>When it comes to mathematics, I found the arguments in Kripke’s ‘Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language’ quite convincing. I would love to see someone do an in depth translation applying everything Kripke says about arithmetic to total utilitarianism. I think this would be quite useful, and perhaps work well with my ideas here.
That makes sense. I personally think that “Kripkenstein’s” views are quite different from Wittgenstein’s own views on mathematics.
It seems there’s a bit of a disanalogy between the case of simple addition and the case of moral language. In the case of addition we observe widespread consensus (no-one feels any inclination to start using quus for whatever reason). Conversely it seems to me that moral discourse is characterised by widespread disagreement i.e. we can sensibly disagree about whether it’s right or wrong to torture, whether it’s right or wrong for a wrongdoer to suffer, whether it’s good to experience pleasure if it’s unjustly earned and so on. This suggests to me that moral terms aren’t defined by reference to certain concrete things we agree are good.
>Yes, I agree that what I’ve been doing looks a lot like language policing, so let me clarify. Rather than claiming talk of population ethics etc. is invalid or incoherent, it would be more accurate to say I see it as apparently baseless and that I do not fully understand the connection with our other uses of moral language… insofar as they expect me to follow along with this extension (indeed insofar as they expect their conclusions about population ethics to have force for non-population-ethicists) they must explain how their extension of moral language follows from our shared ostensive basis for moral language and our shared inductive biases. My arguments have attempted to show that our shared ostensive basis for moral language does not straight-forwardly support talk of population ethics, because such talk does not share the same basis in negatively/positively valenced emotions.
OK so it sounds like the core issue here is the question of whether moral terms are defined at their core by reference to valenced emotions then, which I’ll continue discussing in the other thread.