Wittgenstein on Moral Philosophy
Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at 2:50PM
Sean Wilson in The Club, The Flexible Constitution, Wittgenstein, conference, moral philosophy

This looks interesting. The way they have framed the issue looks very good. The question is whether the idea of connoisseurship will even enter the picture at all (as it should). The book I am working on now will expand upon this idea. Why do I already suspect that the conference won't mention either my work or its contribution? I doubt the answer has anything to do with cynicism and everything to do with the nature of academic "clubs."

Update on Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 3:19PM by Registered CommenterSean Wilson

Here is my point. Now who is it that made parallels with Dworkin and Wittgenstein on the matter of aesthetics (and morality) in the first place? Has anyone else done that? That was supposed to be heretical, because Dworkin comes at moral reasoning from the wrong cabbage patch and because he disliked Wittgensteinians. From the conference:

Vasso Kindi and Stelios Virvidakis (University of Athens)

Wittgenstein on ‘living well’. Achieving a ‘wonderful’ ethical performance

In Justice for Hedgehogs, Ronald Dworkin emphasizes the importance of  the distinction between ‘performance’ value and ‘product’ value which he draws in order to elucidate his conception of ‘living well’. An object may have product value because of its qualities but it has performance value because it is the result of an act of creation. A work of art, according to Dworkin, is wonderful because ‘it is the upshot of a wonderful performance’. Performance value is retained even if the performance is ephemeral or the product destroyed. According to Dworkin, the normative significance of ‘living well’ is substantially different from that of simply ‘having a good life’, insofar as the former involves conformity to ethical and moral principles expressing dignity and self-respect, which, following  Dworkin’s  Kantian account, entails respect for others.  What is noteworthy is the performative quasi-aesthetic aspect of the ideal of living well, which could be compared to Wittgenstein’s idea that ethics and aesthetics are one (6.421) (but also to the Aristotelian notion of ‘eupraxia’).  We would like to explore possible analogies between Dworkin’s approach and Wittgenstein’s understanding of ethics, with a view to developing a new construal of the latter’s remarks concerning the ethical dimension in theNotebooks, in the Tractatus, in the ‘Lecture on Ethics’, as well as in the notes published in  Culture and Value. Although Dworkin in Justice for Hedgehogs tries to develop a complex and elaborate philosophical theory of what living well is like, and in that sense he may be way apart from Wittgenstein’s antitheoretical stance and Wittgenstein’s understanding of ethics as a matter of attitude, one can still find analogies, similarities and common concerns despite differences. For instance, both Dworkin and Wittgenstein detach ethics from the realm of facts and would not consider that the value of life has anything to do with the impact it has on what is going on in the world. Rather, the value of life resides in its performance, i.e., in the art of living well. Value for both is not conditioned upon anything external to it. The moral realm according to Dworkin is independent and self-sustained so to speak while in Wittgenstein  the world of the happy or the unhappy man ‘waxes and wanes as a whole’ (TLP 6.43). We would also like to consider the analogy between Dworkin’s discussion of what makes a life wonderful and Wittgenstein’s last words that he had had a wonderful life.

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