It's just a matter of opinion

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Emotivism: the idea that the meaning of ethical language is not knowable as its use is only an expression of emotion.

Boo-Hurrah Theory: another name for emotivism.

Prescriptivism: the idea that the meaning of ethical language is not knowable as it is a manner of prescribing a subjective belief or course of action.

Emotivism - Boo-Hurrah

  • A.J.Ayer - all meaningful statements had to be verified either analytically or synthetically.
  • He said that ethical and religious staetments could not be verified using either so they aren't meaningful.
  • Ayer - ethical statements can be problematic and therefore simply may be an expression (rather than an assertion) of an emotion.
  • Called emotivism as everything that is said could just be an expression of emotions.
  • For emotivisits, statements are presenting preferences and evincing emotions.
  • In effect the statement 'theft is wrong' is a non-cognitive expression but it doesn't mean the same as 'I disapprove of theft', which is a cognitive expression.
  • Boo-Hurrah theory as what we are saying if we make statements about the morality and ethics of war is 'Boo to war' or 'Hurrah to war' and these are not significant because they are simply envincing expressions of approval or disapproval.
  • We do not need to feel the emotion expressed.
  • Moral statements can sometimes simply express our liking or disliking for something - there are no claims to any truth in them.
  • It could be as factually meaningful for me to say that 'The Arctic Monkeys' are the best band in the world.
  • C.L.Stevenson - looked at…


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