Morals, meaning and truth in Wittgenstein and Brandom

Jordi Fairhurst
Universidad de las Islas Baleares, Spain |

Received: 08-June-2018 | Accepted: 18-June-2019 | Published: 30-June-2019
Disputatio [Jun. 2019], Vol. 8, No. 9, pp. 00-00 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3376637
Article | [EN] | Full Text | Statistics | Copyright Notice [es] | Vol. 8 No. 9

How to cite this article:
Fairhurst, Jordi (2019). «Morals, meaning and truth in Wittgenstein and Brandom». Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 8, no. 9: pp. 00–00.

Abstract | The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it analyses the similarities that stem from Wittgenstein’s (Philosophical Investigations (1953)) and Brandom’s (Making it Explicit (1994)) commitment to pragmatics in the philosophy of language to account for moral utterances. That is, the study of the meaning of moral utterances is carried out resorting to the study of the acts being performed in producing or exhibiting these utterances. Both authors offer, therefore, a pragmatic solution in order to account for the meaning of our moral vocabulary and discursive practices. Secondly, it argues that both approaches lead to differing understandings of the role of “truth” and “falsity” in moral discourse. On the one hand, Wittgenstein’s remarks on ethics demonstrate a dismissive attitude towards the notions of truth and falsity in moral discourse. On the other hand, Brandom seems to be committed to a weak version of moral cognitivism: he takes assertions (which express beliefs, i.e. doxastic commitments) as the fundamental linguistic activity in the game of giving and asking for reasons and provides an anaphoric theory of truth to account for “truth” and “falsity” in our discourse. Additionally, it analyses how these differences bear on the Frege–Geach problem.
Keywords |
Morals · Truth · Meaning · Pragmatics.

Moral, significado y verdad en Wittgenstein y Brandoms

Resumen | El objetivo de este trabajo es doble: En primer lugar analiza las similitudes originadas de los compromisos de Wittgenstein (Investigaciones Filosóficas (1953)) y de Brandom (Making it Explicit (1994)) con el pragmatismo en la filosofía de lenguaje para dar cuenta de los pronunciamientos morales. Esto quiere decir, la investigación del significado de pronunciamientos morales se realiza con recurso al estudio de los actos que se realizan al producir o mostrar estos pronunciamientos. Ambos autores ofrecen, por tanto, una solución pragmática para dar cuenta del significado de nuestro vocabulario moral y de nuestras prácticas discursivas. El trabajo arguye en segundo lugar que ambos planteamientos llegan a entendimientos diferentes del papel de “verdad” y “falsedad” en el discurso moral. Por una parte, los comentarios de Wittgenstein sobre ética demuestran una actitud desdeñosa hacia las nociones de verdad y falsedad en el discurso moral. Brandom, por otra parte, parece estar comprometido con una versión débil de cognitivismo moral: el entiende que afirmaciones (que expresan creencias, es decir, compromisos doxásticos) como la actividad lingüística fundamental en el juego de dar y pedir razones, y ofrece una teoría anafórica de la verdad para dar cuenta de “verdad” y “falsedad” en nuestro discurso. Este trabajo analiza además el efecto de estas diferencias sobre el problema Frege-Geach.
Palabras Clave | Moral · Verdad · Significado · Pragmatismo.


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