Wittgenstein's Ethics in the Koder Diaries

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The subject of this paper is not Wittgensteinian ethics but Wittgenstein’s own ethical beliefs, specifically as these are revealed in the so-called Koder diaries. While the Koder Diaries, also known as Manuscript 183, do contain the kind of thing that one would expect to find in a diary (e.g. accounts of travel and personal relationships), they also contain more obviously philosophical remarks, sometimes as reflections on these personal remarks. Wittgenstein’s diaries illustrate well a point that Iris Murdoch has emphasized, that a person’s inner life can have an ethical dimension not necessarily directly related to overt action or to other people. The kind of ethical concern that we see in these diaries is one with what we might call global implications. Not in the sense that they might affect the whole planet but in the sense that, for Wittgenstein (or anyone else involved in such struggles or deliberations), they might affect every aspect of his life in the way that a religious conversion might change one’s whole life. This ethical ubiquity is another idea that Murdoch has brought to attention.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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