This chapter develops a Wittgenstein-inspired idea of moral theories as descriptions of particular forms of moral grammar. In opening, Wittgenstein’s critique of philosophical theories is presented and tied to two contemporary forms of criticism raised against moral theory, leading to the suggestion that our current understanding of moral theory can be revised along Wittgensteinian lines by seeing moral theories as descriptive. However, the main suggestion of the article is inspired by Wittgenstein’s notion of grammar as a tool in philosophical elucidation, and two different ways of interpreting this notion are considered. The first interpretation is used to develop a conception of moral theories as descriptions of morally relevant uses of language, moral grammars, but as this conception does not fully meet the challenges that we face in moral philosophy, this leads to the suggestion, inspired by the second interpretation, that such general descriptions of grammar should be supplemented with grammatical investigations of particular moral problems. In closing, the question of the relation between the developed view of moral philosophy and Wittgenstein’s view of philosophy is investigated.
|Title of host publication||Wittgenstein’s Moral Thought|
|Editors||Reshef Agam-Segal, Edmund Dain|
|Number of pages||26|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
|Series||Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory|