig Wittgenstein is the first philosopher who explicitly said that ethics is inexpressible, the main concentration is on Wittgenstein’s conception of ethics. Analytic philosophy’s questions regarding ethics are about the meaning of the expressions of value rather than conduct. It is generally recognized that the distinction between these questions and the emphasis on the definition of value judgements starts with G.E. Moore’s Principia Ethica (PE). So G.E. Moore is included in the scope of this study. Wittgenstein’s manifestation of the inexpressibility of metaphysical and ethical utterances influenced logical positivists. Hence, it is necessary that our scope should also include the Logical Positivist’s two main meta-ethical theories, i.e., the emotive theory of ethics and naturalistic ethics. Wittgenstein’s conception of ethics in his early and later periods are examined separately. This is because it is generally believed that his later works could provide a means of saying what “cannot be said” for early Wittgenstein. It is concluded that the conception of a language-game reflects well how we may have a discourse on ethics.


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Citation Formats
S. Oktar, “On the possibility of wittgensteinian language of ethics,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2008.