A2 Ethics - Meta ethics

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What does 'meta ethics' mean?
'beyond/above ethics' - 'meta' means 'above' or 'beyond' in Greek
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What is meta ethics looking at?
Meta ethics looks at the language we use to express morality and identifies the actual meaning of words like 'good'
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What does intuitionsim argue?
That moriality is objective (independant of ones mine) and cognitive (able to be proven) - intutionists believe that we just know what good is
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What did G.E Moore suggest?
He states the the word 'good' cannot be defined
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What analogy did G.E Moore use?
He likened his explanation to the colour yellow - we just know what yellow is and cant define or explain it
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State a quote said by G.E Moore about goodness
"Good is good and that is the end of the matter."
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What did Moore say about the consequences and goodness of actions?
Moore said that we work out right and wrong by looking at the impact consequences have upon an action. If the consequence is right (Moore argues you'll simply know if it is right), then it becomes good
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Is Moore's theory deontological or teleological?
Teleological - consequence based
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Who came up with the naturalistic fallacy?
G.E Moore
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What is the naturalistic fallacy?
When we try to define good we are commiting naturalistic fallacy
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What did H.A Pritchard say?
That working out right and wrong is out duty - we should use intuition to work this out
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Is Pritchard's theory deontological or teleological?
Deontological - the concept of duty appears more deontolofical that Moore's teleological approach - major criticism could be 'who's theory is right?'
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What does Pritchard say about disagreeing with morality?
Pritchard states that when people disagree about morality, someone's moral thinking simply hasn't been fully developed
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State 2 criticisms of Pritchard's idea
How can you develop your moral thinking? If someone is wrong in a moral conflict, doesn't that mean there is a conflict of duties?
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What did W.D Ross suggest?
He accepts that moral duties do conflict
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What does W.D Ross try to outline with his 'prima facie duties?'
He tries to tackle the issue of conflicting duties by putting forward a series of duties which should come first - duties which are the most important
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What are the prima facie duties?
1. Keeping promises 2. Gratitude 3. Fairness 4. Benevolence 5. Non-malificence 6. Self improvement 7. Reperation for harm
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What are some stengths of intuitionism?
1. Allows us to answer issues clearly and easily 2. Appeals to human nature and we do use intuition to decide what is right or wrong 3. Is clear to follow and doesnt allow for any debate that could cause confusion
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What are some weaknesses of intuitionism?
1. Peoples intuition's will always differ 2. Lacks empirical evidence 3. Intuitionism allows anyone to get away with everything
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What is emotivism?
A non-cognitive approach that states that ethical language is an expression of feelings and emotions
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Give an example of emotivism
When we say 'murder is wrong', we're not saying that it is immoral, we're saying that we don't like the idea
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Give another name of emotivism
The boo/hurrah theory
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What did A.J Ayer state about emotivism?
When we use ethical language, Ayer argues that we are not judging morality or making normative truth claims,we are simply expressing emotion
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What did Stevenson say about ethical language?
Stevenson argues that ethical language is reciprocal; when we say to somebody that murder is wrong, for example, we are expecting them to agree
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What did Brandt say in response to Stevenson?
Brandt is saying that when we express ethical language, we don't expect people to agree - it is foolish to presume that our language has a magnetic influence on others
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What are some strengths of emotivism?
1. Allows all opinions to be valid (egalitarian) 2. Culturally aware (arranged marriage could be okay dependant on cultures and emotions regarding these issues)
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What are some weaknesses of emotivism?
1. Degrades our ability to reason 2. James Rachels argues that emotivism wrongly compares stubbing one's toe to making moral statements, and called moral feelings convictions
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What did Peter Vardy and Alasdair MacIntyre say about emotivism?
Peter Vardy accused emotivism of being "hot air and nothing else" - Alasdair MacIntyre argues that emotivism wrongly places child carers and paedophiles as equals
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Who proposed the theory of presriptivism?
R. M. Hare - also a non-cognitive theory
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What does presriptivism state?
Hare argued that when we use ethical language, we are prescribing - or recommending - a course of action. 'Good', Hare argued, is an action statement
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What does presciptivism state about universalisation?
The prescribed courses of action must be universal. Whenever we say something like 'stealing is wrong', we are stating that nobody should steal and universalising that statement
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What are some strengths of prescriptivism?
1. Its straight forward 2. Logic and realistic
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What are some weaknesses or presciptivism?
1. Hare believes in no true or false morality, meaning that, for example, Hitler's universalised hatred of the Jews was not right or wrong 2. Disregards logic and reasoning behind moral statements in favour of recommendation
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Define subjective
Each person's values are related to that person so cannot be judged objectively
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Define objective
Ethical values exist independantly
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Define cognitivism
Moral facts can be known objectively
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Define non-cognitivism
Moral statements are subjective
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What is meta ethics looking at?


Meta ethics looks at the language we use to express morality and identifies the actual meaning of words like 'good'

Card 3


What does intuitionsim argue?


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Card 4


What did G.E Moore suggest?


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Card 5


What analogy did G.E Moore use?


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