IB Philosophy of ethics: Metaethics

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  • Created by: Milly
  • Created on: 16-04-13 18:11
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  • Ethical language
    • Emotivism
      • AJ Ayer
        • Ethical statements are purely an expression of emotion you feel about an ethical issue
      • Stevenston
        • Ethical statements are both an expression of emotion and an expression of belief
      • Ethical statements are meaningless as they are effectively reduced to noisy shouting matches - hurray boo
      • Strengths
        • An instinctive responce can be right because it is your first opinion without it being masked or influenced by others
        • If moral judgements are simply someonelse's opinion rather than your own, then there is no point in holding one
      • Weaknesses
        • There is much more to moral statements than just simply an expression of feeling
        • Moral judgements appeal to reasons just as reason issued from other judgements
        • Moral judgments require reasons or else they are unjustifies
        • Reduces moral discussions to nothing
        • Hard to define emotions as they become too subjective
        • Justifies certain adhorrent actions, eg rape
        • It becomes too subjective and difficult to adhere to - implications for judicial system
        • James Rachel's thought that ethical judgements made on basis of reason too
        • Need to abandon all normative/naturalist ethical systems to adopt emotivism
        • No consistency in ethical judgments - affected by mood, hormones etc
    • Perscriptivism
      • RM Hare
        • A n ethical statement is an expression of opinion with an element of persuation
      • Ethical statements are meaningful as they are more than just expressions of emotion
      • Strengths
        • Decision making is easier - clear rules for everyone
        • More consistent and structured than emotivism
        • Upholds Christian maxim of love thy neighbour as it promotes equality
        • More practical on larger scale application
        • Delves deeper into the met-ethics explaining how moral judgements guide our behaviour- well reasoned
      • Weaknesses
        • Mackie - moral relativism- morality is subjective so rules cannot apply to all
        • Foundations of perscriptivism are still based on emotive responces
        • Rules are still derived from individual judgment
        • Cannot base ethical judgments on one scholars views/policies
        • How can moral judgments be generalized and applied to everyone - everyone has varying opinions
        • One answer cannot be suited to all circumstances
    • Intuitionism
      • GE Moore
      • HA Prichard
      • WD Ross
      • You can work out what is right and wrong using your moral intuition
      • Morality is objective as intuition can be well tuned or not
      • Ethical statements do have meaning as they do not try to define good in other terms
        • The truth or falsity of ethical statements can be checked against well tuned instincts
          • Defined by WD Ross against Prima Facie duties

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