chapter  5
A Rational Form of Noncognitivism?
“Rational Necessity” Relocated
ByDallas Willard, Steven L. Porter, Aaron Preston, Gregg A. Ten Elshof
Pages 37

This chapter examines the efforts of Stuart Hampshire, Stephen Toulmin, and R. M. Hare, to reclaim moral knowledge by working out an objective and normative “logic of moral discourse.” Inspired by the latter Wittgenstein’s idea of “language games” as rule-governed social practices embedded in “forms of life,” these thinkers tried in various ways to treat logic on the model of grammar, with laws of logic becoming a certain type of grammatical rule, and logical validity a matter of the mere intelligibility of one’s moves within a given language game. But detailed analyses of their views show that these grammar-based phenomena are different from the logical and moral phenomena they are supposed to replace in ways that make it impossible for them to reclaim moral knowledge of the relevant sort. This Wittgensteinian ploy to salvage moral knowledge fails to serve the intended purpose, for it gives us no way to objectively and authoritatively criticize morally odious “forms of life.”