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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 it possible to logically derive moral statements from factual statements?

Yes, this is essentially the is-ought problem posed as a question. The reason I am asking however, is that I have so far found absolutely no satisfactory arguments for this being the case anywhere ...
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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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Moral 'ought' and the Principle of Generic Consistency?

Late philosopher Alan Gewirth introduced the Principle of Generic Consistency, or the PGC, which says that moral agents ought to respect the generic rights of freedom and well-being because they are ...
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Can philosophy ask questions about what is moral or immoral without deriving the answer from a meta-ethical theory like deontology?

Can philosophy ask questions about what is moral or immoral without deriving the answer from a meta-ethical theory like deontology? So can e.g. philosophy say that murder is wrong, even argue for it, ...
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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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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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Is there an advantage of a theistic account in terms of being able to define goodness?

I have been watching some debates about the existence of god, such as Peter Singer vs. Dinesh D'Souza, or Christopher Hitchens vs. John Lennox. On the religious side, one argument comes up ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Democratic ethics - sources for system of ethics determined by democratic principles

Ethics can be seen as a purely social construct, and so being determined by the powerful in the society (John Stuart Mill takes such a view in On Liberty). This view can also be further advanced to ...
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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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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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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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'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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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How fatal is Rands error in tackling Humes is-ought distinction?

Rand calls her philosophy Objectivism as she declares this moral philosophy is wholly & entirely rational and that the world has an objective character: It is out there. Hume, on the other hand ...
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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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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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Does practical moral skepticism end up as relativism?

Harman (2000a) argues that a moral judgment that a person ought to do X (an “inner judgment”) implies that the person has motivating reasons to do X, and that a person is likely to have such ...
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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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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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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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Does the ethics of a society determine whether or not something is ethical?

And how does this relate to the Ancient Greeks' definition of ethics? I'm quite confused... If the ethics of a society does dictate whether or not something is ethical doesn't that imply that the ...
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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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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 ...
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According to Kant, Is it ethical to prevent someone acting unethically against ones self?

My intuition seems to say yes, however I'm not quite sure how to go about reasoning about this. I'm particularly interested in evaluating this using the first and second categorical imperative. I ...