The Asymmetry of Truth and the Role of Thinking Guides in Ethics

Kuusela, Oskari ORCID: (2019) The Asymmetry of Truth and the Role of Thinking Guides in Ethics. In: Morality in A Realistic Spirit. Routledge, pp. 157-175. ISBN 9781138479968

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In her recent work Cora Diamond discusses, with reference to Elizabeth Anscombe, David Wiggins, Bernard Williams, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, the logical function of propositions which, although they state something true, lack an intelligible negation, and are asymmetrical in this sense. An example from Wiggins is “Slavery is unjust and unsupportable,” the negation of which, he argues, can’t be part of any “workable system of moral ideas.” Diamond develops an account of such propositions as “thinking guides” whose purpose is to enable one to think well and, taking her lead from Aristotle and Anscombe, proposes an account of the truth and correspondence with reality of such statements. Although I agree with Diamond’s account in many respects, I argue that her way of explaining truth as correspondence and connecting this with usefulness and importance can’t give us a workable account of truth. Instead, I propose to explain what it is for thinking guides to be true with the help of Wittgenstein’s distinction between temporal and non-temporal statements. Furthermore, I use this distinction to address a problem with Wiggins’s account of truth and objectivity in ethics, and to argue that Williams’s argument against Wiggins on objectivity fails. Equipped with Wittgenstein’s distinction we can steer clear of ethical relativism.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethics,truth,cora diamond,wittgenstein,non-temporality
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Wittgenstein
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2017 06:09
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 10:40
DOI: 10.4324/9781351064309-10

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