"Le fils" and the limits of philosophical ethicsSubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism
Date of this Version1-1-2016
Document TypeJournal Article
AbstractExtract: Introduction: This paper is a study in contrasts. In the first part, I describe one prominent set of approaches to representing the ethical; those of analytic philosophy and the experimental moral psychology inspired by it. I argue that what is missing in this approach is a perspicuous representation of the ethical. The term "perspicuous representation" is drawn from the work of Wittgenstein, where it means a way of representing phenomena that reveals the inner connections between their parts or aspects and makes apparent their meaning for us. Arriving at perspicuous representations is fundamental to Wittgenstein's interpretative/philosophical methodology. In Philosophical Investigations he says, "The concept of a perspicuous representation is of fundamental significance for us. It earmarks die form of account we give, the way we look at things" (122). I use the term in a slightly broader way than this. I take it to indicate a kind of achievement: the Wittgensteinian achievement of elucidating the inner connections between aspects of a thing, but also a representation that captures some of its richness, complexity and ambiguity. The opposite of a perspicuous representation is a partial sketch that oversimplifies the phenomenon represented and gives unwarranted prominence to certain aspects of it over other equally, if not more, important aspects.
Citation InformationDamian Cox. ""Le fils" and the limits of philosophical ethics" SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism Vol. 45 Iss. 3 (2016) p. 84 - 97 ISSN: 0049-2426
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/damian_cox/34/