To Think for Oneself: Philosophy as the Unravelling of Moral Responsibility

Forskningsoutput: Kapitel i bok/rapport/konferenshandlingBidrag till uppslagsverk/ordbokVetenskapligPeer review


The main aim of the paper is to try to show how I see Wittgenstein’s (“later”) philosophy and its focus on clarity of thought to be essentially pointing towards the notion of personal responsibility. Two interconnected features in will be discussed. First I will draw attention to the so-called ‘destructive’ nature of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, trying to show that its central contribution to clarity of thought lies in its ability to expose our temptation to misunderstand and hence our personal involvement and responsibility for it. From here I turn to a discussion on the famous notion of “bringing words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use”. Here also, the issue of personal responsibility becomes essential. The main claim will be that while ‘bringing words back to the everyday’ is closely related to conventions, it is only via an elucidation of the interpersonal moral dynamics underpinning those very conventions that clarity can be reached. After this I attempt to characterise, as an example, how the notion of philosophy as the unravelling of moral responsibility is both present and absent in Raimond Gaita’s reflections on goodness and evil, and how the absence is characterised by an externalisation of personal responsibility to a picture of reality. In the end I will come with some concluding remarks on how I see the sense of the paper qualifying the notion of ‘teaching to philosophise’. Key words: Responsibility, moral dynamics, evil, communality, externalisation.
Titel på gästpublikationA Companion to Wittgenstein on Education : Pedagogical Investigations
RedaktörerMichael Peters, Jeff Stickney
Antal sidor13
ISBN (tryckt)978-981-10-3134-2, 978-981-10-9800-0
ISBN (elektroniskt)978-981-10-3136-6
StatusPublicerad - 2017
MoE-publikationstypA3 Del av bok eller annan forskningsbok


  • 611 Filosofi
  • 516 Pedagogik

Citera det här

Toivakainen, N. H. M. (2017). To Think for Oneself: Philosophy as the Unravelling of Moral Responsibility. I M. Peters, & J. Stickney (Red.), A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education: Pedagogical Investigations (s. 729-741). Berlin: Springer.