The Metaethical Implications of Empirical Work

The Metaethical Implications of Empirical Work - The...

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The Metaethical Implications of Empirical Work META-ETHICAL BACKGROUND Some very broad (and horribly simplified) distinctions: Realist (or objectivist) theories take moral claims (and therefore moral judgements) to be factual claims, broadly similar to the claims of science, or, at least, our claims about ordinary medium sized objects. Anti-realist theories take moral claims to be very different to scientific claims. It comes in various forms: expressivism, subjectivism, response-dependence etc. There is much debate about how to draw the boundaries between the two. Kantian theories take moral understanding to be a standard form of intellectual understanding (in terms of the categorical imperative). The motivation to act morally is now derived from this intellectual understanding. The immoral person acts irrationally; our motivation to act morally is, in some important sense, akin to our motivation to act rationally. Humean theories understand moral judgement as basically driven, not by the intellect, but by
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