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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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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'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
870 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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62 views

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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797 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
515 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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485 views

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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180 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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183 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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213 views

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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165 views

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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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
170 views

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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175 views

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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645 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 ...
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330 views

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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557 views

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 ...
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Does the existence of moral truth imply its objectivity?

I'm studying ethics and I have Shafer-Landau's fundamentals of ethics. I'm familiar with moral realism and moral skepticism. Moral skepticism is divided into ethical relativism and moral nihilism. ...
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Why does rationality + free will necessitate an objective morality for Kant?

So, I'm trying to tackle Kantian Ethics, and I would like to think that I know the most of it but I have some confusions So, what I understand of Kants ethical system is that a) We are rational ...
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252 views

About Socrates' notion of “good”

In Aristotelian terms, is the "good" of Socrates a secondary substance (a universal) or, in Parmenides's terms, is it a being? Which definition (interpretation) of the Socratic "good" describes it ...
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984 views

What reasons does Mackie argue for expressions of value being objective?

What reasons does Mackie argue for expressions of values being objective? I think that his book A World without Values argues that values are objective, but that values cannot be objective (they ...
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142 views

Does one ought to be ethical?

Are there any "objective" arguments for that one ought or ought not to be ethical?
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How can moral realism be defended against the fact that morals and values change over history?

Moral realism or moral objectivism is a the view that moral values and statements are facts that are independent of the person who is uttering them. For example the statement "Killing is bad" is ...
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396 views

Moral value and secondary qualities

I'm reading Mackie, Blackburn and McDowell at the moment on secondary qualities and values, and having great difficulty understanding what their precise arguments are. Mackie seems to be saying that ...
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106 views

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 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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Can moral behaviour be based on a lie?

If knowledge implies justified belief, as is traditionally supposed, then skepticism about justified moral belief implies skepticism about moral knowledge. However, even if knowledge does require ...
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Is Nietzsche's goal to find an intrinsic good in what he does?

Is Nietzsche's goal to find an intrinsic good in what he does? So not "amorality" for its own sake, or rewilling what you've done because of the utility, for yourself, of its consequences. Those two ...
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Can moral objectivism be reconciled with the fact that some unethical behaviors are “human nature”?

A constant argument I've been hearing recently is that people should be forgiven for engaging in unethical behavior if it is "natural" for them to do so. Examples: It's natural for people to be ...
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235 views

Moral realism: Can the Bible be a reliable moral guide for an atheist?

Assume both atheism and moral realism are true. Can a religious text, such as the Bible, still be a reliable moral guide? Or do the religious aspects invalidate the entire text? To put this another ...
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111 views

What besides ethics might make the value of a person?

What could determine the value of a person in a similar way to how I imagine (because of a vaguely Christian upbringing I guess) their ethical behaviour does? I'm interested in any sort of ...
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164 views

What did the Tractatus (really) say about Kant's absolute / in itself value?

(The A to Z of Kant and Kantianism, pg. 31) Do we not need philosophy, in the wake of religion (apologies for my lack of grounding in that huge literature on Wittgenstein's 'way of life'), to find ...
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321 views

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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For Kant, are spider moms that eat their kids immoral?

When we talk about morality, do we mean to say morality for human beings? It is morally bad for human mothers to eat their newborns. Black widow spiders females eat some of their newborns after ...
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Are moral theories arbitrary?

So far, I've concluded for me that moral is only based on axioms. And those axioms are essentially arbitrary as the axioms in mathematics are. Hence, I've to choose my axiom system, e.g. be an ...
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Could we take the fully rational and fully informed idealized agent that Peter Railton talks about as God, to give a theistic metaethics?

Recently, I finished Alexander Miller's book "An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics." After reading about Peter Railton's reductionism, I wondered if it would be possible to take the agent which ...
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Can one believe in Divine Command Theory without the Bible?

If one believes that there is a God and that He created the universe, it would seemingly follow logically that whatever God commands is moral (and whatever He commands not to do is immoral). For ...
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173 views

Can we act immorally if we believe it is irrational?

I read this very short article from SEP on the topic of practical moral skepticism. Practical moral skepticism answers the common question, “Why be moral?” This question, like many philosophical ...
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What is the root reason for Nietzsche calling Kant a “fatal spider”?

Antichrist p11. Why couldn't Nietzsche take the rough with the smooth, in Kant's moral philosophy? Does the categorical imperative have a perspective from which it's reasonable, ether for Nietzsche'...
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Is it possible to measure the “rightness” of moral thought?

Fifty years ago it was widely believed in Europe that homosexuality was an awful perversion that should be cured or, failing that, punished. A hundred years ago it was widely believed in Europe that ...