Written Online Dissertations

The Ethics of Simone Weil and Ludwig Wittgenstein

André Warren Heiti & Jan Zwicky

This thesis investigates the ethics of Simone Well and Ludwig Wittgenstein. I claim that, for both Weil and Wittgenstein, ethics is not systematic or propositional: it is a discipline of attentiveness. For Well, this attentiveness is expressed through impartial respect for the needs of others. The self, which exists as a fixed point of view, interferes with the impartiality of the attention, and Weil’s idea of decreation, I argue, is a way of freeing thought from a point of view. I trace the continuity of Wittgenstein’s ethical thinking from his early to late work, and argue that, while he later rejects his Tractarian metaphysics and logical atomism, his reverence for the ineffability of value remains consistent.

University of Victoria, Thesis, 2006

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