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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 10, 2008

Ethics

Dmitry Ivanov
Pages 199-205
DOI: 10.5840/wcp22200810987

Wittgensteinean Philosophy as Foundation of Moral Phenomenology

To explain evaluation we need to take into account the perspective of an evaluator, we need to turn to phenomenological approach in moral theory. This is the approach proposed by John McDowell. According to him, we need to approach to the question ‘How to live right?’ via the concept of a virtuous person. To lend support to his views McDowell employs Wittgensteinean philosophy that could be a good basis for establishing moral phenomenology as a metaethical approach to moral phenomena. First of all, introducing the notion of language-game we can provide a metaethical explanation of moral terms referring to roles they play in certain language-games. From this point of view there is no difference between moral terms and other terms. But understanding a language-game not just as a model of a certain kind of behavior formed by external observer, but as a form of life we can capture moral phenomena form within. The language-game considered as the form of life allows us to discern certain phenomena as moral ones. That is why trying to answer the question about right living from the virtuous person perspective we should be involved in a language game that carves moral phenomena from the brute stuff of the world and forms a certain kind of sensitivity in us to these properties. Wittgensteinean philosophy also allows us to answer the question: how can mere knowledge of situation make us behave? Following Wittgensteinean ideas, we can present moral knowledge as something uncodifiable, which is exhibited in our everyday life, in our way of living and ‘going on doing the same thing’. It is impossible to understand this knowledge from the external point of view. To see how this knowledge can motivate someone, we need to capture the way the person appreciates a particular situation.

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