Wittgenstein: From Ethics to Blind Rule-Following and Back Again

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Ewa Nowak


The paper discusses Wittgenstein’s approaches to ethics within two contrastive contexts, e.g., pragmatism and cooperative-discursive normative practice. The first section revisits the fiasco of his early “negative” ethics. The second section subsequently shows how Wittgenstein’s mature concept of blind rule-following displaces normativity but simultaneously becomes the key predictor for discourse ethics (or, rather, a specific kind of it). The final section discusses the pros and cons of finitism in the light of contemporary philosophy of mind. As a conclusion, the author provides evidence for her hypothesis that there is no normative (embodied) mind without a manifest normative competence, which includes moral judgment and discursive competence.


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Nowak, E. (2019). Wittgenstein: From Ethics to Blind Rule-Following and Back Again. ETHICS IN PROGRESS, 9(2), 131-161. https://doi.org/10.14746/eip.2018.2.10
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Author Biography

Ewa Nowak, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

Ewa Nowak - Professor and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Dept. of Philosophy, AMU of Poznan, Poland, was formerly (2008/10) visiting professor at the University of Konstanz (Germany) and the University of Bern (Switzerland). She authored and coedited several books including Educating Competencies for Democracy (2013, with B. Zizek and D. Schrader), Kohlberg Revisited (2015, with B. Zizek and D. Garz), and Experimental Ethics (2013). Her research area encompasses ethics, moral and legal philosophy.

Contact: ewanowak@amu.edu.pl


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