Oskari Kuusela

Wittgenstein and moral philosophy: reinterpreting theories as Wittgensteinian models

24th November, 2020 TBC

@ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


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Mesel, B. D., & Kuusela, O. (Eds.). (2019). Ethics in the Wake of Wittgenstein (1 edition). Routledge. Cite
Kuusela, O. (2018). Wittgenstein on Logic as the Method of Philosophy: Re-examining the Roots and Development of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford University Press. Cite
Kuusela, O., Ometita, M., & Uçan, T. (Eds.). (2018). Wittgenstein and Phenomenology (1 edition). Routledge. Cite
Kuusela, O., & McGinn, M. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein. Oxford University Press. Cite


Most of moral philosophical theorising assumes a conception of philosophical theories as making exceptionless truth-claims that cover all relevant cases targeted by the theory, for example, all morally good actions. This has led to a stalemate between the three main theories, Kantian, utiitarian and virtue ethics, with each theory claiming to give an exclusively true account of morality in their own terms. Consequently, each theory also excludes the others, just as any truth-claim excludes any incompatible ones. In my talk I discuss the prospect of solving the stalemate by reinterpreting moral philosophical theories as models in the sense of the later Wittgenstein (cf. PI §§130-132). Whilst retaining the traditional conception of philosophy as concerned with exceptionless generality and necessity, this conception makes it possible to a acknowledge exceptions to models as well as to use more than one model simultaneously to clarify features of complex objects of investigation.


24th British Wittgenstein Lecture - Oskari Kuusala from British Wittgenstein Society on Vimeo.


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