Ethics and the Will: Essays by Friedrich Waismann
By Friedrich Waismann
The contribution made via the Vienna Circle to ethics and the philosophy of motion is more and more being well-known. the following formerly unpublished items via Moritz Schlick and his student Josef Schächter set the scene, exhibiting how ethics isn't really depending on metaphysics yet does require a sensitivity to strata of language except that of technological know-how. Schächter (author of Prolegomena to aCritical Grammar, additionally within the VCC, and now doyen of academic philosophers in Israel) additional develops this moral subject matter in a too little identified research of pessimistic dicta that he released in 1938. He succeeds (without ever assenting to it) in giving experience to the concept that it have been greater for a guy by no means to were born.
the majority of the e-book is dedicated to 2 works by means of Friedrich Waismann, most likely written now not lengthy after his emigration to England, additionally in 1938. There are a paper on ethics and technology, which defends the Wittgensteinian view that morality is anything one can't guard, yet simply profess, and (itself greater than part the amount) a treatise on will and cause, the place the impact of Wittgenstein is mediated via that of Ryle and the place many issues in sleek thought of motion are expected with the author's ordinary sensitivity either to language and to the complexity of the human state of affairs. (Joachim Schulte lately edited those works within the unique German, differently they've got remained unpublished).
This useful addition to the VCC should still light up either the historical past of the Circle and the type of mirrored image on language and motion which dominates the sensible philosophy of our personal day.
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35 36 FRIEDRICH WAISMANN For whatever reason, the religious world gradually broke up, and this is when the problem of ethics first emerged. As long as men believed in the naive sense, they saw no problem in ethics. Socrates, the first great moral philosopher of world history, was a contemporary of the sophists. Between him and the great philosophers of the seventh and sixth centuries, an important event had occurred in Greek intellectual history: the death of traditional religious belief, at least among the educated.
Some of the needs at the origin of ethics are also present in other living beings. As the presence of memories, wishes and goals in human consciousness has given rise in language to the categories of the past and the future, so the different positions of influential and uninfluential people, males and females, etc. in human society have led to moral categories. The moral meaning of an action is a kind of average value of the reactions of people of a certain milieu to that action, and it is thus like the meaning of a sentence which, when regarded under this social aspect, is the average value of the ways it is used; in logic, as in ethics, we are dealing with the average value of the uses and actions of certain individuals of a certain group.
But is the difference in valuation smaller? The law of contradiction plays a big part in logic. But the same is true of ethics. A person who wants to introduce order into his thinking must not affirm and deny the same thing at the same time. And if he wants to conduct himself in an orderly fashion, he must make sure that his conduct is free from contradiction. Being true to oneself is an ethical as well as a logical criterion. Not every use of signs is accepted into the logic of language. In popular speech double negation is used to strengthen negation.