• 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. Discuss some of the issues raised in Meta-Ethics. How convincing is the view that, ...

    Ethics and ethical language, the study of which 'Meta-Ethics' is part, can be split into three distinct branches: descriptive, normative and meta-ethical. On the one hand, descriptive ethics describes the way we live and the moral choices we happen to make.

  1. Business Ethics

    Is it really necessary to be ethical? Would being partially ethical be the same as being ethical? If an accountant was threatened by a gang of strangers to modify the accounts in order for them to embezzle a sum of money otherwise his family members would be harmed, worst case

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

    He said that if, for example I say 'abortion is wrong', I am really announcing how I feel about abortion, i.e. that I disapprove of it. Even if I give numerous reasons as to why I believe abortion to be wrong, such as 'the foetus is a living being and

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

    Eg courage is the mean, between the tow vices coward and foolhardy. Aristotle said the mean is not the same for everyone and depends on circumstance and therefore you need to apply practical wisdom. Some people would disagree with Aristotle's golden mean; they say that virtue ethics seems to praise

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

    This interpretation of Christian ethics is more useful when approaching environmental issue as it recognises the need for a more responsible attitude. It has been suggested that Christian Ethics is too anthropocentric and views the earth only in terms of how it can benefit human beings.

  1. Explain what is meant by the term meta ethics

    Those things that bring pleasure are considered to be 'good' and those that bring pain are considered to be 'bad'. "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure." Bentham also believed that all humans pursue pleasure and seek to avoid plain.

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

    In his contribution to the person debate, Singer acknowledges that the foetus may be defined as 'an innocent human being' but denies the subsequent premise, that 'it is wrong to kill and innocent human being.' Essentially, the foetus is innocent and human, but is not a person of value or status.

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