Ethics as a Primary Form of Linguistic Inquiry

Yaniv Iczkovits

Abstract



“Traditional” commentaries about the Tractatus perceive
Wittgenstein’s work on language to display a philosophical theory on the
relation between language and world as constituting the possibility of meaning.
In this sense, we can find a similar attitude towards the ethics of the
Trac-tatus, that is, we can reach a correct perspective from which to view the
world rightly and still preserve the idea that this attitude cannot be
formulated in meaningful sen-tences. Hence, “traditional” commentaries will
usually take the approach of trying to figure out what it is that Wittgen-stein
is really trying to say but cannot, because it cannot be meaningfully uttered. –
Other commentaries have created what has become known as the “austere”
reading.

In this view, Wittgenstein’s philosophy, from beginning to end, is animated by an
anti-metaphysical vigor, which prohibits any possibility of an external
viewpoint on lan-guage. In other words, it is not that what is seen from a
transcendent perspective cannot be put into words and is instead shown through
language; rather, the mere possibil-ity of such transcendence is a fantasy. Seen
in this light, Wittgenstein’s remarks on ethics are part of the overall
disorientation that the Tractatus wants us to see as a whole. If there is any
ethical guidance, it is not to be found in the text, that is, in its content,
but rather, in its unique form and procedure.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; ethics without morality; transcendence and ordinary; moral judgment; form of life; ethics; expression of form of life; objectivity

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