Meta Ethics.

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  • Created by: ElloElla
  • Created on: 24-02-16 09:47
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  • Meta Ethics.
    • The area of ethics which seeks to discover the meaning of words used in ethical statements.
    • Descriptive Ethics-Statements. E.g. "Tom was kicking the cat."
      • To make a descriptive statement normative, you must add a judgement. E.g. "It was bad that Tom was kicking the cat."
    • Ethical Naturalism- The idea that morality is explicable in natural/scientific terms.
      • "The sky is blue"= true as it is observable in the real world.
        • Bradley= goodness is a natural aspect of society. We reach 'self-realisation' in our communities and become moral.
    • Ethical non-naturalism= Morality is inexplicable in natural/scientific terms.
      • Hume: we cannot logically move from a statement about the world to how we ought to act. He called this the "Is-Ought Gap". There is no such thing as a moral act.
        • Moore= Goodness is associated with contradictory properties. Defining goodness as natural acts= naturalistic properties.
          • Colour analogy= we can only explain the colour of something by  comparing it to something of that colour. This is the same for goodness. We can only define good by listing things which are good.
            • Therefore, rejects ethical naturalism as moral actions are inexplicable in natural terms unlike other things of the earth.
    • Cognitivism- Moral concepts are too important to be a matter of opinion. (Similar to naturalism in that morals are objective).
      • There are things which are intrinsically good and intrinsically bad.
        • "Murder is wrong" is a true statement.
          • It is a proposition based on empirical data.
    • Non-cognitivism- statements are a matter of belief. They are not true or false or the result of a cognition.
      • Rejects propositions, physical and empirical data.
        • The statement "murder is bad"= opinion.
          • Morality is purely opinion so there is no such thing as 'good' or 'bad' morals.
    • Intuitionism- ethical propositions are known to be true or false by intuition.
      • When we describe something as 'good' or 'bad' we are referring to properties we cannot define. But know intuitively what they mean.
        • Est. by WD Ross and GE Moore.
          • Prima Facie= When we use ethical language, we are expressing emotions. There is no evidence of truth.
    • Logical Positivism- statements either need to be synthetic or analytic to have meaning.
      • Vienna Circle- against intuition as statements must be verified.
        • Ayer's Boo-Hurrah Theory= We are merely expressing emotion through ethical language
      • Analytic= needs to have prior understanding of meaning to be verified.
      • Synthetic= require empirical data to be verified.
    • Perscriptivism- What a person should do in a given situation. Like a doctor's prescription, it varies from person to person.
      • Universilisability Principle= If one persons prefers one choice over another, everyone should have this preference.
        • Est. by RM Hare.


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