[lit-ideas] Re: Univocal philosophy as the value of transcendental claims?

Phil, this is just excellent. I won't respond right now to the general points you raise or to what I sense is the over-all position underlying them: my comments would sound like Socrates on a bad day and wouldn't advance the discussion one millimeter.


Something is morally prohibited because we say it is
wrong _and_ we say something is morally prohibited because it is
wrong.  Stealing is wrong because we say that _this_ particular act of
taking what is not one's own is wrong.  Also, we say that _this_
particular act of taking what is not one's own is wrong because we
believe that no one should do it.  Morality flies by going around this
circle fast enough that eventually it gets off the ground.

Wonderful, just wonderful. I'm running as fast as I can.

The analogy I gave was to the legal system.  An act is a case of
breaking the law because we, through our legislative representatives,
say that it is a crime.  We say something is a crime because it breaks
the law.  If someone asks me whether stealing is a crime, I say 'Yes'
because it breaks the law.  If someone asks me why stealing is a case
of breaking the law, I say 'Because it is a crime'.  If someone asks
me what constitutes a crime and they are disappointed by the above
circle, I have to admit that I am not sure what else I would say
except, 'Well, that is what we do'.

In spite of what I said at the beginning, I'd like to revisit the Wittgensteinian thought captured in this last sentence sometime.

Robert Paul
The Reed Institute
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