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Title: Cora Diamond's Moral Philosophy
Author: Agam-Segal, Reshef
ISNI:       0000 0000 5101 6396
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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The dissertation explores and critically evaluates Cora Diamond's moral philosophy, understood as an adaptation ofWittgenstein's more general philosophical ideas and methods. In particular, it examines Diamond's 'Wittgensteinian aversion to theoretical thinking in ethics. Even loyal Wittgensteinians sometimes (mis)use Wittgenstein's ideas to advance various deniable theories, including forms of realism and anti-realism in moral philosophy, and varieties of ethical relativism and conservativism. Diamond's moral philosophy, by contrast, maintains a non-theoretical stance which, nevertheless, offers a satisfying philosophical alternative to theorybuilding. Part One distinguishes Diamond's 'realistic spirit' from Sabina Lovibond's philosophical realism. I argue that Lovibond's McDowellian quietism is covertly committed to various theses. I explain Diamond's rejection of Lovibond's conception of ethics as a subject matter, and the differences between their appeals to the ideas of form oflife, and their attacks on the conception oflanguage as rule-governed. Part Two argues that Elizabeth Anscombe's Wittgensteinian rejection of the notion ofself-legislation unwittingly reflects dogmatic views of our conceptual life. I explain how Diamond's use of the Wittgensteinian idea of a picture, and her clarification of the grammar of secondary uses, help in attaining a more realistic view of our conceptual life. This part, and the next, examines the importance of the imagination in ordinary uses oflanguage, and in philosophy. Part Three distinguishes Diamond's conception of grammar and language games from that of Norman Malcolm. It also distinguishes Diamond's conceptions of the imagination, of moral philosophy, and of the good of philosophy in general, from those ofIris Murdoch. I examine Malcolm's and Murdoch's views as reflected in their discussions of Anselm's ontological argument. Malcolm uses Wittgensteinian tools dogmatically, while Murdoch's correctives to Malcolm themselves tum out to verge on dogmatism. I show how Murdoch's views can be given a Wittgensteinian inflection without becoming philosophical theses. This, however, reveals that Diamond's realistic spirit must also struggle against temptations to disregard some possibilities of our conceptual life that are created by the Wittgensteinian philosophical vocabulary itself.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available