• 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.

    However I believe that one major difficulty is identifying the virtue, are they all culturally relative? In addition Virtue ethics does not seem to have room for basic concepts such as rights and obligations, so as a theory of ethics it seems incapable of dealing with big issues, it does

  1. Business Ethics

    Independence, on the other hand, refers to the need for accountants to have an attitude and exhibit exemplary behavior such as not to compromise their professionalism in carrying out their duties.

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

    A hypothetical imperative is dependant on an 'if', for example: "if you want to loose weight, take regular exercise" whereas a categorical imperative is absolute and unconditional. For Kant only categorical imperatives are true moral statements and demand action. The following statement: "if you care about humanity and its future

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

    Kant declares that only moral rational agents need moral consideration as 'ends in themselves' and we should exclude animals from moral worth which concludes it to be outdates and unsuitable to be used as an environmental ethic. Therefore, Kant's ethic is likely to be an unsympathetic approach and would probably lead to damage to the environment.

  2. The Ethical Debate Concerning Cloning.

    Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. These manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human beings and his or her integrity and identity.

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

    Similarly, if we think about the statement 'giving money to charity is good', from the angle of a logical positivists, we can say that this too has absolutely no meaning. Both these statements are neither 'a priori' nor 'a posteriori'; they are not mathematically logical or scientifically testable.

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

    This is clearly as odds with the Roman Catholic position, which seems to suggest that a fertilised egg qualifies as a person. However, Warren's argument is vulnerable; surely a foetus that is capable of surviving outside of the womb is entitled to moral rights?

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