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Emotivism - Explain what scholars mean when they say that ethical statements are no more than expressions of opinion.

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Introduction

a) Explain what scholars mean when they say that ethical statements are no more than expressions of opinion. (33) Different groups of people have different opinions as to what moral statements are and how we arrive at them. Naturalists claim morals are part of the world and discovered using reason. Intuitionists believe we use our senses and consider the facts-intuition. However, emotivists believe moral statements to be nothing more than feelings and opinions. Some scholars believe ethical statements and moral judgements to be no more than emotive responses such as expressions of preference, attitude or feeling. It comes down to the 'Hurrah/Boo' theory. If I was to say, "Abortion is wrong", all I am really saying is that in my opinion, I believe abortion isn't right-"Boo to abortion". ...read more.

Middle

When they say they are no more than expressions of opinion, they mean that there can be no way in which we could verify the right or wrong of the statement." Murder is wrong" is merely saying that I disapprove of murder and therefore I think it is wrong. Logical Positivists are a threat to language and ethics because they undermine language. It makes all ethical language merely subjective and individual. A.J. Ayer was a logical positivist and he was interested in how you verify factual statements and how you cannot verify moral statements. He believes that moral statements have no objective validity whatsoever. Although we would say that stealing is wrong according to deontological ethics, Ayer would totally disagree and say there is no way of verifying the truth or falsehood of this statement. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believes that not all moral statements fall under the "Hurrah/Boo" theory as some are mixed as before. He also believes that all moral statements have cognitive meaning and emotive meaning. So, for example, "Sexual intercourse without the person's consent" is the cognitive meaning whereas "Rape" id the emotive meaning as it has more of an impact on the way you feel about an ethical topic. Stephenson believes there are these two different meanings because we want to steer people to our way of thinking. People have different ideas of the definitions of moral words therefore moral statements cannot be fact-only opinion. No ethical statement can be proved or disproved. One person may say "Laura is good"-maybe because of something she has done, however not everyone may believe that-it is a feeling or opinion and not fact. Monday 20th October 2003 Emma Ward 1 ...read more.

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