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Explain what is meant by the term meta ethics

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Introduction

Explain what is meant by the term meta-ethics Meta-ethics is the term used for discussions about the nature and validity of ethical statements. Meta-ethics is a branch of ethics used to try to describe the meaning of words such as good, bad and other words used in ethical debates. Meta-ethical questions are about the validity of ethical questions, or how 'good' should be defined. Firstly there are normative ethics. These were mostly used until the end of the nineteenth century. Normative ethics is where actions are assessed according to ethical theories. Normative ethics decides how people should act and how moral choices should be made. Normative ethics asks which things are good and which things are bad, what kind of behaviour is right and which is wrong. A question that would be a normative ethical question would look something like this; "is sex before marriage right?" a normative statement presents the listener or reader with clearer ideas about what is held to be right or wrong. There are also descriptive ethics. ...read more.

Middle

The other approach is ethical non-naturalism. Having this approach you believe that good cannot be defined in terms of looking at something in the world and comparing it to that, like naturalists do. In other words, non-naturalists believe that ethical statements cannot be described by non-ethical ones. G. E. Moore is one of the most well known non-naturalists. Together with David Hume they believed that you cannot define 'good' in terms of some more basic fact or idea, and that values were applied to facts, not discovered among them. Ethical non-naturalism does not deny the meaningfulness of ethical statements but points out that they cannot be defined or proven by reference to facts. G. E. Moore also developed the idea of intuitionism and that we all know what good means because we have an intuition which lets us know what is good and what is not. He believed that 'good' was the quality that things possessed, but it wasn't a quality that could be defined, yet it was a quality that we all naturally recognize and understand. ...read more.

Conclusion

This meant that both religious and ethical claims were meaningless, because they were neither a priori nor a posteriori. A J Ayer also tried to explain what the term 'good' and 'bad' means. He named his theory emotivism. He believed that ethical language was meaningless, and that saying something was 'good' was basically saying that they approved of it, and saying that something was 'bad' was saying that they disapproved of it. He believed that there is no factual evidence, because it is based on people's emotions and personal values. There is also prescriptivism. R. M. Hare suggested that moral statements were actually doing more that expressing a personal value; they were suggesting that other people, in similar situations, should apply the same value and follow the same course of action. In other words to say that something is right or good is to recommend that other people do it. This theory is called prescriptivism because it prescribes a course of action. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aleks Plesniak ...read more.

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