Chapter 11: Metaethics

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Ethics: Chapter 11

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Chapter 11: Metaethics

  1. 1. <ul><li>Philosophizing about ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzing the terms used in ethical discourse </li></ul><ul><li>Unpacking the structure of ethical theory </li></ul>Metaethics
  2. 2. <ul><li>The theory that value statements can be defined in terms of factual statements. </li></ul><ul><li>Fact: What is signified by empirically verifiable statements. </li></ul><ul><li>Value: What is signified by an evaluation of a sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_naturalism </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The theory that moral facts exist but are not natural. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral facts are discovered by intuition. </li></ul><ul><li>The task for philosophers is to define the terms used and the source of the definition of the terms in philosophizing. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>This theory holds that moral judgments do not have truth values. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral judgments are expressions of our attitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>These judgments express our feelings and help us to persuade others to act as we desire. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The ethical theory that the good or right thing to do can be known directly via the intuition. </li></ul><ul><li>G. E. Moore claims that a concept like the ‘Good’ is unanalyzable. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The Humean Thesis: Ought statements cannot be derived from ‘is’ statements. </li></ul><ul><li>The Platonic Thesis: Basic value terms refer to nonnatural properties. </li></ul><ul><li>The Cognitive Thesis: Moral statements are either true or false, which can be known. </li></ul><ul><li>The Intuition Thesis: Moral truths are discovered by intuition and are self-evident upon reflection. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Value judgments do not have truth values, they are more than mere expression of attitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral judgments are universal prescriptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral judgments are given to guide actions. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>A dependency relationship between properties or facts of one type with properties or facts of another type. </li></ul><ul><li>In metaethics, supervenience is the idea that moral properties supervene or emerge out of natural ones. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, badness comes out of pain or goodness comes out of happiness. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>This principle states that if some act is wrong (or right) for one person in a situation, then it is wrong (or right) for any relevantly similar person in that kind of situation. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a principle of consistency that aims to eliminate irrelevant considerations from ethical assessments. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Principles are central to moral reasoning. </li></ul><ul><li>Principles serve as major premises in our moral arguments. </li></ul><ul><li>We acquire or learn a basic set of principles. </li></ul><ul><li>Then we learn when to use or when to subordinate those principles. </li></ul><ul><li>We choose when, where, and why to apply our specific principles. </li></ul>

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