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

Examine the different ways in which good is used in meta-ethics Anything people approve of must be good Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Examine the different ways in which 'good' is used in meta-ethics "Anything people approve of must be good" Discuss. Meta-ethics is the part of ethics which investigates the true nature of ethical statements and its other properties. It questions what it is to be morally right or wrong. Meta-ethics goes into two categories; these being cognitivism and non-cognitivism. Cognitivists or Natrualists say that moral statements describe the world. If I were to say that murder is wrong, then the cognitivist would say that I have recognised an asset of wrongness to the act of murder. Whether or not murder has an asset of wrongness is objective, therefore this statement is either objectively true or false. However Ethical Naturalism states that 'good' can be defined, therefore an action is able to be found 'good' or bad by studying the empirical evidence and weighing up all the facts, hence moral statements can be verified and falsified. They also base their views on that on that good is found in fulfilling the purpose of the object, this is based on the Aristotelian views. ...read more.


People's views vary, for example some by claim that they instinctively know that that taking drugs is wrong, but others may disagree. This seems to show intuition comes from social conditioning and how one is raised, rather than having a priori knowledge of 'good' and 'bad'. Thus, meaning that ethical and moral intuition varies between different cultures and backgrounds. On the other hand, some other ethical theories suggest that we don't gain or have this 'moral intuition' we learn how to deal with moral dilemmas intellectual, moral and cardinal virtues in Virtue Ethics; or in Kantian Ethics we act throughout a sense of duty and reason. Cognitivists believe that 'good' is what we can prove to be a result of empirical evidence, so when we bring all the facts together the end result shows that it is 'good'. Emotivism is a branch of Cognitivism which was brought about by A.J Ayer, in Emotivism he suggested that by making a moral statement one is expressing the personal feelings and within them are trying to persuade others to do as they are with that moral statement; he believed that analytical and synthetic statements are the only significant statements. ...read more.


Hare would then say that if people are approving of this action then the action is 'good'. Overall, contained within Non-cognitivism; Emotivists and Perscriptivists both believe that the word 'good' is subjective and is way for us to prescribe or persuade our opinions onto others, therefore giving the word no objective moral truth. The statement "Anything people approve of must be good" can be discussed by Cognitivists; they would look at whether or not people would approve of action as empirical evidence. They would not agree with this statement due to the fact may be seen to others as wrong, or may cause some sort of pain, and may stop the fulfilment of a purpose. G.E Moore states that by proving ethical statements commits the naturalistic fallacy, which is that the word 'good' cannot be defined by using natural facts. This idea by Moore is based on work by David Hume who said an is cannot result from an ought, in conclusion Moore and Hume would disagree with the above statement; as we cannot define the word 'good'. Moore believed that 'good' is an unanalysable property in which we use to describe what we know from our moral intuition (Intuitionism). ...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 Philosophy 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 Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Situation ethics

    3 star(s)

    on a partner will satisfy you and the person you are cheating with but will not have the best outcome for your partner and possibly you in the long run. "The absolute law of love is not a law."3 Not everyone may be bothered to ask what love means or

  2. Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is an unfair system of ethics which could not work in the ...

    even in situations in which that doesn't bring about the greatest pleasure for me- such as when I'm in a traffic jam- because that will ensure the greatest good when everyone acts in such a way. I should never lie because, as a general community rule, lying doesn't bring about the greatest good for the community.

  1. "Religious Language is meaningless." Discuss.

    that there are grounds for believing in a Celestial city (symbolizing an afterlife). This theory is a reasonable account of how religious language is based on truth and trust. However, it does not answer any logical questions like "is there really an afterlife?"

  2. Our freedom to make ethical choices is an illusion Discuss

    He chooses to stay in the room, believing he has chosen freely. In reality, he has no option. However, his ignorance of this gives him an illusion of freedom. Paul- Henri Thiry also agreed with this view, a "man who thinks himself free, is a fly who imagines he has power to move the universe."

  1. "Religious experience must be true because there is a common core to them all" ...

    Yet to be less cynical perhaps they genuinely did experience the same occurrence and this should be the test of its authenticity. Other forms of religious experience include visions, revelation, prayer, auditory experiences, miracles and mysticism. Within Catholicism images of the Virgin Mary are common such as those in Lourdes, France and Knock, Ireland.

  2. Free essay

    Natural Tendency to do Good. Being around different people can make a human ...

    There were people around that had addictive criminal thinking where it clouded my mind and was ultimately making me not choose the most logical choice to progress in life positively, rather negatively. These people that were indirectly giving influences toward my life, that fostered an environment that made it seem

  1. Discuss the usefulness of studying philiosophy.

    The above skills are essentials when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of Philosophy, and one will never be able to fully appreciate and understand Philosophy without having at least a fair amount of these skills and a grasp of how to think critically.

  2. Ethical language is meaningless. Discuss.

    This does mean that ethical statements can be based on emotions; however, these are not merely arbitrary, but rather based on our experience of the world and how we want it to be. As he saw ethical statements as not only expressions of emotion, but also the result of attitudes

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