- Naturalism is a meta ethical approach that incorperates new scientific knowledge that began emerging during the 17th Century
- Ethical terms can be defined using 'Natural' terms used in science and mathmatics.
- Ethical statements are the same as non-ethical (natural) statements
- ethical statements are cognitive since they can be verfied and falsified
- e.g. 'Thomas More - executed for his beliefs in1535' and 'Thomas More was a good man' both can be proven true or false; both are cognitive statements
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- Thological naturalist (Thomas Aquinas)
- God's will defines morality
- goodness is linked to the will of God as seen in nature
- e.g. 'murder is wrong' becuase God commands against murder (10 commandments 'Thou shalt not kill'/ 'You shall not murder')
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- Hedonistic Naturalism (R. B. Perry)
- goodness is a fact of pleasure or happiness
- R. B. Perry - 'good' means being an object of favourable interest', 'right' means being conductive to harmonious happines
- 'x' is good ='x' is an object of favourable intereset', 'y' is right = 'y' is conductive to harmonious happiness
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Naturalist - F. H. Bradley
- wrote Ethical Studies (1876)
- a moral perspective is determined from 'self-relisation' and 'observing one's posiion in society'
- rejected hedonism as pleasures provide no final self-understanding
- rejected Kants idea of duty for the sake of dutyas it doesn't guide us in morality or give us 'human satisfacation'
- better approach would be to persue self-relisation within the community
- Our place/role in community provides a satifying life
- 'We must realise our true self' - learnt through family and community
- this places us firmly in the Universe
- To be a good person we must know our station and its duties
- once your position in life is decided, you have a duty to perform the function of that station
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Criticisms of Naturalism
- G. E. Moore (Principa Ethica) 'The attempt to identify goodness with a natural qaulity is a mistake'
- 'To claim that moral statements can be verified or falsified using evidence it to commit the naturalistic fallacy
- More used what has become known as the Open question arguement
- For any natural property it always makes sense to ask 'is it good?'
- Shows that 'good' and 'bad' cannot be the names of natural properties in the way that 'rough' and 'smooth' are
- He based his arguement on David Hume's 'You cannot derive an ought from an is'
- ethical naturalism does not allow for moral dispute
- it is too simplistic '
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