Questions tagged [metaethics]

Metaethics is the attempt to understand the metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and psychological, presuppositions and commitments of moral thought, talk, and practice.

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What's the difference among integrity, probity and honesty?

I have read about these three values/qualities but I'm confused how these three terms are different. I know this — Integrity is about the congruence of what you think, say and do. Honesty is about ...
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Is the search for knowledge morally compelling for the time being?

UPDATED VERSION: Argument: Definition: Moral facts exist objectively and are independent of what any human thinks. So they are not just based on agreement or convention. Premise A: The existence of ...
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Are love and sexual attraction completely unrelated?

The philosophy of sexuality is a more recent development. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says: Among the many topics explored by the philosophy of sexuality are procreation, contraception, ...
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Could ethics be grounded in a law of nature?

Assuming that morality is objective, is it possible that the reason there are moral truths (i.e it is wrong to harm children) is because of an undiscovered law of nature (like gravity)?
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Erotetic quantifiers?

I can't find it, but I have a distinct memory of there being an SEP article that says something like as if the ordinals were there before the sets in relation to a question about whether ordinals (or ...
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Mathematical style and ethical fictionalism

The SEP article on mathematical style got me thinking: what is the relationship between mathematical style, mathematical fictionalism, and ethical style/fictionalism? There seem to be at least three ...
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Assuming meta-ethical subjective relativism, what is the bearer of value?

Is it the particular condition of concrete events, objects, or actions that are valuable for their own sake? Or is it particular mental states of observers that are the bearers, and creators, of value?...
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Is the Categorical Imperative Simply Bad Math? :)

The title is clickbait, but the question is not. First, The Categorical Imperative: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. ...
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Objective vs Absolute Morality: Is one possible without the other?

Can something be objectively immoral and not simultaneously absolutely immoral? Definitions of the difference between objective and absolute morality tend to commit a comparison error. For instance: &...
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Reference request: books about meta-ethics theory

I want to construct an ethics system, my ethics. When I studied logic was very fruitful to understand the theory of the theory of logic (meta-theory). Now I want to learn about ethics because I want ...
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How is metaethical contextualism different from metaethical relativism according to MacFarlane?

According to Mark Schroeder: Relativist metaethical theories are usefully contrasted with contextualist theories for most purposes, but are committed to normative ethical consequences in a very ...
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Can I be both a utilitarian and a non-cognitivist?

I'm trying to clarify my moral position, so I've been doing a lot of research into ethics (both meta-ethics and normative). On one hand, I definitely align with utilitarianism (especially rule ...
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Can morally good actions be considered beautiful/aesthetic?

Ive been trying to find resources on whether morality can be considered aesthetic. I found philosophers who suggest ideas can be aesthetic, so I was wondering whether something as abstract could be ...
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Is absolute moral relativism impossible?

Is my rationale correct here?: If relativism is relative, relativism is a contradiction in itself, because you’re forced to believe what other people think is morally correct, is correct for them, and ...
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How does one reconcile Nietzsche's view of kindness?

On the one hand, N espouses that people shall almost ignore the needs of other people to achieve one's own greatness. But on the other hand he describes kindness as "Kindness and love, the most ...
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Why does Nietzsche affirm excellence so much?

A recurring theme in Nietzsche's writings seems to be that humans should strive for excellence “the highest power and splendor possible to the type man”. Im just wondering what it is about excellence ...
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Do any philosophers discuss the ethics of the possible negative repercussions from doing what is morally good?

Aside from utilitarianism, most ethical systems seem to advocate actions that might hurt somebody or at least inconvenience them. For example, standing up to a bully might hurt them. Making a stand ...
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Historically, were most philosophers moral realists before the rise of physicalism?

Moral facts seem weird because they don't seem to mesh too well with a purely physicalist ontology (although there is such a thing as ethical naturalism). It somehow seems odd that alongside the facts ...
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How would Kant/Mill justify causing somebody discomfort when doing the righteous thing?

I was wondering how Kant, or even Mill might respond to the issue that when doing the righteous thing, say standing up for yourself against a bully, or somebody who wants to impede on your rights, you ...
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For Mill, is all speech ethical so long as it doesnt conflict with the harm principle?

I understand that Mill was a big advocate of freedom of speech and expression. Im just wondering whether he just saw that as state policy or if he thought that on an individual level all speech is ...
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According to game theory, are people trustworthy? [closed]

According to philosophical presumptions of game theory, are people trustworthy if there are incentives (profit and less loss) involved in lying? And if this question isn't entirely accurate as a ...
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Is claiming that killing non-human animals is morally neutral a defensible position?

When I search "amoral" in general I seem to only find results about one taking a completely amoral position, nihilistic like, of all ethics/morality. If I search "amoral" with &...
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Do any mainstream philosophers talk about a duty to being to true to yourself?

I'm just wondering who has taken Kant's ideas and still explicates on duties to oneself including the duty of being true to who you are, to be authentic. I know existentialism also considers the ...
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Do Kant or Aristotle ever comment on the line between self-interest/preservation and helping others?

Im wondering whether either of them ever talked about limits to helping others and when we should choose ourselves. Ive tried doing some research but unfortunately to not avail.
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Does the so-called "Copenhagen interpretation of ethics" have a formal name in moral philosophy?

I was recently introduced to the term Copenhagen interpretation of ethics in an interesting blog post that defined it thusly: The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics says that when you observe or ...
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Where does ethics place the line between self interest and altruism?

Assuming I were to decide between getting Benefit A myself or somebody else getting A. All things being equal (need, desire, etc), is it correct to say most ethical theories (other than egoism) would ...
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What influence did Kant have on artistic modernism?

What influence did Kant have on artistic modernism? I'm not even sure if his concept of taste is anti-modernist, and have read nothing explicitly on this question.
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Understanding Aristotle's views on pleasure/fun

I feel like Aristotle gives us conflicting messages on whether we can do things for fun/pleasure. Would doing things done for pleasure such as going on holiday or playing video games be considered ...
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What separates a "normal" person from a morally excellent person? [closed]

Is it simply doing all the duties that Deontology (Kant) requires of you while doing them out of a sense of duty, or having all the virtues suggested by Aristotle while enjoying doing them or even ...
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Does Hume's Is-Ought Thesis imply moral nihilism?

Assuming you are an atheist, cognitivist, and a moral objectivist, does Hume's Is-Ought Thesis imply you must be a moral nihilist (or perhaps more weakly, at least a moral skepticist)? Put another ...
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Is prescriptive moral relativism about universalism or absolutism?

Is prescriptive moral relativism about universalism or absolutism? I just can't get this straight in my head. It seems that I can be an absolutist about an ethics that only applies to me. In which ...
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Stupidity and morality, how do they relate? [closed]

I think most people concerned with philosophy would think that morality is at least a type of intelligence, one way of being intelligent. Some forms of "ethical realism" must surely rely on ethical ...
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Why is moral cognitivism called 'cognitivism'

I don't get it? "Cognitive" usually refers to do with the mind, mental processes, thinking, or the brain. In ethics, it refers to whether or not something is a "statement" or can be "true or false". ...
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What terminology is neutral in meta-ethics?

Meta-ethics concerns whether at least some ethical judgments are what one might call facts. In particular, a cognitivist who subscribes to realism, rather than the error theory or something similar, ...
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Is Bernard William's argument for equality a teleological argument?

Bernard Williams wrote in his essay “The Idea of Equality”: Leaving aside preventive medicine, the proper ground of distribution of medical care is ill health: this is a necessary truth. Now in ...
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Can a moral code develop from one person's integrity?

Just for a moment picture, not all the evil and bad in the world, but the good. If you think about it and 'see' in your mind's eye all of the normal, everyday families in any given neighborhood who ...
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What is the idea that a moral system is ethical if it can function when everyone in a community adheres to it?

What is the ethical paradigm from the title called? To restate the concept in the negative, a moral system would be considered unethical if, when universally adhered to by everyone in a community, ...
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If we are rationally obliged to be moral, and morality is not arbitrary, then are some decisions not freely made?

If we are rationally obliged to be moral, and morality is not arbitrary, then are some decisions not freely made? I mean 'not arbitrary' to mean that some values, e.g. courage, are more rational than ...
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What sort of values are Nietzsche's?

What sort of values are Nietzsche's? They are not, according to some, moral ones, or at least Christian ones. Do they all share in any (other) quality? To be more specific: how can we tell some ...
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How does particularism fare with descriptive relativisim and its relation to moral skepticism?

As I understand it, descriptive relativism, acknowledging that there are very many disagreements about morality, ones which are often practically intractable, feeds into moral skepticism. As I'd ...
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What is value, for Nietzsche?

What is value, for Nietzsche? He's often claiming we should decide (make?) our own values, but it's not clear what that word means. Is it enough to have a genuine sense of preference for something? ...
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Is the normative value of linguistic usage a counterexample to the impossibility of deriving " ought" from "is"?

I really believe that one cannot derive " ought" from "is". But the case of linguistic usage causes me some intellectual trouble. (1) Linguistic usage is a simple fact. (2) Linguistic usage ...
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What is moral particularism if there are no morally perfect persons?

Moral Particularism, at its most trenchant, is the claim that there are no defensible moral principles, that moral thought does not consist in the application of moral principles to cases, and ...
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Are deontologists arguing against virtue ethics, and if so does it matter?

This question got me thinking. If deontology and virtue ethics are not reconcilable but in direct competition with each other, does that mean that in arguing for one we are arguing against the other? ...
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Can we measure "braverity" objectively?

By saying "bravery/courage", we implicitly mean a hard task that we wouldn't do it in daily life, and we have to sacrifice something to get it - we are scared. It is, after all, just a cost-benefit ...
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A Ground or Foundation of Morality

I am currently reading the very fascinating paper Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law by Arthur Allen Leff. It seems that the thrust of his paper is that there is no "naturalistic" way of grounding or ...
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Is Nietzsche 'power' neither value neutral nor practical?

Main question Is Nietzsche 'power' neither value neutral nor practical? Subsidiaries that I considered in asking it If so, how can it be demarcated from the object of philosophy, generally enough ...
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Can you argue against a moral absolute by saying yes it's rational, but not practically so?

Can you argue against a moral absolute by saying yes it's rational, because it's true, but not practically so? So can you, in principle, coherently claim that it is true that not lying is good, and ...
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What are the most popular arguments against moral universalism, rather than for relativism or nihilism?

What are the most popular arguments against moral universalism, rather than for relativism or nihilism? I'm asking in case deontology is the only viable universalist ethics, because deontology seems ...
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Why did Nietzsche think that only the happiness of higher types mattered?

Why did Nietzsche think that only the happiness of higher types mattered? Was it due to some repulsion from normal people and their behaviours? Or was he just fascinated by greatness? I would assume ...
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