• Pussycat
    173
    No, they are fundamentally different. There is for Wittgenstein no categorical imperative.Fooloso4

    How are they fundamentally different, since the foundation in the both of them is the will, no?
  • Pussycat
    173
    Thanks, I will watch it when I have some time.
  • Fooloso4
    960


    Kant attempts to develop a moral science. It puts the will on the wrong side of the boundary that Wittgenstein establishes both in terms of where the will is located and what ethics is about.
  • Pussycat
    173
    But for Kant, the foundation of ethics is the will. Just like you say it is for Wittgenstein. So they might be different, but not fundamentally different, is all i'm saying.
  • Fooloso4
    960


    Is there any ethics that is not based on will - on volition or choice?
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Is there any ethics that is not based on will - on volition or choice?Fooloso4

    Utilitarianism?
  • Fooloso4
    960


    Utilitarianism says that one's choice of action and policy should be guided by what promotes the greater good. Although not generally expressed in these terms, one could say that the Utilitarian wills whatever has the greatest utility.
  • Pussycat
    173


    Yes, I was gonna say Utilitarianism. Something like Russell seems to be advocating in the famouse radio debate with father Copleston.

    http://www.scandalon.co.uk/philosophy/cosmological_radio.htm

    R: Well, why does one type of object look yellow and another look blue? I can more or less give an answer to that thanks to the physicists, and as to why I think one sort of thing good and another evil, probably there is an answer of the same sort, but it hasn't been gone into in the same way and I couldn't give it [to] you.

    Here Russell seems to be open to the possibility that ethical matters could be judged just like scientific questions regarding color perception!

    R: The feeling is a little too simplified. You've got to take account of the effects of actions and your feelings toward those effects. You see, you can have an argument about it if you can say that certain sorts of occurrences are the sort you like and certain others the sort you don't like. Then you have to take account of the effects of actions. You can very well say that the effects of the actions of the Commandant of Belsen were painful and unpleasant.

    While here ethical matters are decided according to the effects of our actions: we take into account all possible actions together with all their possible consequences, subtract the unpleasant consequences (NP) from the pleasant (P), sort them by their outcome (P - NP), and pick the action-consequences pairs from the top of the list.

    So in both of these ethical theories, the will is either absent (as in the first), or plays a rather non significant role (as in the second).

    But for Kant the will is the foundation of ethics, all ethics are based on the will. Just like you say it is for W, putting aside questions of where the will is to be found. Do you understand what I am saying?
  • Fooloso4
    960
    While here ethical matters are decided according to the effects of our actions: we take into account all possible actions together with all their possible consequences, subtract the unpleasant consequences (NP) from the pleasant (P), sort them by their outcome (P - NP), and pick the action-consequences pairs from the top of the list.Pussycat

    Why would we do this if we did not will to do or choose what is good or best or just or most fair or most beneficial or least harmful?

    So in both of these ethical theories, the will is either absent (as in the first), or plays a rather non significant role (as in the second).Pussycat

    The will is not absent. All such theories have at their basis the will - the wish or desire or want or motivation to do what is right or good. They differ in how they attempt to determine what that is.
  • Pussycat
    173
    Why would we do this if we did not will to do or choose what is good or best or just or most fair or most beneficial or least harmful?Fooloso4

    For this theory I said that the will plays a non significant role, since ethical matters are judged according to pleasure. So if for example our will is to do action A, but it is judged that its consequences will be most unpleasant, then, in order to be ethical, we would refrain from doing it, and do some other action B instead, that causes less discontent and/or more pleasure, so it is not a matter of/for the will, the will succumbs.

    The will is not absent. All such theories have at their basis the will - the wish or desire or want or motivation to do what is right or good. They differ in how they attempt to determine what that is.Fooloso4

    I said that the will is absent from the first theory, not from both of them. It is absent from the scientific version of ethics since there a person is supposed to be impaired or have an affliction that causes him to act most unethically, or be gifted with something that makes him most ethical. So the will is completely unimportant, just like a color-blind person won't start seeing colors because he wills it so.
  • Fooloso4
    960
    For this theory I said that the will plays a non significant role, since ethical matters are judged according to pleasure.Pussycat

    Since we desire pleasure and avoid pain, and move toward the one and avoid the other, it is a matter of will, of what one wishes to pursue or shun.

    So if for example our will is to do action A, but it is judged that its consequences will be most unpleasant, then, in order to be ethical, we would refrain from doing it, and do some other action B instead, that causes less discontent and/or more pleasure, so it is not a matter of/for the will, the will succumbs.Pussycat

    No, the will to do what causes less discontent and/or more pleasure wins out.

    I said that the will is absent from the first theory, not from both of them. It is absent from the scientific version of ethics since there a person is supposed to be impaired or have an affliction that causes him to act most unethically, or be gifted with something that makes him most ethical. So the will is completely unimportant, just like a color-blind person won't start seeing colors because he wills it so.Pussycat

    By analogy with color blindness, the ethical person will still will or want what is perceived to be good and avoid what is perceived to be bad. Since they are not able to make the distinction correctly, however, their actions may not be ethical.

    The ability to make the distinction correctly, however, does not assure that one will act ethically. Being able to see that 'x' is bad 'y' is good does not mean that one will avoid 'x' and do 'y'.
  • Pussycat
    173
    Since we desire pleasure and avoid pain, and move toward the one and avoid the other, it is a matter of will, of what one wishes to pursue or shun.

    So if for example our will is to do action A, but it is judged that its consequences will be most unpleasant, then, in order to be ethical, we would refrain from doing it, and do some other action B instead, that causes less discontent and/or more pleasure, so it is not a matter of/for the will, the will succumbs.
    — Pussycat

    No, the will to do what causes less discontent and/or more pleasure wins out.
    Fooloso4

    No matter who wins, what is ethical, according to this theory, does not reside in the will itself (good willing does not make it ethical), but is judged by other factors that got nothing to do with the will, any will : via a rigorous analysis of all the actions, consequences and circumstances, the theory says that we can arrive at the most pleasant-giving action of all, which is then defined as the ethical, the most beautiful way to live life. This analysis does not need will, neither its approval, for it to be carried through, to be concluded. Now whether one chooses, desires or wills to act upon the conclusion, is a different matter, there sure the will is queen, but steps behind the king, playing second fiddle.

    By analogy with color blindness, the ethical person will still will or want what is perceived to be good and avoid what is perceived to be bad. Since they are not able to make the distinction correctly, however, their actions may not be ethical.

    The ability to make the distinction correctly, however, does not assure that one will act ethically. Being able to see that 'x' is bad 'y' is good does not mean that one will avoid 'x' and do 'y'.
    Fooloso4

    Basically their actions would be as if we showed a color-blind person colors and told him to identify them. The color-blind person maybe would very much desire to be correct in his color identification, but we already know that it would be a shot in the dark, the result is to be decided only by chance, some lucky coincidence - so to speak. So again here, what is ethical has nothing to do with willing it or not, but is based on a fact, a scientific fact, which as W - to get him back in the game - says:

    6.43 If good or bad willing changes the world, it can only change the
    limits of the world, not the facts; not the things that can be
    expressed in language.

    So science was able to express in language the ethical, just as it was done with color-blindness, and this ethical fact found is unchangeable by will. Moreover, it doesn't matter at all what we will, since it is just statistics, say x% of our actions are going to be ethical, unknowingly.
  • Fooloso4
    960
    This analysis does not need will, neither its approval, for it to be carried through,Pussycat

    Of course it needs the will to be carried through. It needs the will even to attempt to determine what is ethical. Without the will to do good there would be no need for ethics. You are confusing the determination of ethical action and the motivation for ethical action. Even with Kant the good will is not sufficient for determining what is in accord with one's moral duty. This is the point of the categorical imperative.

    which as W - to get him back in the game - says:

    6.43 If good or bad willing changes the world, it can only change the
    limits of the world, not the facts; not the things that can be
    expressed in language.
    Pussycat

    Once again, you have misunderstood Wittgenstein. For W. ethics has nothing to do with what happens in the world. He is quite clear that ethics is not a science. He is also clear that it does have to do with the will. I provided ample evidence of this based on the Tractatus, the Notebooks, and the Lecture on Ethics.You jump from a remark made by Russell to the conclusion that W. held that ethics is a science and has nothing to do with the will, the opposite of what he says.

    If you have not been convinced then there is nothing more that I can say.

    Unless you have something substantive to say based on the Tractatus I think we are done.
  • Wallows
    8.7k


    Fooloso4, can you elaborate on the "will" to do good according to Wittgenstein? I am under the impression that the will to do good is derived from the transcendental self wrt. to the world. Yet, if the self cannot be encapsulated within the bounds of the world, then what can be said about the will?
  • Fooloso4
    960
    R: Well, why does one type of object look yellow and another look blue? I can more or less give an answer to that thanks to the physicists, and as to why I think one sort of thing good and another evil, probably there is an answer of the same sort, but it hasn't been gone into in the same way and I couldn't give it [to] you.

    This is not about a science of ethics, it is about why someone would think one sort of thing good and another evil. It does not follow that the one is good and the other evil.
  • Fooloso4
    960


    Have you read my posts on this? Any answer I give will only be repeating what I have already quoted him saying
  • SapereAude
    19
    Why is Wittgenstein's concept as the world consisting of "facts" not "things" so important. What do you think he means? Are Wittgenstein's "facts" the same as the "ideals" of idealism?

    What is the difference between this logical atomism that Wittgenstein is proposing and the preceding Idealism movement?
  • Fooloso4
    960


    It is the connection of things that is important. Simple objects contain their possibilities for occurring in states of affairs, but we cannot tell from these objects what is actually the case, that is, how the world really is.

    The Tractatus is mind independent. Idealism plays no role. It is objects in logical space that determine all that is.
  • Wallows
    8.7k


    Please be patient as I am slow. Where have you addressed this already?
  • Fooloso4
    960
    Fooloso4, can you elaborate on the "will" to do good according to Wittgenstein? I am under the impression that the will to do good is derived from the transcendental self wrt. to the world. Yet, if the self cannot be encapsulated within the bounds of the world, then what can be said about the will?Wallows



    6.422
    So our question about the consequences of an action must be unimportant.—At least those consequences should not be events. For there must be something right about the question we posed. There must indeed be some kind of ethical reward and ethical punishment, but they must reside in the action itself.
    (And it is also clear that the reward must be something pleasant and the punishment something unpleasant.)

    6.43
    If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can alter only the limits of the world, not the facts—not what can be expressed by means of language.
    In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, so to speak, wax and wane as a whole.
    The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.

    6.43
    If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can alter only the limits of the world, not the facts—not what can be expressed by means of language.
    In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, so to speak, wax and wane as a whole.
    The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.

    6.432
    How things are in the world is a matter of complete indifference for what is higher. God does not reveal himself in the world.


    Being happy means being in agreement with the world (NB 8.7.16)
    Living in agreement with the world is living in accord with one’s conscience, which is the voice of God.

    I am then, so to speak, in agreement with that alien will on which I appear dependent. That is to say: “I am doing the will of God” (NB 8.7.16)
  • Pussycat
    173
    Once again, you have misunderstood Wittgenstein. For W. ethics has nothing to do with what happens in the world. He is quite clear that ethics is not a science. He is also clear that it does have to do with the will. I provided ample evidence of this based on the Tractatus, the Notebooks, and the Lecture on Ethics.You jump from a remark made by Russell to the conclusion that W. held that ethics is a science and has nothing to do with the will, the opposite of what he says.Fooloso4

    No, once again, it is you that have misunderstood me. I quoted W to make an argument for this particular theory that we were discussing, I didn't say nor do I believe what you say next. The question here is: "what would happen to ethics if it was found that ethics is one of the natural sciences?". Of course W in the TLP does not see ethics this way. So you see that it is you that is jumping to conclusions, probably because you are so blinded by your beliefs that you are not even able to hypothesise anything else, but then again your condition does not have anything to do with philosophy, rather as W would say, it is only of interest to psychology.
  • Fooloso4
    960


    The topic is the Tractatus but you jump from W. to Kant because both discuss the will and then to a misrepresentation of Russell in order to show that for him the will plays no part in ethics. Based on that misrepresentation you make a dubious claim about a science of ethics, try to tie it back to the Tractatus, and conclude that there are ethical facts and an ethical science.

    What you fail to see is that for W. the will does not make ethical determinations. The will does not make ethical determinations for Kant either. In addition, however ethical determinations are made, to choose and act ethically does require the will. Simply determining that one should choose or do ‘x’ does not mean one will choose or do it. I might decide that I would benefit more by not doing ‘x’ even if it harms others. The will alone is not sufficient but is necessary if one is to choose and act ethically. Simply following the rules is not enough because one might not follow them when he can go undetected and it is to his advantage to not follow them.

    As to a science of ethics: Russell is not claiming the possibility of a science of ethics but a science of perception - just as the physicist can give an answer to why an object looks yellow or blue, he suggests that there is "probably an answer of the same sort" as to why I think one sort of thing good and another evil. That does not mean that there is a science that determines whether it is good or evil but rather a possible science of moral perception. Moral perception, however, is not moral truth:

    R: I don't like the word "absolute." I don't think there is anything absolute whatever. The moral law, for example, is always changing. At one period in the development of the human race, almost everybody thought cannibalism was a duty. — Copleston Debate

    Your question which for some reason you were not able to previously articulate:

    "what would happen to ethics if it was found that ethics is one of the natural sciences?".Pussycat

    What evidence do you have that such a thing is possible? Where in the world are the facts of meaning and value located? How are they known?

    You seem to have moved without making a clear distinction from challenging my interpretation of the Tractatus to what appears to be an ambiguous challenge to the Tractatus itself. From challenging what I said about the role of the will in the Tractatus to challenging the role of the will in ethics to an assertion of ethical facts to speculation about a science of ethics.

    So again here, what is ethical has nothing to do with willing it or not, but is based on a fact, a scientific fact, which as W - to get him back in the game - says:

    6.43 If good or bad willing changes the world, it can only change the limits of the world, not the facts; not the things that can be expressed in language.

    So science was able to express in language the ethical,
    Pussycat

    There is nothing here that indicates that you have distinguished Wittgenstein’s position from your own claim of a science of ethics. Nothing that indicates that they are not seen by you as one and the same.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Have any of you read, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief?

    I never encountered Wittgenstein's beliefs about human psychology; but, know from my readings that he believed that to answer the question as to what is ethical, one ought to understand how human psychology works.
  • Pussycat
    173
    no i haven't, what does it say?
  • Wallows
    8.7k


    I attached the paper. Hope you enjoy it.
    Attachment
    Wittgenstein, Ludwig - Lectures and Conversations (California, 1967) (7M)
  • Pussycat
    173
    :) this is not what I meant by what does it say, but ok, I will have a look.
  • Pussycat
    173
    The topic is the Tractatus but you jump from W. to Kant because both discuss the will and then to a misrepresentation of Russell in order to show that for him the will plays no part in ethics. Based on that misrepresentation you make a dubious claim about a science of ethics, try to tie it back to the Tractatus, and conclude that there are ethical facts and an ethical science.Fooloso4

    Yes, the topic is the Tractatus, but we got sidetracked discussing this question: "is the will fundamental in all ethical theories?". All my previous comments had to do with that. Wallows, first, mentioned utilitarianism, but he didn't expand further, so I decided to say a few things. And then I remembered the debate that Russell had with Copleston, and since Russell had a close relationship with Wittgenstein, I thought it would be pertinent to throw Russell into the discussion. As for Kant, some of the things that Wittgenstein said in the Tractatus, I think that they are directed towards him, so Kant is important here as well. Now, as it seems, I might have misrepresented Russell, however I did not say that for him the will plays no part in ethics, nor did I try to tie anything back to the Tractatus - my comments had nothing to do with the Tractatus but with the question above standalone - or make any conclusions. I just took his two possible ethical theories to help me with whether the will is fundamental in ethics.

    What you fail to see is that for W. the will does not make ethical determinations. The will does not make ethical determinations for Kant either. In addition, however ethical determinations are made, to choose and act ethically does require the will. Simply determining that one should choose or do ‘x’ does not mean one will choose or do it. I might decide that I would benefit more by not doing ‘x’ even if it harms others. The will alone is not sufficient but is necessary if one is to choose and act ethically. Simply following the rules is not enough because one might not follow them when he can go undetected and it is to his advantage to not follow them.Fooloso4

    Well, this is what I've been saying all along, that the will is not making ethical determinations, at least in the ethical theories above, and this I see as "the will not being fundamental in ethics", as in those theories we could have - in principle - a computer program determine what is ethical. Because the question was not whether the will plays some role in ethics, but whether it is fundamental. And I see the ethical determinations as being fundamental. You, on the other hand, see the will fundamental no matter what. So I guess we are both right and wrong, depending on how one looks at it. But I think for Kant, the will is inseparable from ethical determinations and actions both, they are somehow intertwined, I mean if you separate them, then you end up with something that is not Kant.

    As to a science of ethics: Russell is not claiming the possibility of a science of ethics but a science of perception - just as the physicist can give an answer to why an object looks yellow or blue, he suggests that there is "probably an answer of the same sort" as to why I think one sort of thing good and another evil. That does not mean that there is a science that determines whether it is good or evil but rather a possible science of moral perception. Moral perception, however, is not moral truth:Fooloso4

    Yes, you are right.

    Your question which for some reason you were not able to previously articulate:Fooloso4

    I didn't articulate it because I thought we were on the same page, apparently not.

    What evidence do you have that such a thing is possible? Where in the world are the facts of meaning and value located? How are they known?Fooloso4

    This depends on how one defines/formulates ethics. For example, if ethics is defined to be "the will to do good", then the question above whether "the will is fundamental in ethics" is obviously ridiculous and absurd. It's like someone would come with a good disposition and ask: "come here fellas and let us ponder upon this question, no bias, no strings attached, to find out whether blue is truly a colour". And the others would say, of course: "what the heck are you talking about? how can blue not be a colour? the colour blue is obviously a colour! what sort of question is this? are you stupid or something??!". But if ethics, as Wittgenstein says in the lecture, is defined to be the general enquiry into what is good (taken from Moore), or the enquiry into what is valuable, or what is really important, or the enquiry into the meaning of life, or into what makes life worth living, or into the right way of living, then the will may in fact not be fundamental, or be trivial or even redundant.

    Now I am going to use the term Ethics in a slightly wider sense, in a sense in fact which includes what I believe to be the most essential part of what is generally called Aesthetics. — W

    If Aesthetics is the inquiry into what is beautiful, then we can define Ethics similarly as the inquiry into what is a beautiful life, making thus Ethics part of Aesthetics, defining it in terms of beauty that is, and then there would only be beauty to investigate to get a glimpse of them both.

    You seem to have moved without making a clear distinction from challenging my interpretation of the Tractatus to what appears to be an ambiguous challenge to the Tractatus itself. From challenging what I said about the role of the will in the Tractatus to challenging the role of the will in ethics to an assertion of ethical facts to speculation about a science of ethics.
    ..
    There is nothing here that indicates that you have distinguished Wittgenstein’s position from your own claim of a science of ethics. Nothing that indicates that they are not seen by you as one and the same.
    Fooloso4

    Well maybe I wasn't clear, it doesn't matter anyway. But I think that just as you misunderstood me here, you also misunderstood what W was trying to say in the Tractatus, in propositions 6.42 to 6.43: it is not his own opinions on ethics that he is presenting there, but those of conventional ethics, as they have been traditionally discussed. Basically I see that he is trying to put everything where it belongs: traditional ethics as the "will to do good" does not belong to philosophy but to psychology, this is an insinuation to Kant who discusses the will quite a bit. Also proposition 4.1121:

    4.1121 Psychology is no nearer related to philosophy, than is any other natural science.
    The theory of knowledge is the philosophy of psychology.
    Does not my study of sign-language correspond to the study of thought processes which philosophers held to be so essential to the philosophy of logic? Only they got entangled for the most part in unessential psychological investigations, and there is an analogous danger for my method.
    — W

    These unessential psychological investigations point to Kant and his categorical imperative, Kant is not doing philosophy there but psychology.

    6.423 Of the will as the bearer of the ethical we cannot speak. And the will as a phenomenon is only of interest to psychology. — W

    Philosophy cannot speak of ethics where the will is present, but psychology can. And if we formulate ethics such as we could philosophically speak of it, then it will not do for us what we always tried to make it do, just like the soul (This shows that there is no such thing as the soul—the subject, etc.—as it is conceived in contemporary superficial psychology. A composite soul would not be a soul any longer):

    6.4312 The temporal immortality of the soul of man, that is to say, its
    eternal survival also after death, is not only in no way guaranteed,
    but this assumption in the first place will not do for us
    what we always tried to make it do. Is a riddle solved by the
    fact that I survive for ever? Is this eternal life not as enigmatic
    as our present one? The solution of the riddle of life in space
    and time lies outside space and time.
    — W

    On the other hand, he finds that solipsism does actually belong to philosophy, because it has sense: "The I in solipsism shrinks to an extensionless point and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it. There is therefore really a sense in which in philosophy we can talk of a non-psychological I". Which is why solipsism occupied him for the rest of his life.

    Scepticism, however, does not have any sense at all, and is therefore excluded from philosophical investigations:

    6.51 Scepticism is not irrefutable, but palpably senseless, if it would
    doubt where a question cannot be asked.
    For doubt can only exist where there is a question; a question
    only where there is an answer, and this only where something
    can be said.
    — W

    --------

    This is more or less it, what goes where. I wish I were in a better mood and state to express myself clearer, but I am pretty much tired, surely there is a lot I forgot and neglected to mention to tie things up. But life, if it could be expressed into a proposition, it would most probably be a funny one.

  • Fooloso4
    960
    but we got sidetracked discussing this question: "is the will fundamental in all ethical theories?".Pussycat

    My question to you was:

    Is there any ethics that is not based on will - on volition or choice?Fooloso4

    Ethics is not a theory of ethics, just as music is not a theory of music. The failure to make that distinction results in a failure to understand what Wittgenstein means by ethics. The comparison with music was deliberate because in the Tractatus he links ethics/aesthetics. Someone who has never heard music will not come to understand it via a theory of music.

    As for Kant, some of the things that Wittgenstein said in the Tractatus, I think that they are directed towards him, so Kant is important here as well.Pussycat

    Yes, but not in the way you claimed. You asked:

    How are they fundamentally different, since the foundation in the both of them is the will, no?Pussycat

    This followed your claim:

    I would say it's 100% percent KantPussycat

    The will is fundamental for all ethics in so far as we intend to do what is right or good. When we ask how that is to be accomplished Kant and Wittgenstein part ways. Kant thinks there is a moral science, Wittgenstein rejects this. That does not make it "100% percent Kant".

    But if ethics, as Wittgenstein says in the lecture, is defined to be the general enquiry into what is good (taken from Moore), or the enquiry into what is valuable, or what is really important, or the enquiry into the meaning of life, or into what makes life worth living, or into the right way of living, then the will may in fact not be fundamental, or be trivial or even redundant.Pussycat

    So, which is it? Is the will fundamental or not? The basis of your confusion seems to be, once again, the failure to distinguish between ethics and a theory of ethics.

    If Aesthetics is the inquiry into what is beautiful, then we can define Ethics similarly as the inquiry into what is a beautiful life, making thus Ethics part of Aesthetics, defining it in terms of beauty that is, and then there would only be beauty to investigate to get a glimpse of them both.Pussycat

    This should be seen in light of the saying/showing distinction. What answers the inquiry is not something that can be said but something that becomes manifest, something experienced. It is not a matter of defining one in terms of the other. It is not a matter of defining it at all.

    ... you also misunderstood what W was trying to say in the Tractatus, in propositions 6.42 to 6.43: it is not his own opinions on ethics that he is presenting there, but those of conventional ethics, as they have been traditionally discussed.Pussycat

    Are you claiming that when he says:

    6.42:
    So too it is impossible for there to be propositions of ethics.
    Propositions can express nothing that is higher.
    6.421:
    It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words.
    Ethics is transcendental.
    (Ethics and aesthetics are one and the
    same.)

    that this is ethics as it has traditionally been discussed? Where? By whom?
    And where does the conventional opinion say:

    6.43
    If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can alter only the limits of the
    world, not the facts—not what can be expressed by means of language.
    In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, so to
    speak, wax and wane as a whole.
    The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.

    On the contrary, it is the conventional view that says ethical action has an affect in the world.


    If this is not Wittgenstein's view then what is his view?

    These unessential psychological investigations point to Kant and his categorical imperative, Kant is not doing philosophy there but psychology.Pussycat

    The moral law for Kant was not grounded in psychology and did not appeal to psychology. It is determined a priori by reason.

    Philosophy cannot speak of ethics where the will is present, but psychology can. And if we formulate ethics such as we could philosophically speak of it, then it will not do for us what we always tried to make it do ...Pussycat

    Philosophy, according to Wittgenstein, sets the boundaries of what can be thought and said. Ethics is on the side of that boundary that cannot be said or thought. Ethics is transcendental. It is not about theories or propositions or formulations, but rather the life of the "happy man"; life as he knows it via his own experience of the good exercise of his will.


    Scepticism, however, does not have any sense at all, and is therefore excluded from philosophical investigations:Pussycat

    As late as "On Certainty" skepticism remained central to his investigations. We need to distinguish between two forms of skepticism: 1) knowledge of ignorance and human limits, 2) radical doubt. Wittgenstein accepts the first and rejects the second.
  • Pussycat
    173
    Ethics is not a theory of ethics, just as music is not a theory of music. The failure to make that distinction results in a failure to understand what Wittgenstein means by ethics. The comparison with music was deliberate because in the Tractatus he links ethics/aesthetics. Someone who has never heard music will not come to understand it via a theory of music.Fooloso4

    Yes, which I translated to "is the will fundamental in all ethical theories?". Your disagreement is with theory? Or with fundamental? I guess with the first. But I lost you there, what do you mean by ethics is not a theory of ethics? We have something, say X, and to be able to understand it and say a few things about it, we build a theory of X around it. How does this lead to misunderstanding? And when W says something about the musical score in the Tractatus, he does so to link the musical form to the pictorial form, and go from there to the logical form that governs everything in the world. I don't think that this has anything to do with ethics or aesthetics per se.

    The will is fundamental for all ethics in so far as we intend to do what is right or good. When we ask how that is to be accomplished Kant and Wittgenstein part ways. Kant thinks there is a moral science, Wittgenstein rejects this. That does not make it "100% percent Kant".Fooloso4

    Well yes, I exaggerated a *bit*, it's true.

    So, which is it? Is the will fundamental or not? The basis of your confusion seems to be, once again, the failure to distinguish between ethics and a theory of ethics.Fooloso4

    It's whatever one chooses I guess. I just copied here what W says in the lecture:

    Now instead of saying "Ethics is the enquiry into what is good" I could have said Ethics is the enquiry into what is valuable, or, into what is really important, or I could have said Ethics is the enquiry into the meaning of life, or into what makes life worth living, or into the right way of living. I believe if you look at all these phrases you will get a rough idea as to what it is that Ethics is concerned with. — W

    This should be seen in light of the saying/showing distinction. What answers the inquiry is not something that can be said but something that becomes manifest, something experienced. It is not a matter of defining one in terms of the other. It is not a matter of defining it at all.Fooloso4

    There it is again this talk of "experience"... I think that the main reason you misunderstand the Tractatus is because you are primarily concerned with ethics. The saying/showing distinction in the Tractatus has to do with the logical form: this form is the one that cannot be talked about, but only shown. For example, according to W, we cannot say what time is, but only show it.

    Are you claiming that when he says:Fooloso4

    "Transcendental" is so Kant, isn't it?

    But I was referring to the part you so cleverly omitted:

    6.422 The first thought in setting up an ethical law of the form “thou
    shalt . . . ” is: And what if I do not do it. But it is clear that
    ethics has nothing to do with punishment and reward in the
    ordinary sense. This question as to the consequences of an action
    must therefore be irrelevant. At least these consequences will not
    be events. For there must be something right in that formulation
    of the question. There must be some sort of ethical reward and
    ethical punishment, but this must lie in the action itself.

    (And this is clear also that the reward must be something
    acceptable, and the punishment something unacceptable.)

    This I say is the traditional view of ethics, that reward coincides with something acceptable and happiness, which also coincides with good willing, in contrast to punishment and something unacceptable and bad willing.

    The conclusion for Wittgenstein, as I see it, is this: if ethics is something that can be expressed in language, then it will not do for us what we always tried to make it do, but will become quite another. On the other hand, if ethics cannot be expressed in language, then we should remain silent about ethical matters. Thus, you can't have it both ways, one must choose between these two ifs. You can't have your cake, and eat it too.

    The moral law for Kant was not grounded in psychology and did not appeal to psychology. It is determined a priori by reason.Fooloso4

    I am certain that for Kant it appeared so, but according to Wittgenstein, the categorical imperative is purely psychological.

    Philosophy, according to Wittgenstein, sets the boundaries of what can be thought and said. Ethics is on the side of that boundary that cannot be said or thought. Ethics is transcendental. It is not about theories or propositions or formulations, but rather the life of the "happy man"; life as he knows it via his own experience of the good exercise of his will.Fooloso4

    Surely for Wittgenstein, ethics cannot be expressed in language, in this we agree. However I don't see anywhere in the Tractatus him saying that ethics is about "the life of the "happy man"; life as he knows it via his own experience of the good exercise of his will". This is just you, speculating.

    As late as "On Certainty" skepticism remained central to his investigations. We need to distinguish between two forms of skepticism: 1) knowledge of ignorance and human limits, 2) radical doubt. Wittgenstein accepts the first and rejects the second.Fooloso4

    Yes right, this form of scepticism that doubts where a question cannot be asked.
  • Fooloso4
    960
    Yes, which I translated to "is the will fundamental in all ethical theories?".Pussycat

    You translated what into the question of whether the will is fundamental to all ethical theories? It should be clear that Wittgenstein did not have an ethical theory.

    Your disagreement is with theory? Or with fundamental? I guess with the first. But I lost you therePussycat

    You certainly did!

    what do you mean by ethics is not a theory of ethics?Pussycat

    A theory is not the thing it is a theory of. A theory of music is not music, it is about music. There can be no theory of ethics for Wittgenstein because ethics is transcendental.

    We have something, say X, and to be able to understand it and say a few things about it, we build a theory of X around it.Pussycat

    The X in question is ethics. Ethics is not a state of affairs, that is, a matter of fact. Propositions that have a sense are limited to matters of fact. This is basic to Wittgenstein. An understanding of ethics is experiential.

    And when W says something about the musical score in the Tractatus, he does so to link the musical form to the pictorial form, and go from there to the logical form that governs everything in the world. I don't think that this has anything to do with ethics or aesthetics per se.Pussycat

    A theory of music has to do with its form. It is not the form of music that is aesthetic, it is the sound, the experience, how one is moved.

    It's whatever one chooses I guess.Pussycat

    Wittgenstein did not "choose" first one and then the other.

    I just copied here what W says in the lecture:Pussycat

    Taking something out of context can misrepresent it. Here is how he ends the lecture:

    This running against the walls of our cage is perfectly, absolutely hopeless. Ethics so far as it springs from the desire to say something about the ultimate meaning of life, the absolute good, the absolute valuable, can be no science. What it says does not add to our knowledge in any sense. But it is a document of a tendency in the human mind which I personally cannot help respecting deeply and I would not for my life ridicule it. — Lecture on Ethics

    The lecture is consonant with the Tractatus. The will is fundamental. An inquiry into what is good or valuable or the meaning of life is not something that yields a propositional answer. That is why he appeals to experience.

    And I will make my point still more acute by saying 'It is the paradox that an experience, a fact, should seem to have supernatural value.' — Lecture on Ethics

    There it is again this talk of "experience"...Pussycat

    Yes.

    I think that the main reason you misunderstand the Tractatus is because you are primarily concerned with ethics.Pussycat

    I assume you cannot see the irony of this! Ethics is of central importance to the Tractatus. That you cannot see this is a serious blind spot.

    "Transcendental" is so Kant, isn't it?Pussycat

    It is a term that Kant used, and Wittgenstein follows his use of the term. The key is that they do not identify the same things as transcendental. I discussed this in an earlier post.

    This I say is the traditional view of ethics, that reward coincides with something acceptable and happiness, which also coincides with good willing, in contrast to punishment and something unacceptable and bad willing.Pussycat

    He does accept the notion of reward and punishment. Only it is not to be found in anything in the world. As you quoted:

    For there must be something right in that formulation of the question. There must be some sort of ethical reward and ethical punishment, but this must lie in the action itself.

    On the other hand, if ethics cannot be expressed in language, then we should remain silent about ethical matters.Pussycat

    And this is why he says:

    6.54
    My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them
    as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak
    throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
    He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.
    — Tractatus

    Seeing the world rightly, this is not something he was trying to say, it is what he was trying to show.

    However I don't see anywhere in the Tractatus him saying that ethics is about "the life of the "happy man";Pussycat

    You really should check the text before saying such things:

    6.43

    If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can alter only the limits of the world, not the facts—not what can be expressed by means of language.

    In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, so to speak, wax and wane as a whole.

    The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.
    — Tractatus

    I quoted this passage and discussed this in an earlier post. In addition, I added statements from the Notebooks.
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