Lecture - Lecture#10 Alasdair MacIntyre After Virtue...

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Lecture #10: Alasdair MacIntyre After Virtue Emotivism Outline of ch. 2–3 Emotivism As a Moral Theory as a theory of the meaning of moral terms as a theory of the use of moral terms As Embodied in the Culture the characters that represent a culture the account of the self The Claims of Emotivism Thesis—all evaluative judgments (including moral judgments) are nothing but expressions of preferences, attitudes, or feelings. Consequence—There is a sharp distinction between factual judgments & evaluative judgments. Factual Statements Moral “Statements” (Values) These are descriptive. These express attitudes & feelings. These are true or false. These are not true or false. There are rational criteria by which agreement can be secured. There are no rational criteria by which agreement can be secured; agreement comes from affecting the emotions of those who disagree. Factual statements are made: • to express our own judgments & • to convince others. Moral statements are made: • to express our own feelings & • to affect the feelings of others The Claims of Emotivism: What is Emotivism a Theory of? According to its proponents: Emotivism is a theory of meaning of moral statements According to MacIntyre: Emotivism as a theory of meaning is false. Emotivism is only plausible as a theory of the use of moral statements. But it is only plausible as a theory of how moral statements are used in particular societies, not as a theory of the only way in which moral statements can be used. Emotivism as a Theory of Meaning It tells us what moral statements mean Its thesis: Moral statements mean nothing but that the speaker has certain emotions.
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E.g., “abortion is bad” means nothing but “I disapprove of (i.e., I dislike) abortion; do so as well!” There are three problems with emotivism as a theory of meaning: It fails to identify the kind of approval which moral statements express. It obliterates the distinction between statements of personal preference and statements of moral evaluation. Expressing feelings is a matter of the use of language, not of its meaning. Emotivism as a Theory of Meaning Problem #1: Emotivism fails to identify the kind of approval which moral statements express. There are lots of kinds of approval. Whatever approval is expressed in moral statements is distinguishable from other kinds of approval. To say that they express moral approval is circular. Any other answer is implausible. Emotivism as a Theory of Meaning Problem #2 Emotivism obliterates the distinction between statements of personal preference and statements of moral evaluation. The distinction is evident from the following considerations: Contrast: “I don’t like people doing that; in fact, there ought to be a law against it!” “It’s wrong of people to do that; in fact, there ought to be a law against it!” Consider: Would it be an adequate reply to say (b) to (a): a.
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