‘What Is Ethical Cannot be Taught’ – Understanding Moral Theories as Descriptions of Moral Grammar”

In Reshef Agam-Segal & Edmund Dain (eds.), Wittgenstein’s Moral Thought. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 175-199 (2018)

Authors
Anne-Marie Soendergaard Christensen
University of Southern Denmark
Abstract
Traditionally, the development of moral theories has been considered one of the main aims of moral philosophy. In contrast, Wittgenstein was very critical of the use of theories both in philosophy in general and in moral philosophy in particular, and philosophers inspired by his philosophy have become some of the most prominent critics of both particular, contemporary moral theories and the idea of moral theory as such. Nonetheless, this article aims to show how Wittgenstein’s later philosophy offers us resources for a revised understanding of the role and status of moral theories according to which theories are neither normative nor explanatory, but are rather to be understood as generalisations of particular descriptions of various forms of moral grammar.
Keywords Wittgenstein  ethical theory  moral grammar
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