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Journal Articles Philosophies Year : 2022

Wittgenstein and Care Ethics as a Plea for Realism


This paper aims to bring together the appeal to the ordinary in the ethics of care and the ‘destruction’ or philosophical subversion which Wittgenstein references in his Philosophical Investigations: Where does our investigation get its importance from, since it seems to destroy everything interesting, all that is great and important? What we are destroying is nothing but houses of cards. The paper pursues a connection between the ethics of care and ordinary language philosophy as represented by Wittgenstein, Austin and Cavell, in particular in a feminist perspective. The central point of Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice may not be the idea of a ‘feminine morality’ but a claim for an alternative form of morality. Gilligan’s essay seeks to capture a different, hitherto neglected yet universally present alternative ethical perspective, one easy to ignore because it relates to women and women’s activities. The ethics of care recalls a plea for ‘realism’; in the sense given to it in Cora Diamond’s The Realistic Spirit to mean the necessity of seeing (or attending to) what lies close at hand. Reflection on care brings ethics back to everyday practice much as Wittgenstein sought to bring language back from the metaphysical level to its everyday use.


Philosophy Ethics
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Dates and versions

hal-03746144 , version 1 (04-08-2022)



Sandra Laugier. Wittgenstein and Care Ethics as a Plea for Realism. Philosophies, 2022, 7 (4), ⟨10.3390/philosophies7040086⟩. ⟨hal-03746144⟩
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