Objectivity, Subjectivism and Relativism

For the Edexcel syllabus in the Ethics section of the course, for the Developments paper. 

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  • Created by: Robbie
  • Created on: 20-05-12 19:33

Moral Realism

  • Morality is objective, and therefore cognitive
  • Involves statements that can be true or false
  • There are objective moral values and that evaluative statements are factual claims, the truth of falsity of which does not depend on our beliefs or feelings.  
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Ethical Descriptivism / Naturalism

  • Related to moral realism.
  • Moral value is a real, objective property.of the natural (physical) world. 
  • A moral judgement is either true or false based on the facts of the world as it exists.
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Two forms of Moral Realism

1. Ethical intuitionism / non-naturalism - There are objective moral properties (e.g. 'goodness') and we sometimes have intuitions of these moral properties or truths

2. Ethical naturalism - There are objective moral properties but they are reducible to entirely non-ethical properties (e.g. happiness, desirability). We have empirical knowledge (based on experience/observation) of moral truths.

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Moral Anti-Realism

  • Morality is subjective, and therefore non-cognitive
  • It deals with matters that are not simply resolved by establishing if they are true or false.
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