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Ethics
Meta-ethics
Meta-ethics ­ analyses the use of ethical language, such as what is good/bad
Normative ethics ­ analyses the moral value of an action/thing
Cognitivism ­ ethical statements are meaningful as they can be proved or falsified
Non-cognitivism ­ ethical language does not give information and thus cannot be…

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o Therefore morality is objective and cognitive
o We work out what is good by looking at the impacts of our actions. Whatever brings about
good (which will be intuitively recognised) is good ­ therefore teleological
o Two types of moral ideas/statements:
Complex idea ­ can be broken down into…

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Moral statements cannot be verified, therefore they are not true facts but expressions
of preference or emotions
o Moral statements come from our emotional response to situations
Based on what makes us go "boo" (I don't like this therefore this is bad) and "hurrah"
(I like this therefore it is…

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Hare believes in no true or false morality, meaning that, for example, Hitler's universalised hatred of the
Jews was not right or wrong
disregards the logic and reasoning behind moral statements in favour of recommendation
Hare's logic means that any ridiculous theory could be moral. For example, eating burgers every…

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Choices are completely free based on free will and not determined by anything
o Based on observation that because we can feel guilt for actions, we must have chosen them
freely
o Example of growing up in poverty and drugs etc, determinism would suggest that this person
would also end…

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Values, desires and prior experiences can determine how we act in situations but we can choose to go
against them and also their influences are random and uncertain so do not necessarily coerce choices
o We may be compelled to act in a certain way but we are still free…

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No human responsibility as it is beyond us to act otherwise to how we do.
o Freud
Experiences in childhood determine our behaviour in later life
Repressed traumas give rise to later problems e.g. falling off a horse when little, won't
remember it but in adulthood develop phobia of horses…

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o Man is "condemned to be free"
o Humans have free will because there is no God to fall back on and guide
o Therefore fully responsible for actions
o There is no predestination, so there is no other option than to be free
o Anything else is just an…

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Freud
o Conscience is a construct of the mind
o The id (selfish desire), ego (realistic faculty) and superego (moral conscience) are in constant
conflict, sometimes id overpowers superego ­ this leads to an immoral conscience
o Humans have no direct control over these faculties, so can have an immoral…

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Golden mean/doctrine of the mean
o Avoid the vices; deficiency and excess of virtues
o Virtue is the balance of two extremes; the desirable middle
Strengths
Virtue ethics appeals to both religious and secular approaches to morality; no need for faith/religion
It doesn't have strict prescriptive rules (such as Kantian…

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