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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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Is Occam's Razor sufficient for describing a logic of wants? [closed]

Let us examine the notion, first, of suicide. I assume that the question of whether or not suicide is justifiable is predicated on a logic of wants, specifically one that implicitly utilitarian; for ...
evwqq's user avatar
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Why would the ideal observer make moral judgements?

Ideal observer theory states that an action is morally right/wrong if a theoretical, impartial, ideal observer has a positive or negative attitude towards said action, and that moral claims express ...
edelex's user avatar
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The ethics of “pulling out”

This might seem trivial, but it’s earnestly been on my mind, so I do want to use it as an opportunity for philosophical learning. Abortion is to me a very complex philosophical topic. I’ll only focus ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
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2 answers
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Hume's Guillotine

I struggle to understand how logic doesn't validate the deduction of a moral judgement that's not present in the first premise, even if we add a second premise? I might not be profound upon the matter,...
Saad Sameer's user avatar
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2 answers
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Can obligations be substances/objects?

Background idea: H. A. Prichard's following thesis: Prichard’s second argument is equally idiosyncratic. We can have an obligation to do an action long before the action is done. If so, the ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
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Classifying the ethical characteristics of entities by cognitive properties, non-human-specific

I am wondering if any theorists have developed a way of classifying entities by their cognitive properties in order to build general theories such as ethics, based on such properties. It should ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
209 views

Can moral theories be "elegant" or beautiful or sublime?

It is often said that mathematics has some (peculiar) sort of beauty to its name. Whether beauty attaches as such primarily to the notation/style of mathematical writing, or to the interplay of the ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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How does the quasi-realist claim that the claim to moral mind-independence is a moral claim work?

As part of metaethical quasi-realism, a noncognitivist (expressivist and projectivist) position which attempts to justify the use of realist language without committing itself fully to cognitivism or ...
edelex's user avatar
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Is it possible to steal what a person does not believe he owns?

Expanded question: A theft is here defined as a wrongful taking. To steal is to do a theft. Suppose a hypothetical theft of X does not impede the ability of the hypothetical owner of X to exercise ...
g s's user avatar
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Is psychological egoism, or some other descriptive theory about some inescapable pattern of human nature, compatible with normativity?

Can true normative statements exist if our behaviour is determined by some uncontrollable process? If we can only act in our self-interest, is the norm 'you ought not kill' reasonable to hold someone ...
edelex's user avatar
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Do companions in guilt arguments wrongly assign the burden of proof to the antirealist?

Proving the existence of epistemic normativity might pose issues for some arguments for antirealism, like the queerness argument, but it doesn't seem like sufficient proof. There is one ground on ...
edelex's user avatar
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Can erotetic logic be used to devise a noncognitivist moral realism?

The IEP article on moral realism says that noncognitivist realism is logically possible, but goes on to assess the one attempt at such a position (Bruce Waller's) thusly: Waller’s divide-and-conquer ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
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Does saying "a morally good singer is a morally good person" undermine Geach's attempt to undermine Moore?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Peter Geach used the infelicity of statements like, "A good singer is thusly a good person," to try to show that G. E. Moore's sense of the word "good" ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
163 views

A problem regarding an impermanent hell

Regarding the Abrahamic hells, one could say that they are absolutely terrible for it is suffering without end, an eternal suffering; but there is a puzzling different type of hell or hells, those of ...
Rayyan khan's user avatar
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What meta-ethics is most commonly associated with 'hard determinism'?

Since moral responsibility seems to require free will, hard determinism implies that people are not morally responsible for their actions. So what exactly does that imply about supposed moral ...
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Does the private language argument conflict with monotheism?

This blog post opposes the PLA to unitarianism (the belief in only one divine person), which is mostly a parochial, intra-Christian objection that, if generalized over other religions, seems like it ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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Relativist or not, if harm is objectively bad, is that sufficient for mind independent values?

I suspect that harm is objectively bad, but I'm unsure whether the negative value of what is harmful is mind independent, because while I cannot take seriously any claim that, relative to me or not, ...
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According to which meta ethical theories are only some things permissible and everyone is right about what is permitted?

Can someone give a run down of the popular ways of thinking about ethics and which meta-ethical theories claim that only some things are permitted? I've read a couple of SEP articles on ethics, ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Would an extremely unified being be able to issue more than one particular command?

Suppose that there is an actus purus, a being that is entirely active, impassible (nothing happens to this being), and which has no proper parts (its only part is itself entirely), not even abstract ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
3 votes
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Physicalist Critiques of Error Theory

Mackie’s Error Theory makes two parallel arguments that moral qualities have no place in a naturalistic understanding of our universe. That (1) such a bizarre epistemic power unlike any other we ...
Hokon's user avatar
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If we used √OB and √𝓐 operations, could we have a demi-is/demi-ought proposition that bridged full "is" with full "ought"?

The insight that the teleological ethicist seems to have is that final causality is a type of the moral law in the Kantian sense (from the second Critique): ... the moral law has no faculty but the ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
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Does the Introduction of Teleology into Ethical Discourse Solve Hume's Is/Ought Problem?

For Hume, no one could describe objective reasons for thinking that a man ought to do something generally, becuase there was no way to derive an ought from an is. But, if a classical view of causality ...
jaredad7's user avatar
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Open Self vs. Closed Self/Society Distinction

In political philosophy and cultural studies, certain thinkers from the twentieth-century stand out for their reliance upon distinguishing between open and closed selfhood. It is a long-running theme ...
Paradox Lost's user avatar
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Does the claim of an is/ought gap presuppose relevance logic (at least for morality-talk)?

Imagine Hume's remarks but with reference to the usual disjunction introduction: In every system of conjunction, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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Is Aquinas' ethics a case of a supererogation-first system?

Section 2.2 of the SEP article on modal epistemology differentiates possibility-first from necessity-first systems. Per modal logic, one can take these as metaphysical readings of the order-of-...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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A restriction on an action-language

Suppose that it is possible to "construct" a language where individual virtuous actions can make a referential contribution, sequentially in concerto, so that different patterns are ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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1 answer
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If Zalta objects exist, would there be a contingently abstract obligation?

One of the posits of Zaltaesque object theory (let's call it that, since there is something vaguely Kafkaesque about logicist realism) is that for every set of assertible encoding relations there is ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
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Understanding meta ethical judgement in nicomachean ethics

I'm reading Nicomachean Ethics's penguin classics version and the introduction section contains this paragraph and I'm having some trouble understanding this. From what I've read so far I understand ...
atin's user avatar
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Is my understanding of projectivism correct?

From Miller's An Introduction to Contemporary Meta-ethics: "Emotivism is a form of projectivism: when we use 'is wrong' in an evaluative judgement [...] we are treating 'wrong' as if it is a ...
Sam's user avatar
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How can projectivism explain the ban on mixed worlds?

The following is from section 4.2(b) of Miller's Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics. Supervenience says that if two acts, events, or situations share the same naturalistic properties, then they ...
Sam's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
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Can moral dilemmas be resolved in an amoral way?

By a moral dilemma I mean a situation in which there are multiple possible courses of action (or inaction) each of which leads to different outcomes and the agent has to choose which one to take. The ...
rus9384's user avatar
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Good literature on the implications of philosophy of mind for ethics?

It seems to me that positions in philosophy of mind have implications for ethics that most of the literature I have read does not explore. Some examples: Does mental externalism imply torturing a ...
Noah Mancino's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is the ideal agent the ideal observer?

Is the ideal agent the ideal observer? Without googling it, I mean the former is the best moral agent, and the latter some meta-ethical (can't recall what meta-ethics) abstraction that judges everyone'...
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1 vote
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Under which meta-ethical theories can we forfeit any rights?

I don't mean "human rights", which has a question already. I suppose that not all rights are human rights, though that may not be the case: I think people may actually have a right not to be ...
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8 votes
15 answers
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Is it logical to seek revenge?

People believe revenge or "violence" to be illogical, impractical and immoral; illogical because the "violence" is executed in impulsive rage, impractical because the wheel of &...
ActualCry's user avatar
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Would objectivist utilitarianism be considered to be a form of moral absolutism?

Wikipedia defines moral absolutism as the view that "there is at least one principle that ought never to be violated". Does this mean that even someone who holds morally objectivist ...
Probably's user avatar
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4 votes
5 answers
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Can non-agents be moral or immoral?

Human children and non-human animals are denied moral status or equal consideration with human adults due to their lack of consciousness, reason or autonomy They are not moral agents or subjects of ...
ActualCry's user avatar
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What's wrong with aretaic consequentialism?

What problems does it face, either as a classification of Buddhism or as meta ethical theory in general? Another approach [to how to classify Buddhist ethics] is aretaic consequentialism, an indirect ...
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1 vote
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Is the set of all good things incommensurable with the sets we use the natural/related numbers for?

Suppose that there is a set of all good things, and that it is well-founded. Then it would not be an element of itself, i.e. would not be a good thing. Maybe it would be hypergood, but maybe it would ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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In divine command theory, is there anything malum in se? Or in other words, is there a distinction between malum in se and malum prohibitum?

In Divine Command Theory, is there any distinction between malum in se and malum prohibitum, when it comes to divine commandments (as opposed to human defined laws)? For example, I would see failure ...
kutschkem's user avatar
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What is the name of the philosophy that believes one should do whatever they want?

The philosophy in question believes: You only live once, and you have predetermined desires from your genetics and environment. If these desires are not fulfilled as short-term or long-term goals you ...
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1 vote
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Does Kant read the is/ought question in a way different from the "normal" reading?

First, to quote Hume: In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
366 views

Are there any philosophers who argue for a non-utilitarian moral realism from phenomenology?

What I have in mind is a non-utilitarian alternative to Sharon Hewitt Rawlette (a summary from a podcast) which would propose something like: Morality is objective because moral facts are equally as ...
Probably's user avatar
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Why is the argument of companions in guilt in moral realism no cosidered meaningless?

The argument of Companions in guilt is meta-ethics says: Even if there is no rational reason to think to think that something is ethical, that is irrelevant because there is no rational reason to ...
Rieke's user avatar
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Why does the infamous is/ought problem fail to defeat the claim that objective morality exists?

In a comment to the question Astronomical Waste @armand put Utilitarianism is a moral theory trying to codify "what people should do" type of questions. As such it can't really be refuted (...
Rieke's user avatar
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Taxonomy of the Ethic Theories

I have read some about ethics, and I would like the most compressible possible taxonomy of ethics. Is to note that by my previous research I have identified the following dichotomies: Dentological/...
Erdel von Mises's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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Is there such a thing as a moral statement?

Logical positivists, notably A.J. Ayer, have stated that there is no such thing as a moral statement. In his example, saying the words "you acted wrongly in stealing that money" are ...
Yorick's user avatar
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If moral nihilism doesn't imply right or wrong, why is the common response filled with vitriol along the lines of "you must think murder is okay"? [closed]

If nothing is right or wrong, then murder would be neither right or wrong. If you're a moral nihilist, "morality" ultimately just becomes a set of wants and a matter of preference for the ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Nietzsche's model of sociality in the ubermensch

As I understand it, Fredrich Nietzsche-- at least in the latest works he had scribed before his death-- was neither an advocate of antisocial nor prosocial passions. How he professes this position is ...
Jackson's user avatar
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Does Moore's Open Question Argument beg the question?

So as I understand, Moore's Open Question Argument can be formulated like this: -- I. If x is the same thing as y, then the question "I know it's x, but is it y?" would be meaningless II. ...
Jacob Sloat's user avatar