The conclusion I come to, if it can be called a conclusion, is that the concepts of "ethics" and "morality" are far profounder and more mysterious than either religious people or people like Nietzsche - or for that matter pipsqueaks like utilitarians or Kantians, etc., etc. - are willing to face.  Perhaps the term "concept" should not be used at all.  Marx was right to leave these matters virtually untouched in his writings. These are things we know - but we don't know how we know them, and to put a finer point on it, we don't know what we know.  They are there before us, but when we reach out to grasp them, our hands move right through them.  The philosopher who comes closest to expressing this situation is Wittgenstein....

...When Alain Badiou speaks of "philosophy," what he means by this word seems to be something like the work of Hegel.  But it's significant that Hegel tended not to use the term "philosophy" - he preferred to refer to what he was doing as "science".  "Philosophy" seems to be about asking the right questions, which sometimes, as in the Charmides or the Euthyphro, means never coming to a satisfactory answer, whereas for Hegel, "science" (Wissenschaft) explicitly meant moving beyond this and getting to something certain and reliable, which could be presented in a systematic way.  So when Badiou charges Wittgenstein with being an "anti-philosopher," I think it would be more apt to say that Wittgenstein is not anti-philosophy, but anti-Wissenschaft ("anti-science," if you like, if we understand "science" in the Hegelian sense, which is not science in the Anglo-American sense).  Wittgenstein is merely indicating, in his perhaps clumsy way (his perhaps necessarily clumsy way - perhaps there is no other way to indicate it) that there are some things which - though true - cannot be fully explicated.


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