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1

intro

Meta-ethics deals with a philosophical analysis of the meaning and character of ethical language. An example are words such as good and bad, hence making meta-ethics important for normative ethics. The development of the Logical Positivist movement lead to a shift from the typically cognitivist view of good observable in ethical naturalism and intuitionism to a more non-cognitivist view, as demonstrated in Ayer’s emotivism and the prescriptivist interpretation of good.

2

divison

cog
ethical naturalism, Bradley
theo, aquinas

intuitionism
moore
prichard
ross

noncog
emotivism, ayer
pres, stevenson

3

ethical/theo naturalism

Morals are objectively true, absolute facts of the natural world

bradley
- caste system
- moral maturation
- place in social organism
- then can follow duty. concrete. leads to ordered society
- good is in terms of property of nat worl

awuinas
- nature
- telos
- pp

foot
- moral evil is nat defect
- can observe virtues, aim at good
- e.g. nature. cycle of maintenance. spot trends and thus defectives etc. same with good

4

ethical nat eval

- mill/darwin, evil in nature
- fall, aug
- hume, good is statement of emotion, naturalistic fallacy (foot avoids this)
- pigden, no meaning
- Mackie, moral rules based on tradition
- Moore, nat fall. open question. good is open question

5

ethical non nat/intuitionism

- Terms ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are objective but indefinable.
- intuition - special form of consciosuness
- must educate, and be aware of bias

moore
- agrees with nat fal
- can observe good but not define e.g. mother teresa
- using facts and intuition, everyone will come to same conclusion
- e.g. yellow

prichard
- different levels of intuition
- difference between general thinking and moral thinking
- conflict resolved by facts. figure out what duty is

rsoss
- right is act, good is intention
- 7 prima facie principles e.g. gratitude and justice (objectively moral truths)

6

analysis of intuitionism

+ ahluwalia, avoids nat fall
+ russell, not all a priori knowledge is mathematic and logical
+ kant, duty (Prichard)
+ Aristotle, intention (ross)

- psychopaths
- ockhams razor
- Nietzsche, ethical colour blindness. moral chaos if good is based on intuition

7

ethical non cog

emotivism, merely expressions of feeling
- ayer, log pos
- moral is non prop so meanignless
- boo hurrah

prescriptivism, Stevenson
- agreed that ayer doesn't help with moral disagreements
- element to persuade
- from fact comes emotion
- disagreement settled with cognitivist evidence

8

analysis of non cog

ayer is no help for moral disagreements
need concepts of good/bad for society

- Macintyre. can be meaningful, how de we distinguish moral opinion from normal opinion
- macintyre, Stevenson world is unpleasant