To what extent is ethical language meaningful (35 Marks)
The analysis of ethical language is called meta-ethics and what Meta-ethics does is look at the meaning of the language that is used in ethical statements and it includes questions about whether those statements are true or false or whether those statements are just expressions of emotion and if it is the truth then is it the truth for everybody or just a select few depending on society and culture, Meta-Ethics Is broken down into two sections and they are called cognitive and non-cognitive and these are two different perspectives on the meaningfulness of ethical language.
Cognitivism involves a view that states moral knowledge is ...view middle of the document...
In terms of evaluation the naturalistic fallacy and G.E Moore’s claim; The statement “homosexuality is wrong” cannot be verified in the same way as “Paris is the capital of France” and non-naturalism forces us to try and defend our moral position and it stops us becoming sloppy moral thinks as this could lead us to believing that torture is ok just because it is.
However, It Is clear that there are some moral statements that which are almost universally accepted and seem like facts such as the “torture of young kids is wrong” and if we refuse to accept that there are any moral facts then we are in danger of not being able to condemn any action which are obviously morally wrong so it’s about finding the right balance but there is a problem with this and it’s one of the huge flaws with Moore’s work and it’s regarding the fact that intuitionism does not explain where our moral institutions come from and this reduces morality to guess work.
Moving onto Emotivism which is closely associated with both A.J Ayer and C. L Stevenson and it’s about Ayer arguing that there are only two types of meaningful statements and they are analytic and synthetic but because moral statements cannot be verified, He argued that both of them were meaningfulness.
Ayer argued that moral statements are simply expressions of emotion whether we approve of something or not, Emotivism is sometimes referred to as hurrah and boo ethics and we use “hurrah” if we feel something is right while “boo” if something is wrong and Ayer also felt that ethical statements are used to give feelings to others and an example of this is when you say “killing is wrong” is said partially and it’s said In a way to make another person agree with the speaker, Stevenson argued that it is through the use of ethical terms through disagreements that we come to understand the meaning better.
In terms of evaluating, Emotivism has refined our understanding of how the word good works in an ethical statement and it shows a strong relation between morality and emotions; Emotivism and in particular Stevenson’s requires us to think about how we use ethical statements to motivate others.
Prescriptivism is similar to Emotivism, It was developed by R.M Hare and he believed that goodness came from a desire for others to have the same moral values as us and an example of prescriptivism is “A doctor who will prescribe a drug for me because it is what I ought to take to make myself better, Ethical statements are about what we think ought to be done” Another example is that “If I say charity is good, I am not just saying that I think charity is good or that emotionally I feel good about charity but that I want everyone in the world to share my view that charity is good” and this basically means that I want to prescribe my views on others.
Although Peter Vardy describes Ayer’s emotivism as an “ethical non-theory” which just discusses feelings and not actual ethics, Ayer’s theory leaves us with the difficult...