Meta ethics

Meta ethics

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Meta Ethics
Cognitive theories of Meta ethics
Ethical Naturalism
The naturalist approach is to treat ethical statements the same as non ethical statement ­
i.e. as propositions that can be verified or falsified. E.g. propositions such as "acid turns
litmus paper red" can be established using evidence just as the statement "murder is
wrong" can. If we look at the evidence, we see that generally murder makes people
unhappy therefore it is wrong.
The naturalist approach is to treat ethical statements the same as non ethical statement ­
i.e. as propositions that can be verified or falsified. E.g. propositions such as "acid turns
litmus paper red" can be established using evidence just as the statement "murder is
wrong" can. If we look at the evidence, we see that generally murder makes people
unhappy therefore it is wrong.
Intuitionism G.E. Moore
Moore proposed intuitionism. He said that `good' is indefinable
We can use our `moral intuition' to sense whether something is right or wrong. We
recognise goodness when we see it we just know that something is good.
"We know what `yellow' is and can recognise it whenever it is seen, but we cannot
actually define yellow. In the same way, we know what good is but we cannot actually
define it."
Ø `Good' is indefinable
Ø there are objective moral truths
Ø the basic moral truths are self evident to the mature mind.
Intuitionism H.A. Prichard
Prichard said that there were two types of thinking:
1. General thinking ­ in which a moral decision is made relative to the situation at
hand
2. Moral thinking ­ rested on immediate intuition and not reason ­ this is what
indicates the right thing to do.
Prichard said that some people have clearer moral intuition that others because their
moral thinking has been further developed. This accounts for differences in moral
actions. However, he did not tell us how to ascertain who has the clearer intuition.

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Intuitionism W.D. Ross
Ross was greatly influenced by Moore and Prichard and said that:
`Right' and `obligatory' are as indefinable as `good'
There are two elements in determining what is right:
1. The factual situation and
2. How that situation is viewed,
Was a deontologist, arguing that it was obvious that some types of actions, prima facie,
were right. Listed 7 classes of prima facie duties
1. Duties of fidelity promise keeping.
2. Duties of Reparation when we have done something wrong.
3.…read more

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If we are not arguing over facts then we are just expressing our personal preference.
For Ayer saying `stealing is wrong' is the same as saying `I don't like stealing'.
This is why emotivism is also known as the BooHooray theory because
Ayer thought that someone saying `abortion is wrong' is the same as saying `abortion:
boo'. Similarly saying `abortion is right' is the same as saying `abortion: hooray'
Ayer: Ethical statements have no meaning as they are expressing opinion and someone's
feelings.
CRITICISMS 1.…read more

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I'm saying more than just `holocaust
boo'. I'm saying it was
wrong then, it would be wrong now, it was wrong for them and it would be wrong for you.
Moral statements are deeper than just opinion. Emotivism reduces moral statements to too
little, and because of this misses the point.…read more

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