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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2answers
15k views

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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6answers
537 views

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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How could 'objective morality' be known/investigated?

We humans have not always believed in objective reality, or at least we have not always believed that reality is rational without any discernible bounds. For, the instant that reality ceases being ...
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8answers
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Does the existence of psychopaths pose a problem for moral realists who argue we have a moral intuition?

Psychopathy is not universally agreed upon in psychology, but among some there is a consensus that psychopathy is highly heritable, and that psychopaths are lacking in conscience and empathy. ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
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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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7answers
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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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3answers
909 views

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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4answers
361 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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7answers
375 views

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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2answers
190 views

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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Kant's need of God [closed]

My main issue is not the understanding of the text in question, it really is a question about his conception in general: Kant defends the idea of God by hypothising a "supreme (original) good", ...
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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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3answers
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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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2answers
538 views

Is there a moral motivation?

If, as a psychologically 'normal' human being, I find acts that I would call 'immoral' to be repugnant (and my gut response to immorality 'feels' different enough form aversion to, say, eating ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
36 views

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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3answers
420 views

Is moral value intrinsic, or just non-accidental?

It seems most moral philosophers say that morality needs intrinsic value Intrinsic value has traditionally been thought to lie at the heart of ethics. Philosophers use a number of terms to refer ...
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2answers
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Are ethics subjective? [closed]

I made a claim that ethics are completely subjective; that there is no one correct answer to a question in the form of: Is insert activity or behaviour here ethical or not? It was suggested that I ...