Medical Ethics Darin Harootunian 9/21/11 2 First, consider two ethical statements, “Murder is morally wrong,” and “Love is intrinsically good.”1) Meta-Ethical Question: Are ethical statements (like the two above) true or false? Cognitivist theoriesare (meta-ethical) theories that say ethical statements aretrue or false. Non-cognitivisttheories are (meta-ethical) theories that say ethical statements are neither true nor false –they have no truth values! A non-cognitivist might say that ethical statements are implicit commands: “Murder is morallywrong” just meansDon’t murder!Or a non-cognitivist might say that ethical statements are statements that speakers use to evince their approval or disapproval, “Murder is morally wrong,” just meansMurder yuck!On a non-cognitivist theory, the sentences “Murder is wrong” and “Love is intrinsically good”don’t have truth values.And anError Theoryis a (meta-ethical) theory that says ethical statements are all false, simply by default.
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