Wittgenstein and deep moral disagreements

September 7, 2023 - September 8, 2023
Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven


View the Call For Papers


Universidad de la Republica

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


Workshop on Wittgenstein and deep moral disagreements

KU Leuven 

Institute of Philosophy (HIW)

7th and 8th of September 2023

Moral disagreements have been of interest to philosophers working on ethics and metaethics because they could challenge the ideas of moral progress and moral realism. Because many disagreements in ethics could be thought of as deep disagreements, it is worthy of our attention how the study of deep disagreements can help us understand disagreements in the moral realm and their possible ramifications. Since its inception (Fogelin, 1985) research on deep disagreements has relied heavily on the thought of Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Inspired by Wittgenstein’s last work, On Certainty, many authors took deep disagreements to involve clashes between hinge propositions or commitments the parties hold (Pritchard 2018, 2021, Ranalli 2020). Other philosophers have taken inspiration from other works of Wittgenstein to think of deep disagreements as involving different forms of life (Fogelin 1985), language games (Godden & Brenner 2010), or pictures (Lavorerio 2021). 

It seems clear that Wittgenstein’s oeuvre has the potential to inspire and inform our conceptions of deep disagreements. However, there hasn’t been much work on what Wittgenstein could add to our understanding of moral deep disagreements in particular. This workshop aims to address this knowledge gap by gathering philosophers working at the intersection of Wittgenstein, deep disagreements and ethics and discuss the epistemology of deep moral disagreements from a Wittgensteinian perspective.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·Do deep moral disagreements display distinctive characteristics that differentiate them from other deep disagreements about, say, politics, science, or religion?

·Can Wittgenstein’s work inspire and inform our conception of deep moral disagreements?

·What can Wittgenstein teach us about the ethical (e.g., the possibility of moral progress) and meta-ethical (e.g., the plausibility of moral realism and relativism) implications of deep moral disagreements?

·Can Wittgenstein’s observations on intercultural understanding allow us to develop strategies to enable constructive dialogue and resolve deep moral disagreements?

·Do Wittgenstein’s observations on intercultural understanding allow us to develop strategies to resolve deep moral disagreements?

Confirmed speakers:

-Dr. Annalisa Coliva (University of California, Irvine)

-Dr. Chris Ranalli (VU Amsterdam)

-Dr. Nigel Pleasants (University of Exeter) 

-Dr. Chon Tejedor (Universitat de València)


-Dr. Benjamin De Mesel (KU Leuven)

-Dr. Jordi Fairhurst Chilton (Universitat de les Illes Balears / KU Leuven)

-Dr. Victoria Lavorerio (Universidad de la República) 

-Dr. Katrien Schaubroeck (Universiteit Antwerpen). 

If you wish to present a paper at the workshop, please send an anonymized abstract (word or pdf) of no more than 500 words (free of any identifying information) to [email protected] by the 15th of June 2023. We will provide a decision of the selected papers before the 1st of July 2023. 

This workshop is generously funded by the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) and the Institute of Philosophy (HIW) of KU Leuven.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

1 person is attending:


See all

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.