Ethics summer task

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  • Created on: 11-07-12 07:33
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Ethics summer task
`Ethical language is meaningless' Discuss
Hume and his fork. unless you can have a physical experience of something then talking about it
is meaningless. He talks about statements like 'God is love' and stuff like that, and how they're
meaningless because God can't be experienced empiricism
Meta ethics tries to make sense of the terms and concepts used in ethical
ethical language is extremely meaningful as they argue it is essential to be able
to define terms such as "good" and "bad" before we can even begin to discuss
ethical theories.
moral statements are subjective so cannot be meaningful as they cannot be
described as either true or false
cognitive theories about ethical language would argue that ethical statements are
meaningful as they are about facts and can therefore be proved true or false
Ethical Naturalism is a cognitive theory of Meta ethics which holds the belief that
ethical statements are the same as non ethical ones, so can be verified or
falsified in the same way
G.E Moore argued against Ethical Naturalism as he believed that defining
concepts such as `good' are impossible and any attempt to define `good' is to
commit The Naturalistic Fallacy.
The Naturalistic Fallacy is one of the main criticisms of Ethical Naturalism and
would therefore suggest that ethical language is not very meaningful as it cannot
be correctly defined.
Moore believed there are moral properties, so ethical language is not completely
devoid of meaning but it is limited as `good' is a nonnatural property which cannot
be defined.
Moore disagreed that ethical language could prove whether something is moral or
immoral but instead believed that we should use our moral intuition to decide on
This theory of Intuitionism would suggest that ethical language has no meaning
so we should act on what we recognise as moral in certain situations.
Many people would disagree with how useful this is as there could be conflicting
views on what would be the moral action, due to differences in culture and
upbringing, for example
Cognitivists who see the importance of ethical language because it could seem
illogical to rely on intuition, which is subjective, rather than apparent facts which
can be proved using empirical evidence.
H.A.Prichard said that there were two types of thinking. This is general thinking
and moral thinking.
General thinking is in which moral decisions are made relative to the situation at
hand. Therefore, this allows for differences in moral actions.
His second thinking, moral thinking, is rested on immediate intuition and not
reason. This indicates the right thing to do.
Prichard went o9n to state that some people have clearer intuition than other
because their moral thinking has been further developed.
Therefore, Prichard would say that meaning of words can't be the same, such as
`good' as people have different intuition and therefore different understandings of
the language.

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People who take a NonCognitive approach to meta ethics disagree with the
suggestion that ethical language includes statements about facts.
Those who support NonCognitivist theories believe that ethical statements
cannot be proved as they are only expressions of emotions or prescriptive
A.J Ayer supported the theory of Emotivism , which is not able to tell us how to
live moral lives but can help us to understand moral statements, which convey
certain attitudes.…read more

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If the moral value of good is fact, then it is true for everyone.
There are three ways that categorised moral ethics, Descriptive, Normative
and Meta.
Descriptive just describes a fact, for example (if there was a fact) "most car
crimes happen in unemployed areas" then the fact would be seen as
descriptive through moral ethics.…read more

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To be honest Ayer believed meaningless statements are a matter of
opinion rather than moral belief.
For instance if a person says that "drugs is bad for you" it's the same as
saying "I don't like drugs". Emotivism therefore believes that our attitudes
towards certain acts cannot be verified if the act is true or false.…read more


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