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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Was Nietzsche a non-cognitivist?

This 2012 article argues there is insufficient textual support for the claim that Nietzsche was a non-cognitivist -- that the role of the judgement in question is to express the relevant non-...
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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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99 views

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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107 views

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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65 views

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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116 views

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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118 views

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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Is Nietzsche an anti-realist about moral disagreement?

This question got me thinking: What is the difference between the Superman and the Ultimateman? As I understand it, moral anti-realism is the thesis that there are no moral facts outside the ...
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105 views

If people didn’t have a moral sense, would we still have enforced cultural moral codes?

Diverse, contradictory, and bizarre as they are, people commonly feel that everyone ought to conform to their culture’s moral norms and even feel violators deserve punishment, though perhaps that ...
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Defending the value of Moral Philosophy against Scientism

What are the best arguments against someone who believes 'Moral philosophy is useless, what we call morality is simply evolutionary instincts to do what we were designed to do as a species'. This ...
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157 views

Could Ethical subjectivism be classified as Moral realism if we include God?

For the sake of my question, God = "an omnipotent being". I am not referring to any specific gods that come from any past or present religions. Ethical subjectivism generally stands in opposition to ...
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Are prescriptions truth-apt?

Considering the presupposition that there are objective answers to prescriptions, are prescriptions truth-apt? My definition of a prescription is that it is simply an conditional. Example You ...
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3answers
147 views

Has anyone claimed that no decision is inherently better or more rational than any other decision?

The is-ought problem, for those who believe it is an actual problem, is the problem that you can not deduce an ought statement from any number of is statements. It seems natural for this to lead to a ...
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555 views

Proof of objective moral values [closed]

Definitions: Objective moral values= a particular moral action which you ought to do. 1)Someone makes the statement "There are objective moral values". 2)People respond and say 'there are no ...
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Are there contemporary adherents to this view about systemised ethics?

In some parts of the field of truth, no doubt, men who work by these divergent ways are apt as men to represent antithetical types. But over the whole field this need not be ...
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can a dog give consent?

We know consciousness requires a specific level of awareness. Many people view other life forms who have a lower level of awareness as having a lower level of consciousness. Thus consciousness ...
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Making Moral Judgement: Thick Concepts versus Normative Concepts

In G. E. Anscombe's article "Modern Moral Philosophy", she thinks that it is meaningless to make moral judgements such as something is right, wrong, permissible and impermissible. Secondly, she thinks ...
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Is there a hybrid between non-cognitivism and cognitivism?

Non-Cognitivism is the view that ethical sentences cannot be true or false (that they do not form propositions) and Cognitivism that it can. I hold to the notion that ethical sentences such as "...
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From ethical actions to ethical goals, from the Commandments/Beatitudes to the New Jerusalem? [closed]

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems (autonomous vehicles, autonomous decision support systems, autonomous humanoid robots etc.) are required to make ethical decisions and it is strong feature of the ...
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Does normative ethics apply to moral anti-realism?

Normative Ethics is often described as prescriptive. Do the questions posed by these ethical theories apply in moral anti-realist frameworks?
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4answers
284 views

'What to do?' versus 'Who to be?' and the focus of moral philosophy

In Normative Ethics, Shelly Kagan writes: I have suggested that the central question of moral philosophy as a whole, and of normative ethics in particular, is how one should live. I take this ...
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4answers
456 views

What good is it to ground morality?

What good is it to ground morality? It's a somewhat bad question. Philosophers like proving things. But, specifically, does it make me more moral if I can ground my moral values? What generated the ...
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1answer
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Does moral anti-realism preclude anyone from being a better judge of value?

It seems to me that moral anti-realism, by which I mean the view that no judgments of intrinsic value are true, implies that nothing is intrinsically better or worse. Does this preclude the idea ...
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546 views

Nietzsche’s despising of the herd

A question that I haven’t been able to answer: Nietzsche despised the herd and mentioned in many essays that we must reevaluate our ethics and the set of moralities Christianity has provided us (not ...
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4answers
392 views

Is it possible to be ethical subjectivist and realist at the same time?

I assert that people say something is right/wrong only basing on their desires. They do not want X to be done, either under particular circumstances or any. Desires, indeed, are real. Therefore, moral ...
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What makes moral realism so popular a standpoint?

According to wikipedia page on moral realism: A survey from 2009 involving 3,226 respondents found that 56% of philosophers accept or lean towards moral realism (28%: anti-realism; 16%: other). ...
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Is there any author that argues for radical moral pluralism?

Let me first clarify what I mean with "radical" here. While many modern authors, if not all, accept moral pluralism of sorts, all that I know of express either the hope, if not the conviction, that ...
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174 views

Into what category does following view place me in moral philosophy?

At first, I believe the statements like "Pete is wrong" and "Mike acts in a bad way" have some cognitive value. At first glance, this puts me to ethical cognitivism. But at the same time I think the ...
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154 views

Instrumentalist value theory. Is it morally nihilistic? Is it science?

I could not give a better name for this theory, so I call it "Instrumentalist value theory". According to this theory nothing is intrinsically valuable. Nothing and no one can be treated as ends, but ...
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Is Kant's postulate of the existence of God a metaethical assumption?

Also, I would like to get some bibliographical reference about Kantian metaethics.
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Who are the representatives of Michigan and Rutgers ethical naturalism?

I am writing an excursus on contemporary naturalism for my thesis. In fact, after a brief introduction to the subject of moral philosophy and to ethical naturalism, I will analyze the Duke manifesto "...
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A taxonomy of Meta-Ethics (Reference Request)

On the accounts of many Doctors of Philosophy specialising in Meta-Ethics, the philosophical landscape is notoriously hard to taxonomise. What are the best comprehensive guides to Meta-Ethics. I have ...
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What is the exact relationship between empathy and evil?

In common parlance, we label people who lack empathy as "evil". That is, people who commit acts of evil because they cannot put themselves in the shoes of their victims are seen as evil. Why is this? ...
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Diagram of Ethics theories

In an introductory class in ethics that I am taking, each student needs to select a philosopher, read up on him/her, write a report, lead a discussion, etc... It's a big part of the class. Few if any ...
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Can the idea of “imperfect” categorical imperatives be used without 'duty'?

Can the idea of "imperfect" categorical imperatives be used without 'duty'? So that e.g. I can say that something has an intrinsic value, and not hypothetically, but it is always valuable, even-though ...
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Do any moral realists say that subjective judgments also have moral truth?

Do any moral realists say that subjective judgments also have moral truth, such that unreal facts can oblige or permit us to act in a way that we really usually shouldn't?
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103 views

Do we need principles about every ethical decision / dilemma we have?

Do we need principles about every ethical decision / dilemma we have? I'm interested in an answer from any of the major ethical standpoint. And even ones inclusive to Marxism, either Marx's wish to ...
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What are some examples of categorical imperatives/universalizable maxims relevant to modern ethics?

I know this question has been widely asked, and that the answer may not be as straightforward as the question, which is partly why I'm asking. It's been a long time since I sat in a philosophy class, ...
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4answers
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Has any philosopher ever claimed that doing “good” things is not good?

Has any philosopher ever claimed that doing "good" things is not good? That may sound amusingly facile. And due to disagreement between what is "good" there's definitely something to say for its ...
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Can we have moral knowledge without intuition?

Can we have moral knowledge without intuition? I'm trying to justify my ethical beliefs, but can't do so without appeal to intuition.
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462 views

Moral Objectivism or Moral Relativism: which is true? [closed]

I haven't read or heard a single convincing argument for Moral Objectivism. One is that of convenience (so that moral statements can be logically evaluated leading to conflict resolution), which I ...