The Denial of Moral Truth

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  • The Denial of Moral Truths
    • Relativism
      • Normative
        • Different moral outlooks are appropriate in their own time and place
        • Moral values ought to be considered as cultural preferences, and behavior must be judged relative to the culture from which it arose
        • Morality is just an expression of culture, not moral truth
        • It would be difficult to criticise the standards of any culture or to make comparisons as there would be no suchthing as moral progress
        • Moral values should be judged according to their origin rather than according to moral and civilised standards of justice and decency
          • Genetic Fallacy
            • It is a mistake to accept or reject an idea because of where or who it came from, rather than its own merits
        • It assumes that all cultures are homogeneous
      • Descriptive
        • Moral codes and accepted moral practices differ from one society to the next
      • Normative relativism does not follow on from descriptive relativism
        • Descriptive relativism establishes that there are widely differing moral codes, but it doesn't acknowledge that there are also many similar moral codes across cultures
          • If disagreement supports the view that there is no moral truth, then agreement supports the view that there is
      • If there is no objective moral truth, then anything goes
      • If morality is simply a set of conventions relative to my society, then morality has no authority and it provides no grounds for judging pople
      • A rejection of moral truth does not necessarily entail tolerance
        • Tolerance is a moral virtue and so it is a contradiction
      • Diversity: if there was objective moral truth, there would not be such diversity of moral opinion over the world
      • Conflict: if there was objective moral law, there would not be moral conflict
    • Emotivism
      • A. J. Ayer
      • The Verification Principle
        • Only that which has the ability to be analytically or empirically verified has meaning
          • Moral statements are meaningless because they cannot be analytically or empirically verified
        • The Verification Principle itself cannot be verified
      • Ethical statements express judgement
      • Any statement condemning or appraising a moral practice is an expression of our opinions and feelings towards it
        • It simplifies morality: there can be no moral reasoning or discussion
    • Perscriptivism
      • R. M. Hare
      • All moral statements work as commanding imperatives
        • Moral statements are prescriptions and recommendations about choice of behavior according to our personal values
      • If there is no moral truth, then no one is right / wrong
        • In such a case, there is no point of us attempting to prescibe our morality to people without knowing if its correct or not


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