Unravelling moral certainty: Having a rough story

Author: Ryan Manhire

Manhire, Ryan, 2022 Unravelling moral certainty: Having a rough story, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This thesis is a reflection on the fundamental way in which one might attend to the subject of moral certainty. Drawing on a broadly therapeutic/resolute reading of Wittgenstein, I claim that most discussions on the possibility of a Wittgensteinian notion of moral certainty, including the dominant view in the literature, draw on some form of framework reading of Wittgenstein. This leads them to approach the subject in a way that considers various forms of words, taken to have the form of moral propositions because of their content, outside of any particular context to be meaningful. By contrast, I take the meaning of such propositions to be a hallucination, and look instead at what we say and do in the context of our everyday lives for answers. Through the consideration of numerous examples, I sketch a rough picture of a new way to think about moral certainty with Wittgenstein.

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, moral certainty, resolute reading, persuasion

Subject: Humanities thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2022
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Craig Taylor