Absolute Morality & Wittgenstein and Russell

Following The Achilles of Rationalist Arguments, Mijuskovic wrote an article for Journal of Thought entitled “The Simplicity Argument and Absolute Morality.” He focuses attention upon the moral idealism of Ralph Cudworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edmund Husserl. This article lays the groundwork for the second chapter of Contingent Immaterialism, which later he describes as the fifth use for the simplicity argument. Just one year after the publication of ARA, it illustrates the broadening of the uses of the simplicity argument as Mijuskovic advances his study in history, particularly in the treatment of Husserl.

In 1976, Mijuskovic’s rapid publishing pace continues with “The Simplicity Argument in Wittgenstein and Russell.” From the opening paragraph, Mijuskovic anticipates further work by his passing mention of Hegel, Marx, Bergson, Husserl and Sartre as candidates for study. He also reveals two more uses for the simplicity argument. After reiterating the fifth use on the immateriality of meanings within moral idealism, Mijuskovic discusses a sixth use within the freedom of self-consciousness in Hegel, Bergson and Sartre. He then briefly alludes to a seventh, and final, use within arguments related to the consciousness of time by Schelling, Schopenhauer and Bergson.

In addition to laying the groundwork for his future articles, Mijuskovic discusses the immateriality of meanings in the works of Wittgenstein and Russell. A simple summary of his argument on Wittgenstein is, “[he] substituted an identity and unity of meaning for the traditional concepts of the identity and unity of consciousness”.[1] Similarly, Russell grapples with meanings in relation to his philosophy of mind: “What Russell really is engaged in is a theory of consciousness, a philosophy of mind, which is unfortunately disguised from him by his concentrated emphasis on a theory of meaning”.[2] Although there is no direct attribution to the simplicity argument by either philosopher, both Wittgenstein and Russell develop their concepts of meaning with premises akin to the unity, identity and simplicity premises found within the simplicity argument.