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The Enchantment of WordsWittgenstein's “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus”$
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Denis McManus

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199288021

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288021.001.0001

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Ethics and ‘the Inexpressible’

Ethics and ‘the Inexpressible’

(p.175) 13 Ethics and ‘the Inexpressible’
The Enchantment of Words

Denis McManus (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents evidence that suggests that ideas of decency and conscience play a part in Wittgenstein’s obscure early remarks about the ethical and its supposed ‘inexpressibility’. An initial reading is offered, which gives a way of making sense of some of these remarks and identifies parallels with themes in the philosophy of logic that Wittgenstein seemed to have seen as parallel. However, the following chapter will argue that the inexpressible form of ‘ethical knowledge’ that the initial reading seems to reveal is actually a rung on a ‘ladder’ that is to be ‘climbed’ and then ‘thrown away’.

Keywords:   conscience, decency, ethics, the inexpressible, logic, say/show distinction, will

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