This paper examines Wittgenstein’s conception of absolute safety in the light of two potential problems exposed by Winch. These are that, firstly: even if someone’s life has been virtuous so far, the contingency of its remaining so until death vitiates the claim that the virtuous person cannot be harmed; and secondly: when voiced from a first-person standpoint, the claim to be absolutely safe due to one’s virtuousness appears hubristic and self-undermining. I argue that Wittgenstein’s mystical conception of safety, unlike some others, requires no claim about one’s own virtue and hence can be construed as avoiding these problems.
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Burley, M. Winch and Wittgenstein on moral harm and absolute safety. Int J Philos Relig 67, 81–94 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-009-9214-0
- Wittgenstein, Ludwig
- Winch, Peter
- Absolute safety
- Moral harm