• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the different ways in which the word "good" is used in meta-ethics.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

a) Discuss the different ways in which the word "good" is used in meta-ethics. Meta-ethics is the branch of moral philosophy which looks at the ways in which people use the language or morals, asking questions about what we mean when we call something 'good' or 'wrong'. Meta-ethics is the term we use to describe the language of morality. Meta-ethical philosophers try to work out what we are doing when we use moral language because if there is no agreement about the meaning of ethical language, then ethical debate is pointless and will never achieve anything. Do we know something to be good, or do we believe that it is good? Are we talking about facts or values when we use the language of morals? ...read more.

Middle

Ethical naturalists believe that it is equally possibly to establish morals facts and non-moral facts by looking at the evidence. G.E Moore had a cognitivist view on ethical language. He believed that it is still possible for us to decide whether a moral statement is true or false, even if we cannot use our powers of observation to give us the answers. He said that moral and ethical language cannot be defined through facts, if you want to find the goodness of moral actions you can find it through intuition or 'instinct'. We use our moral intuition and although we cannot explain how we know when something is good, we do still recognise goodness when we see it, we just know it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Where as if Stevenson were to say 'X is good', he would mean, 'I approve of X and would like you to do so, too', indicating that we use persuasive definitions and are not just expressing out feelings, but also persuading the feelings of others. Prescriptivism, still a non-cognitivist view, but is another approach to emotivism. It was developed by R.M Hare, his view declared that when we make moral statements, we a re not only expressing out feelings but are encouraging others to share our attitudes. We are prescribing out opinions, recommending that our listeners adopt our approach. If Hare were to say, 'X is good' he means that, 'I prescribe X to myself and everybody else'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. "Examine the different ways in which 'good' is used in meta-ethics."

    Intuitionism holds that we should pick out our moral principles through what we think or feel. There is no definition of good that can always hold true. For example, if someone were to define good as 'pleasing', an Intuitionist would respond by pointing out that not all pleasing things are good.

  2. Virtue ethics is of little use when dealing with practical ethics Discuss.

    not always have a view about what makes an act right or wrong. Therefore I would argue virtue ethics is of little use when dealing with practical ethics. Rosalind Hursthouse believes in Aristotelian framework for her virtue ethics, even though she does not agree with all of Aristotle's conclusions.

  1. "Religious ethics are not the best approach to environmental issues". Discuss.

    generations, do not act in a way that damages the environment" is a hypothetical imperative and is therefore conditional and does not demand action. Following this logic Kantians may argue that we have no moral obligation to care for the environment.

  2. Business Ethics

    Each of the major professional association for accountants has a code of ethics. Although ethical standards in accounting were always an issue in business the general public did not really pay attention to the issue in hand. Nevertheless recent events have brought the issues to the publics' attention, because some companies have not used full disclosure in their financial reporting.

  1. Religious Ethics are not the best approach to environmental ethics'. Discuss.

    himself as he looks to the consequence, which denotes it as a hypothetical imperative and therefore immoral. He also decides on moral action using formulations of the categorical imperative; 1. universalisability, where no contradictions can occur. Kant did not intend his theory to be used as an environmental ethic as it was not relevant at the time.

  2. The Ethical Debate Concerning Cloning.

    THE FORMULATION OF THE CHURCH'S STAND Throughout its history, the Orthodox Church has dealt with controversial issues by a process which addresses the "mind of the Church." When an issue arises for which there is no clear-cut, widely and readily acknowledged tradition, and about which there is honest divergence of

  1. Explain what scholars mean when they say that ethical statements are no more than ...

    This began a debate on whether religious and moral language really was meaningful or not. If we take the example of proving the existence of God, logical positivists would say that because we cannot prove His existence using the senses, any discussion relating to religion, or belief is meaningless.

  2. How are religious and ethical principles used in the abortion debate?

    Personhood in this respect develops over time. We cannot therefore point to a moment when someone becomes a person. This may act as a support for those who deny the foetus personhood, yet a strict application of personhood to

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work