Normativity and Ethics in the Tractatus: Method, Self and Value

Chon Tejedor, Mark Bevir (Editor), Andrius Galisanka (Editor)

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In this paper, I examine Wittgenstein’s earlier treatment of the relation between normativity and ethics. I argue that Wittgenstein’s philosophical method shapes his approach to metaphysics and the self and this, in turn, shapes his approach to ethics. The paper is divided into three parts. In Part 1, I examine Wittgenstein’s philosophical method in the Tractatus. In Part 2, I argue that exposure to the views of Schopenhauer, Russell and Mach shapes the evolution of Wittgenstein’s thinking on the self, leading him to reject restrictive (metaphysical) solipsism and to endorse a non-restrictive (philosophical) notion of the subject. In Part 3, I bring out the intimate connection that exists between Wittgenstein’s approaches to philosophical method, the self and ethics in the Tractatus. I argue that, for Wittgenstein, dissolving restrictive solipsism is ethically transforming: this dissolution retunes our dispositions to think and speak in a manner that reflects a greater clarity in our understanding of our place in the world – a clarity of understanding that is, in and of itself, ethically valuable.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWittgenstein and Normative Inquiry
EditorsMark Bevir, Andrius Galisanka
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)978-9004324107
ISBN (Print)978-9004324091
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameStudies in Moral Philosophy


  • Wittgenstein
  • Tractatus
  • Logic
  • Science
  • Ethics


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