Ethics and Private Language

Sibel Oktar


Wittgenstein’s concern in ethics is not to find the answer to ‘How ought I to
act?’ Nevertheless ‘conduct’ appears to be the major interest in Wittgenstein’s
conception of ethics. In Tractatus (TLP) he takes conduct to be attitude,
whereas in the Philosophical Investigations (PI) he construes it as practice.
His picture theory of language in TLP that language provides a picture of
reality in correlating words with objects (entities) is replaced with the view
of ostensive definition in PI. Wittgenstein allows ostensive definitions to be
seen as possible language games among others and avoids the idea that names are
correlated to objects. In this presentation we will investigate the
presupposition that we need the existence of others to have discourse on ethics
through the notion of ‘private language’.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; ethics; private language; inexpressibility of ethics; pain behaviour

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