Ethics - Ethics Moral statements/judgments Statements about...

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Ethics
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Moral statements/judgments Empirical statements/judgments Statements about how the world ought to be It is less obvious that these are straightforwardly true or false “It is wrong to steal” “Visiting the sick is a good thing to do” “You ought to look after your family members” Statements that just reflect, or are meant to reflect, facts about the world. They are straightforwardly true or false (most of the time) “John stole the watch at 4pm” “Sick people can be found in hospitals” “Family members are genuine pains in the a**”
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Metaethics Some questions Can moral judgments be true or false? E.g. is “stealing is wrong” capable of being true? If so... What makes moral judgments true or false? Objective moral facts The standard of the person’s culture The person’s own feelings How do we resolve conflicts between our consciences and our moral principles? This is really a question in moral epistemology
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Ethical theories How do we decide whether an action is right or wrong, good or bad? Has the person followed the rules /done their duties? Did the person act with good intentions? Did the action have good consequences ? Does the person have a good character?
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Moral Objectivism The view that moral judgments are true in some absolute sense “Morality” or “immorality” are properties of events or intentions in the same way that “occurring at 4pm” or “taking five minutes to occur” are properties of events Moral Subjectivism The view that one makes a moral judgment true or false is something about me (usually how I feel) E.g. I think or feel that stealing is wrong, and that is what makes “stealing is wrong” true Moral Relativism The view that moral judgments are true relative to some group or culture This means there are moral facts , but they differ from culture to culture Different from subjectivism – if you live in a group that thinks eating teacakes after 5pm is a heinous crime, then it is a heinous crime for you to do it, regardless of your own feelings Moral anti-realism or moral skepticism The view that all moral judgments are not true Human morality is basically a massive error; or that it serves some other hidden, beneficial or malign purpose Possible views of the status of moral judgments So which one might be right?
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arguments for moral anti- realism/skepticism Mackie’s argument from relativity 1. People disagree enormously in what they think are the true moral claims - across cultures and even between individuals 2. Moral values are either real or they are simply consequences of our way of life 3. Moral disagreement is best explained by moral values being the consequences of our way of life Therefore, it is much more likely that moral values are simply consequences of our way of life Therefore, moral values are likely not real
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arguments for anti-realism The argument from queerness 1.
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