Naturalism and Non-Naturalism

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  • Naturalism and Non-Naturalism
    • These are both cognitivist approaches (They both belief that religious statements can have meaning).
      • However, they differ in their theories of why this is true.
    • Naturalism: The belief that suggests that all things are provable using empirical evidence.
      • Anything that is proved using one or more of the five senses is referred to as empirical data.
      • In the same way that we can say that things are factually accurate using empirical data, we can also use ethical statements and say that they are accurate using empirical evidence.
    • Non-naturalism: The belief that all things to do with meaning are knowable using intuition rather than empirical evidence.
      • In the non-naturalist approach, "good," is something that cannot be defined by any  type of natural experience.
        • Good isn't something found in things, but instead is used to describe an action or an object.
      • Moore
        • He likens the process of defining the word 'good,' to defining colour.
          • (We cannot define a colour in words but we all have a sense of what this colour is.)
          • He believed that the only way to define 'good,' was to find a way to illustrate it.
            • "If I am asked 'How is good to be defined?' my answer is that it cannot be defined, and that is all I have to say about that."
              • Prichard developed Moore's ideas and said that it wasn't only goodness that was indefinable but also the idea of obligation.
                • We will always know what we ought to do for a certain act.
                  • (In the same way that goodness is recognised by example, so are our obligations.)
                • For him, Intuitionism was the joining of reason and human reason to help people decide what to do based on facts.
                • W.D Ross Built on the work of Moore and Pritchard and agreed that "good," and "obligatory," are intrinsically indefinable.
                  • A set of basic moral principles are apparent "prima facie," (at first appearance).
                    • Prima facie duties: Primary duties that are apparent to everyone.
                      • They must be followed unless a greater obligation exists.
                  • Our intuition identifies our prima face duties.
                    • Our moral decisions are therefore based on our intuition.
                      • However, he doesn't expand this theory to tell us which duties are the greater ones.
        • He rejects ethical naturalism because it teaches that moral properties can be reduced to the terms of non-moral properties.
        • His approach of non-naturalism lead to the emergence of "intuitionism."
          • Definition: A theory that ethical and moral truths are understood by intuition.
          • Intuitionists claim that we can understand basic moral principles using a special faculty called "moral intuition."
        • We recognise "good," when we see it (we just know that something is good.)
          • "If I am asked 'what is good?' my answer is that good is good and that is the end of the matter."


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