20

This is a good question, and it's one people have known and thought about for a long time. The problem is so old that it has gone through several different formulations. What Einer writes above is great, so +1 to him for that, but there's a few interesting bits and possible arrangements that I want to add in. The Euthyphro version is a debate about whether ...


12

Moral Realism isn't a clear term. The way the survey is set up, some constructivists could label themselves under it. (I've also heard of terminology that puts Moral Relativism under Moral Realism, so then things get really strange.) But it'd probably still be popular without that. So why's that? I'd argue it's because the literature on it is vast and, also, ...


8

No, you are not missing anything. This is a rather old problem known as the Euthyphro-dilemma. It has two possible scenarios: Something is wrong because God says so, or God says so because it's wrong. In the first scenario "before" God said it is a sin, it wasn't. There is no higher source of value, God could have used to model his laws after. He needed to '...


8

For Kant, morality only applies to rational beings. At some points, he will use the word "humanity" as a synonym. Thus, if we look at the second group of formulations of the categorical imperative we find: Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at ...


7

The problem Nietzsche has with herd mentality is that it is unexamined. If one has examined ones own morality alongside the moral virtues of the herd, concluding that those herd moralities best suit one's life, one is not really following herd morality any longer. Instead I would say that the individual has chosen a set of moralities that happen to be ...


6

I, contrary, think that you are actually missing something, and so are the other answers except CCarter's answer. (That's a pity one needs over 50 reputation to comment, as it would be more suitable I guess....) What I consider a flaw of any discussion like Eythyphro's dilemma, is the constant change of problem level we are talking on and the lack of ...


5

The answer to your question depends on what approach you're taking. Unfortunately, we over in the English department tend to ignore philosophical classifications and take up our own. Being that the qualia of the novel builds itself into a personal, introspective narrative, a literary critic (and I would have to agree, given the agreed set of terms in ...


5

You can do this if you can demonstrate factually what the purpose of morality is. Let's assume that you can. Then any of these work: (1) Premise: the purpose of morality is to bring you closer to God. Fact (demonstrated through scripture, let's say): God does not want you to cheat on your wife. Conclusion: It is immoral to cheat on your wife. (2) ...


5

There are three key concepts involved in Objectivism when tackling the is-ought problem. They are "Man" (referring to mankind, but in terms of the individual person), "Value", and "Morality." Understanding these concepts, in addition to every concept upon which they depend as Objectivists define them, will help you understand how Objectivism dispenses with ...


5

I found a paragraph in Parfit's On What Matters that gives a definition of "substantive normative claim": There is another way in which some people have come to accept subjective theories about reasons. We can call some normative claim substantive when this claim both (a) states that something has some normative property, and (b) is ...


5

There's a few different things going on in your question. If we focus on, But I think that an ethical statement such as "murder is wrong" is actually a psychological statement about how (the vast majority of) humans conceptualize murder. In other words, "murder is wrong" means "If you ask people whether murder is wrong, the vast majority will say yes." ...


5

I think you're doing something interesting here, but you need to be more careful to distinguish between moral epistemology and moral metaphysics. And the word "objective" is not always your friend in making this distinction. Let's go through it piece by piece: Moral nihilists argue that moral standards cannot be objective to the extent that moral truths ...


5

I'd say that the general overview can be taxonomized relatively well. There's even reasonable flowcharts, like you'll find in Alex Miller's Contemporary Metaethics (see here). For general introduction, a short standard paper would be Finlay's overview. For constructivism, Street has an overview. Miller's and Fisher's introductory books are supposed to be ...


5

Moral realism I take to be broadly the view that moral judgements can be true or false, that some are true and are known to be true. There has been an upsurge of interest in and sympathy with moral realism among philosophers since roughly the mid-1970s. I account for this on three grounds : ▻ the decline of empiricism ▻ the phenomenology of the moral life ▻...


4

I'll focus on your Question 2 about the popularity of emotivism among contemporary meta-ethicists, and maybe the answer to 3 follows from it. Most contemporary anglophone meta-ethicists are moral realists and cognitivists (see below), but a specialist could speak better to the distribution of particular views in the subfield. As for popular morality (...


4

I don't see a path all the way out, but there's a lot more to do to define which bits of what we call ethics can be put on solid objective footing and which bits are matters of style (where anything may work, or where any of a number of different schemes may work). Studies of innate morality and evolution of morality are particularly interesting in this ...


4

What you're asking is a question about Metaethics. See this SEP article. The position you're taking is some form of non-factivism or anti-realism. As stated, your view is ambiguous over VERY many possibilities. Here is the entry on Moral Anti-Realism. As you're reading through that article you can look at some of the related entries like Moral Relativism. ...


4

The theist position is that the source of morality is not arbitrary. In general, and to side-step Eythyphro's dilemma, theists consider God to not just be good, but to be the very essence of good. Naturalists, on the other hand, have to rely on naturalistic justifications for moral definitions. Does this type of behaviour improve human well-being? Does it ...


4

I think you're winding up feeling this conundrum because you may be confusing moral anti-realism with a denial of the existence of moral claims in our discourse. I can't remember the last time I read an article by Sharon Street, so I cannot comment on the truth of the claim in question. Cognitivism, in this context, is the view that there is a truth value ...


4

One way to put the difference is that Emotivism and Quasi-Realism differ in how a reasonable person should interpret the moral claims of others, like "stealing is wrong." If Jill says "stealing is wrong," a reasonable person should, according to: an Emotivist, treat that statement as merely an expression of Jill's feelings about stealing, comparable to "...


4

Like Jo, I'm going to start with your third question, because it has the clearest answer. In Religion within the Bounds of Reason Alone, Kant makes the very point you suggest in your second formulation of your third question, that those who need to believe the moral law comes from God are depending on a moral crutch and "fetish faith" (Religion 6:192-193) (...


4

Background In recent scholarship, there's been a lot going on about what was called "Divine command theory" (DCT). Some of it interacts with an earlier literature about voluntarism with relation to God's will. Recently, Robert Adams has been a major advocate of DCT whereas Mark Murphy supports a distinct view called "divine will theory." ...


4

The Tractatus actually says nothing about Kant except some comments on the distinction between left and right in space. This is easily verified by searching any on-line copy of the work. As to what other works by Wittgenstein say about Kant or the absolute I refer to Conifold's comment on the question. As to what you might infer about the kantian absolute ...


4

Democratic ethics - Habermas' discourse ethics Rawls certainly offers one approach to a democratic ethics. I'd like to suggest another approach, that of Habermas. In the tradition of critical theory (Adorno & Horkheimer, 1997), Jorgen Habermas's main aim has been to construct a theory focusing on an analysis of advanced capitalist industrial ...


4

The terminology of hypothetical and categorical imperatives is rather specific to Kant. Roughly, hypothetical imperatives give commands conditioned on one’s purposes (if you wish to succeed in life study hard, etc.), while categorical imperatives are unconditional, absolute. The problem with authentic examples is that according to Kant “There is therefore ...


3

It would be interesting to have some passages to compare from these authors that you speak about. I too would say, intuitively, that they can't mean exactly the same. So I put my head into some books (not really) to see what I can come up with. I do not find my finding interesting enough to earn a bounty, but nonetheless I prefer to share. What I did find ...


3

The idea that there is one fixed concept of either duty or obligation is probably in doubt, but there could probably be drawn a distinction in, say, Kantian philosophy. Kant in his Critique of Practical Reason states the following (in his typical, idiosyncratic way): [Concerning human agents], therefore, the moral law is an imperative, which commands ...


3

There are some truly superb answers to this question and I feel somewhat under read to contribute but I feel like there's been one point that has not been mentioned in the answers and that is the question of the very nature of right and wrong. From what I can tell from having listened to some of these same debates, the problem posed by the theists, is not ...


3

I don't think it is necessarily relativism. The way I've heard this discussed before is that the virtue of Prudence mediates between two desirable things that are in conflict - this is something that all ethical frameworks must deal with. A specific example I've heard: (this is from a talk by Robert Barron, can't claim credit) It is good to go to work It ...


3

The name of the field that compares moral systems and asks question about the nature of ethics in this way is metaethics (SEP entry). There's three related meta-ethical questions that affect the answer to your question: Is there moral realism or not? Assuming it exists, can we have access to this moral reality? Assuming it exists and that we have epistemic ...


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