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Examine different ways in which ‘good’ is used in Meta Ethics.

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Introduction

Examine different ways in which 'good' is used in Meta Ethics. In the modern degrading society we live in today, people are constantly questioning the highly debatable topic of morals. We would like to think that we are trying our hardest to strive to do what is right in society to make us decent people. However it is hard to do what is 'good' when there are so many different ways of defining the meaning of good itself. There are three main types of ethics, Descriptive, Prescriptive and Meta ethics. Descriptive ethics presents the facts in the way people live and how they make moral choices in life. It simply states the facts without making any moral judgement of 'good' or 'bad'. Prescriptive ethics states the norm about what is right or wrong by examining the choices and the reasons behind the issues. It says how we should live or behave setting standards for everyone to live by. This is the most widely used form of ethical language when debating morality. Meta ethics is a philosophical analysis of different words used in ethical language. It closely examines the words themselves and their exact meaning in different contexts. The subject of Meta ethics is to intimately study the moral language to be able to reach a better understanding of its meaning. ...read more.

Middle

Relative terms are the direct opposite of absolute terms. When something is relative, it totally depends on the specific situation it is in. It is also dependent on people's personal opinions. Everyone views situations in their own way, which is slightly different to everyone else. It all relies on what you believe it to be in your own individual opinion. The term 'good' therefore can only be determined in its particular context. This is also known as Subjectiveness, for example euthanasia or fighting for a cause you believe in are two examples of relative situations of doing a 'good' thing. There are several theories' we can look at in which the term 'good' is used in Meta ethics. The first of these is the utilitarian theory of good. According to this theory, a term is determined as being good pending the results of a specific moral act. For example, if we were in the situation where we had to kill one person to save the lives of thousands of others then this would be seen as 'good'. This is because although the sacrifice of one life is not 'good' in itself alone, because it saves the lives of many more it is seen as the greater 'good' because it is the lesser of two evils. ...read more.

Conclusion

The phrase 'good' will have a certain meaning not only for different situations but also for different people. Many people can observe an act but they may disagree as to whether the act was good or not depending on their conscience and opinion. Intuitionism means it has a distinct meaning for you. G E Moore gave the example of the colour yellow, we cannot define a colour, we may be able to give examples of things that are yellow but to give an actual definition of yellow is quite impossible. He believed that we should judge the goodness of an action based on its results, aiming to maximise 'good' in the world. He was a strong intuitionist, which involved the belief that within us we have a "moral faculty" which reveals "moral truth" to us, showing us what was morally 'good'. Another focal area of Meta ethics, which involves language, is Emotivism or ethical non-Cognitivism. Emotivism is sometimes viewed as merely the expression of feelings of the speaker. They can be seen more as commands or rules the speakers wants its audience to follow. These feelings are the opinions of the speaker saying what they believe to be right or wrong and are dependent on a matter of taste. The term 'good' is accordingly defined depending on what the speaker believes to be right. They state a moral preference of what they do or do not approve of and not the core meaning itself. ...read more.

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