Values in social work : a philosophical discussion of normative questions
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Fundamental disagreement between social workers and their clients often involve value conflicts. This philosophical working paper analyses such conflicts on the basis of central assumptions in Wittgenstein’s influential philosophy of language. According to Wittgenstein, the fact that personal values are relations to ‘ways of living’ in collective practices means that a strict rationalistic and individualistic model of justification does not apply in value-related discourse. Cases are used to show how Wittgenstein’s arguments have important implications in social work practice.