Meta-ethics and normative ethics: the difference

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  • The background of meta-ethics
    • "The Vienna circle," were a group of philosophers in 1920s Venice who developed a theory called "logical positivism."
      • They wanted to look at ethical language from a more scientific perspective.
      • Ethical statements cannot be verified or falsified as they are neither analytic or synthetic statements.
      • Statements have no empirical facts that can be checked to be true or false, so they must be meaningless.
    • Logical positivism: The theory that only meaningful philosophical problems can be solved by logical analysis.
    • Wittgenstein: It is impossible to even discuss ethical theories at all before we understand the terminology used.
      • "Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent."


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