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  • Created by: Beckie
  • Created on: 09-06-11 12:06

Meta-ethics looks at what language really means, it tries to make sense of terms and concepts used. Within meta-ethics there are two approaches these are known as cognitive theories and non-cognitive theories.
Cognitive theories such as ethical naturalism and intuitionism believe that ethical statements are about facts and can be proved true or false. On the other hand non-cognitive theories such as emotivism and perscriptivism believe that ethical statements cannot be proved true or false as ethical statements are just expressions of personal opinions.

Cognitive Theories

. Ethical Naturalism - Believes that ethical and non-ethical statements are all the same and can be proved true or false by looking at evidence, if supporting evidence was found then the statements would be proven to be correct however of there was evidence found that didn't support the statement then it would be proven to be false.

Criticisms - G.E Moore argued against ethical naturalism suggesting that it attempts to define goodness, this committees the naturalistic fallacy which is the belief that goodness cannot be defined

. Intuitionism

G.E Moore - good is a simple unanalyzable property just like a primary colour. Moore argued that to tell whether something is right and wrong we can use our moral intuition, Moore believed that we can recognize goodness when we see it, we just know that it is good just like we know that yellow is yellow, good is just good its undefinable

H.A Prichard - Believed the same as Moore that we all recognize goodness when we see it. Prichard thought there were 2 types of thinking - reason and intuition. Reason looks at the facts of the situation and intution decides on what to do, in all situations Prichard thought that our intuition would tell us what


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