Comme Christiane Chauviré et Sandra LaugierD.Z. Phillips trouve que Wittgenstein n’a pas dans la philosophie analytique la place qu’il mérite. Il en fait le constat au début de The problem of evil and the problem of God (Fortress 2005). D’abord il fait parler l’adversaire, ici Marilyn McCord Adams dans Horrendous evils and the goodness of God (1999) :
“ Recall that according to this methodology, philosophers who want to find our truths about mind and body, morals, and so on, should not go about inventing philosophical theories, but should set out to analyze the concepts of mind, body, and moral goodness, and so on, implicit in our ordinary use of language… Many, perhaps most, analytic philosophers have abandoned the ideals of ordinary language philosophy (and rightly so, in my judgment) and resumed the traditional activity of theory construction.” (p.XVIII)
Or, c’est précisément contre la philosophie comme construction de théories que D.Z. Phillips va prendre position :
“ It is odd to hear analytic philosophers say that they have abandoned philosophical movements which made the analysis of concepts central in philosophy. Nevertheless, if one wants to understand the relation of analytic philosophy of religion to Wittgenstein ‘s work, or to ordinary language philosophy, “abandonment” is the right word. It marks a contrast with “philosophical engagement”. There has been precious little philosophical engagement on the part of analytic philosophers of religion.
The twentieth-century revolution in philosophy left mainstream Anglo-American philosophy of religion untouched. By their own admission, the problems of most contemporary philosophers are still rooted in the empiricism and naturalism to be found in Locke, Hume and Reid. They write, for the most part, as though Wittgenstein had never existed. As a result, there has been little engagement with his work from the direction of analytic philosophy of religion. There is little sign of the situation changing. To speak of the “abandonment” of the ideals of ordinary language philosophy is even too strong, since there was hardly an appreciation of anything to be abandoned. “Ignored” would be a more accurate designation. In many ways this is a pity, since, as I have tried to show in my own work, engagement between these movements would raise issues of central importance in philosophy.
It is worth asking whether the reluctance to abandon theory-construction in philosophy is often an obstacle to the will, rather than an obstacle to the intellect. The latter obstacle resides in the intellectual difficulty of the point being made to one, whereas, an obstacle of the will is a refusal to give up a certain way of thinking. Does the distinction apply to the theory-construction ?” (ibid.)
D.Z. Phillips cite alors de nouveau Adams :
« Once theorizing begins, however, the hope of universal agreement in value theory is shattered, the wide-ranging extensional overlaps notwithstanding. Witness, for example, the divide in secular ethics between “consequentialists” who assert that lying can sometimes be justified if it optimizes the consequences, and “deontologists”, who contend that lying is always wrong, no matter what !” (p. XIX)
Ensuite il reprend :
“ We seem to have arrived at an odd situation. Having said that theories are essential to exploring how we should react to evil, we are now told that resorting to them shatters any hope of such agreement ! It never occurs to Adams to ask whether the trouble lies in the conception of an all-embracing theory, which is said to determine the essence of the “moral”. We see rival general theories in ethics stretch themselves out of all recognition in attempting to accommodate obvious counter-examples to the theory. Gradually, Aristotle begins to look like Kant and Kant begins to look like Aristotle. There is nothing intellectually difficult in the observation that all moral convictions, actions and situations cannot be reduced to a common form. It hardly constitutes an obstacle of the intellect. What the observation confronts is an obstacle of the will, the groundless conviction that there must be a common form to morality behind the variety.
Think of Freud ‘s theory of dreams. Freud asserted that all dreams are not simply products of wish-fulfilments, but are products of sexual wish-fulfilments. The suggestion that all dreams do not have a sexual origin, hardly constitutes an obstacle of the intellect, yet, Freud will not contemplate that possibility. If he could have been convinced of it, his reaction would have been , “Well, in that case, what are all dreams ? “ Freud would not have given up the “all”, the conviction that dreams must have an essence. That is an obstacle of the will.
What is the effect on Adams of the theoretical failure in ethics to agree on a definition of a moral act ? Instead of being rescued from essentialism, the failure to attain theoretical agreement becomes, for her, a licence for each theorist to retreat, without justification, behind the unexamined assumptions of his or her theory.” (p.XX)
L’idée d’appeler cette conception de la philosophie contemplative – que l’on doit à D.Z. Phillips lui-même – se comprend désormais : contempler s’oppose à découvrir. Le philosophe contemplerait à la différence du scientifique. Bien sûr il faut dénouer le lien platonicien entre contemplation et transcendance. C’est plutôt quelque chose comme une contemplation au sein de l’immanence. Ici le texte suivant de Wittgenstein, canonique, est bien sûr central :
« La philosophie se contente de placer toute chose devant nous, sans rien expliquer ni déduire . – Comme tout est là, offert à la vue, il n’y a rien à expliquer. Car ce qui est en quelque façon caché ne nous intéresse pas.
On pourrait aussi appeler « philosophie » ce qui est possible avant toute nouvelle découverte et invention » (Recherches philosophiques 126 trad. Dastur)