Metaethics - 3 and 5 markers

  • Created by: Elena.S
  • Created on: 13-02-17 16:27

What is metaethics? (3)

  • branch of analytic philosophy discussing what morality is i.e what is "good" and "bad"?
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What is non-cognitivism? (3)

  • philosophical viewpoint arguing that ethical views don't describe the world around us
  • ethical statements are attitudes held rather than objective truths
  • therefore ethical statements are neither true nor false
  • i.e "murder is wrong" simply states attitudes rather than facts
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What is ethical naturalism?

  • form of cognivitist moral realism
  • states moral properties are natural properties (reductionist: explaining complex concepts in fundamental terms)
  • i.e goodness is happiness (moral property -> natural property)
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What is ethical non-naturalism? (3)

  • branch of cognitivism arguing there are moral truths that are true or false but ethical language contains terms like "good" that cannot be defined/reduced to non-ethical/natural terms
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What is deontological intuitionism? (3)

  • moral value lies in what is right
  • we know what is right through obligatoriness which is known through intuition, no other reason (Prichard)
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What is consequentialist intuitionism? (3)

  • moral worth determined by consequences
  • good can't be defined in non-natural terms (i.e happiness)
  • good can't be defined in any terms
  • good is known intuitively
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What is error theory? (3)

  • cognitivist form of moral nihilism
  • all ethical language rests on mistakes bc we attempt to make objective claims about moral realities when such a thing doesn't exist
  • moral claims are always false
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What is the is-ought gap?

  • moral philosophers have a tendency to jump from is to ought (descriptive matters of fact) to evaluative value
  • Hume's Law: we can't infer what ought to be from what is
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What is metaphysical queerness? (3)

  • idea that if moral properties were real, they would have to be substantially different from anything in universe
  • claim rests on connection between morality/motivation, moral judgements are motivating
  • therefore if moral judgements exist, knowing what is goo/bad is enough to motivate us to act in particular ways so "goodness" would have to contain "to-be-pursuedness"
  • how can objective properties motivate us in this way? How could there be some definite relation between some fact of world/our desires? Just knowing something is true about the world doesn't entail being motivated to do anything about it (is-ought problem)
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What is epistemological queerness? (3)

  • intuition is a strange way to explain how we know moral knowledge
  • Mackie: intuitionist claims to knowledge are unacceptable as are other ways i.e reason, perception etc; what is the connection between natural properties ("it is cruel to torture animals") and moral properties ("torturing animals is cruel bc it's wrong")? Perhaps it is better to say there are no moral properties and moral judgements are subjective reactions to certain actions/situations
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What is meant by "direction of fit"?

  • cognitivism: beliefs have "mind to world" fit; we can change our false beliefs to fit the world so that they are true
  • non-cognitivism: desires have "world to mind" fit; we should seek to change the world to suit our desires
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3 differences between cogn. and non-cog. (5)

1a) cognitivism - ethical views describe world around us
1b) non-cognitivism - ethical views don't describe the world around us

2a) cognitivism - ethical statements are propositions which are true or false
2b) non-cognitivism - ethical statements are attitudes held which aren't true or false

3a) cognitivism - "mind to world" fit: we can change our beliefs to fit the world
3b) non-cognitivism - "world to mind" fit: we can change the world to fit our beliefs

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Diff. between cog. and non-cog. (Direction of fit)

Cognitivism - beliefs have "mind to world" fit: we can change beliefs to fit world and therefore be true or false

Non-cognitivism - desires have "world to mind" fit: we can change world to fit desires

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Utilitarianism as a form of naturalism (5)

1) define naturalism: theory stating ethical concepts can be understood/defined in non-ethical terms (certain objective features in the world)
2) utilitarianism argues goodness (ethical term) is happiness (natural term) (reductionist)

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Moore's naturalistic fallacy (5)

  • Moore: is what is desired always what is desired or is this arguing what should be desired/desirable?
  • descriptive/is: we desire happiness
  • prescriptive: we should desire happiness
  • Hume's Law - referring to different things with no logical jump
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Challenges to cog. and non-cog. (5)

  • Challenge to cognitivism: focus on beliefs; beliefs aren't intrinsically motivating whereas desires are i.e desire: capital punishment is wrong so world should be changed to fit desire; belief (fact): there is more caffeine in tea, nothing ethically motivating
  • Challange to non-cognitivism: could lead to nihilism (morality doesn't matter)
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Positive aspects of cog. and non-cog. (5)

Cognitivism - ethical statements can be proven to be true or false

Non-cognitivism - doesn't require explanation as to how ethical statements are true or false

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Hume: facts do not entail values (5)

  • Hume's Law: is/ought problem
  • we cannot jump from descriptive facts i.e torturing animals is cruel to evaluative values i.e torturing animals is bad bc it's cruel
  • logical gap in between statements
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