R. W. Beardsmore: Understanding Moral Judgement

John Whittaker


If we distinguish between Wittgenstein’s substantive moral views, expressed in his early Lecture on Ethics, and his more discriminating grammatical ap-proach to logical issues that we find in the later works, we can say that R. W. Beardsmore tried to bring this latter way of doing philosophy to ethics. One might even say that he tried to give ethics something like a Wittgensteinian moral epistemology. That would be misleading if it were thought to imply an-ything like a theoretical system for making moral discoveries or resolving moral problems. But if epistemological work includes conceptual clarity about the distinctions that we commonly observe when we are making moral judgements – but which we often forget when we reflect analytically on what we are doing – then it can be said that Beardsmore brought some epistemo-logical light to the dark subject of moral judgement.


20th century philosophy; Beardsmore Richard W.; Moral Reasoning; Swansea school; Wittgenstein Ludwig; ethic; gratitude; moral commitment; moral judgement; obligation; philosophy

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