Kant and Ross’ theories regard moral judgments as significant even though they are not reducible to anything definitional or observational - Ayer argues against these theories by saying they have no way to verify who is correct because there is no evidence. Ayer’s theory says moral judgments are NOT significant (Emotivism) - “ Stealing is wrong” can not be proven true/false - Moral judgments are not real statements - Moral judgments only express emotions and cause others to share emotions - There aren’t real agreements about values, people just express different feelings Emotivism: an ethical theory that regards ethical and value judgments as expressions of feeling or attitude and prescriptions of action, rather than assertions or reports of anything. Ayer believes that when people make arguments about morals they are truly arguments about matters of facts and definitions not values. - Arguments that influence our moral judgments are when arguers assume the same evaluative premises but disagree about facts. The only significant types of language are those that give or criticize definitions of moral terms or describe moral behavior. - Job of system of ethics is to give/criticize definitions or moral terms.
Hare Main Idea: -Universal prescriptivism (the meta-ethical view which claims that, rather than expressing propositions, ethical sentences function similarly to imperatives which are universalizable- whoever makes a moral judgment is committed to the same judgment in any situation where the same relevant facts obtain) -He viewed ethical judgments as universal, applying to all relevantly similar cases, and prescriptive, directing the action of others. GOAL: Restore the role of reasoning in morality Did not want to accept the idea that moral language is nothing but expressing emotions and attitudes and trying to get others to change their emotions/attitudes (criticism of Ayer) Believed there are surely cases where language is used to give moral reasons which are capable of changing people’s minds. Agreed with part of emotivism (AYER) that said when we use moral language we are trying to prescribe to others what they ought to do and ought to refrain from doing. Moral language can be declarative and imperative o Example of imperative: “keep your promises” Moral language is characterized by universability Calls for a kind of moral reasoning to resolve moral disagreements Uses Karl Popper philosophy as back up in this argument o Popper argues that the logically-correct way to test a scientific theory is by attempting to disprove it Hare believes ethical and scientific theories are similar o With scientific theory you try to discover if it implies any false statements o With ethical theory you try to discover if it implies any unacceptable prescriptions o When an attempt to disprove a theory false occurs, it does not mean the theory is true, just preferable to other theories that did not survive.
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- Fall '09
- Ethics, Prima facie, Prima Facie Duties