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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81 views

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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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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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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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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Is our general level of abstraction in ethics hypocritical?

We have come to discover that a high level of serotonin (the leadership chemical, and what falls during depression) improves one's ability to think abstractly. Some of our greatest gains in thinking ...
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42 views

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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60 views

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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Choosing a topic/question for a bachelors thesis

Next semester I’ll be writing my bachelor thesis within the subject of Practical philosophy. This will be my first big original essay within philosophy and I know picking a good subject is key. I’ve ...
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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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Is there an empirical system of ethics?

Most (universal) ethical systems which I have encountered come up with some kind of a priori rule (e.g. "maximize happiness and minimize pain", or the categorical imperative) and then apply that rule ...
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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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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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Are there laws which govern minds?

After much discussion of my question, How could 'objective morality' be known/investigated?, I've come to think that two earlier questions must first be asked: Are there laws which govern how any ...
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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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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 reasons ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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 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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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 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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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 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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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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'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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...