Contemporary Metaethics

  • Created by: Sam
  • Created on: 20-05-18 13:16
amoralist
An agent who is psychologically normal but who is unmotivated by her moral judgements. The externalist about motivation thinks amoralists are common. The internalist about motivation thinks that the amoralist is a conceptual impossibility.
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analytic naturalism
The view that we can define central moral terms as nonmoral, natural ones. This may be done via conceptual analysis
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analytic truth
A claim is analytically true if its truth relies solely on the meaning of terms involved, for example, “A bachelor is an unmarried man”.
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a posteriori
We know something a posteriori if we know it through experience.
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a priori
We know something a priori if we know it independent of experience, for example, knowledge of mathematical and logical truths.
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cognitivism
The view that moral judgements express beliefs which describe some sector of reality. It is a consequence of this that moral judgements are truth- apt.
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cognitive non-descrpitivism
Sometimes called “non- descriptive cognitivism” or “cognitive expressivism”, it is the view that moral judgements express beliefs but that these beliefs are non- descriptive.
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conceptual analysis
The breaking down of concepts into their constitutive parts. For example, the conceptual analysis of “square” would be “a plane rectangle with four equal sides and four right angles”.
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Cornell realism
The view that moral properties exist and are irreducible (sui generis), natural properties.
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correspondence theory of truth
The view that there is a property of truth that some suitably structured utterances have, and that such things get to be true because they correspond with the world.
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correspondence account of knowledge
The idea that a belief is justified if it is part of the most coherent set of beliefs. Coherentism accepts holistic justification andrejects linear justification.
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counterfactual test
A test for explanatory relevance. To say that a’s being F is explanatorily relevant to b’s being G is to say that if a had not been F then b would not have been G (Miller 2003: 145).
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"direction of fit" metaphor
A metaphorical way of distinguishing between belief and desire. Beliefs are said to “change to fit the world”; desires are said to “change the world to fit them”.
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divine command theory
The view that someone is morally right if and only if God commands it. Something is wrong if and only if God forbids it.
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emotivism
A form of non- cognitivism that holds that moral judgements are expressions of the speaker’s emotions rather than a description of anything. This is not to be confused with subjectivism or relativism.
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error theory
Error theorists are cognitivists but not realists. They argue that moral judgements describe the world as having objective value, but that the world does not contain any objective value. Consequently all moral judgements are systematically and unifor
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externalism about motivation
The view that the link between moral judgement and motivation is contingent. An agent is motivated to do what they judge to be right if he has the right desire – normally described as the desire to do what is right.
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externalism about reasons
The view that if an agent has moral reason to act, then the grounding for such a reason can be based on things other than the desires, commitments, beliefs and general projects that are important to the agent.
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Frege-Geach problem
Supposedly the challenge for non- cognitivists. It shows that non- cognitivists are committed to the counter- intuitive and problematic view that the meaning of moral terms varies across asserted and unasserted contexts.
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hermeneutic fictionalism
Hermeneutic fictionalists argue that even though most people never recognize it, there are good reasons to think that our moral practice is based on make- believe and that we are involved in a moral fiction.
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Humean theory of motivation
The view that motivation only arises when a belief combines with an appropriately related desire – where desire takes the lead role. Further it is the view that beliefs and desires are distinct mental states such that a belief cannot entail a desire.
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internalism about motivation
The view that there is a conceptual and necessary connection between moral judgement and motivation. For example, if an agent judges it is right to give money to charity then as a matter of conceptual necessity they will be motivated to give money to
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internalism about motivation (weak)
The view that there is a necessary but defeasible connection between moral judgement and motivation. For example, if an agent judges it is right to give money to charity – and they are not suffering any weakness of will and the like – then as a matte
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internalism about reasons
The view (roughly) that if agent has moral reason to act, then the grounding for such a reason is based on the desires, commitments, beliefs and general projects that are important to the agent.
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intuitionism
A view in moral epistemology that holds that there is at least one moral belief, and possibly many, that are self- evidently justifiable. This does not rule out other ways of justifying moral claims, nor does it mean that intuitionists believe judges
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minimalism about truth-aptitude
The most popular alternative account of truth among non- cognitivists. Such an account is minimal because according to it a claim could be true, even though there is no fact that makes it so. Strictly speaking, for the minimalist the answer to “What
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minimalism about truth-aptitude
The view that if the central claims of a practice seem truth- apt, then they are. In particular, the language would have to be disciplined (there are acknowledged standards for the proper and improper use) and the language would have to have the righ
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moral problem
Michael Smith’s (1994) name for the tension between three apparently intuitive positions: internalism about motivation, the Humean account of motivation and cognitivism.
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motivation reason
The reasons that motivate people to act: for example, that I want to go for a swim is a motivating reason for me to jump into the spring.
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naturalistic fallacy
G. E. Moore’s name for the attempt to reduce the property “good”.
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naturalism
The naturalist claims that the only things that exist are those that would appear in the scientific picture of what exists.
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non-cogtivism
The view that moral judgements express non- cognitive states such as desires, emotions, prescriptions and norms of acceptance. Consequently, for the non- cognitivist moral judgments are oft en thought not to be truth- apt.
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non-naturalist
The non- naturalist thinks that there are some things that exist which could not show up on the scientific picture of what exists.
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normative reason
A reason someone has to act in certain ways that do not seem obviously linked to their psychological states. You have a reason not to swim in the spring because it is 110 degrees, even though you may want to swim.
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open question argument (OQA)
G. E. Moore’s method for identifying and demonstrating instances of the naturalistic fallacy.
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open questions
A question is open if the meanings of the terms in the question do not decide the matter. For example, “Is darts a sport?”
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paradox of analysis
The claim that there are convincing reasons to think that conceptual analyses can be informative and unobvious but also convincing reasons to think that conceptual analyses cannot be informative and unobvious.
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proposition
The non- linguistic entity expressed by a sentence. Two sentences which express the same proposition have the same meaning, despite the fact that they may say different things: for example, “I am happy” and “Je suis heureux” express the same proposit
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quasi-realism
The ongoing explanatory programme that attempts to show how by starting from non- realism we can mimic the features supposedly definitive of realism.
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realism
The moral realist argues that moral properties and/or facts exist and are in some way independent from people’s judgements.
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reductionism
Refers to either ontological or semantic reduction. Semantic reductionism is the conceptual analysis of evaluative terms in non- evaluative ones. Ontological reductionism is the claim that moral properties are non- moral, natural properties.
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revolutionary fictionalism
The view that the appropriate response to our current moral practice is to treat morality as a fiction. This is typically adopted as a response to error theory, although it need not be.
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scepticism
The view that we are not justified in our moral beliefs and consequently do not have moral knowledge.
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speaker relativism
According to speaker relativism, when I make a moral judgement what I am saying is elliptical and can only be judged as true or false in relation to my moral framework.
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subjectivism
The view that when we make a moral judgement we are describing our own mental states, such as approval and disapproval. When I say “Killing is wrong” I am telling you that I have a certain attitude towards killing. Because subjectivism thinks moral j
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sui generis
Literally, “of its own kind”. Sui generis properties are irreducible. For example, Cornell realists think that moral properties are sui generis.
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supervenience
The view that two situations cannot be different in their moral properties without differing in their natural properties. We are meant to know this a priori.
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synthetic definition
A definition whose truth cannot be established via conceptual analysis alone, for example “Water is H2O”.
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synthetic truth
A claim is synthetically true if it does not rely solely on the meaning of terms involved, for example, if true, “It is raining”.
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truth-apt
A judgement is truth- apt if it is capable of being true or false. The judgement that it is raining is truth- apt, whereas the exclamation “Ow!” is not.
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truth-maker thesis
A claim is true if and only if some feature of the world, such as properties, makes it true.
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unasserted claim
A claim is unasserted when it is used but not asserted, for example “If the world flooded then I would need to swim”; “the world flooded” is mentioned but not asserted. There are many ways we can mention but not assert claims, for example if they app
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verification principle
The principle that states that if a sentence is not analytic or potentially empirically verifiable then it is meaningless.
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Card 2

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The view that we can define central moral terms as nonmoral, natural ones. This may be done via conceptual analysis

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analytic naturalism

Card 3

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A claim is analytically true if its truth relies solely on the meaning of terms involved, for example, “A bachelor is an unmarried man”.

Back

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Card 4

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We know something a posteriori if we know it through experience.

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Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

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We know something a priori if we know it independent of experience, for example, knowledge of mathematical and logical truths.

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Preview of the back of card 5
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