Those who oppose cognitivists are called non cognitivists and they believe that when someone makes a moral statement they are not describing the world, but they are merely expressing their feelings and opinions, they believe that moral statements are not objective therefore they cannot be verified as true or false. In this essay I will be discussing the multiple branches of cognitive theories and non cognitive theories in order to answer the Janus-like question whether or not moral statements truly hold objective meaning. Ethical naturalism is just one branch of a cognitive theory in which naturalists believe that ethical statements are the same as non-ethical ones, meaning they are all factual and can
G.E Moore argued against Ethical Naturalism as he believed that defining concepts such as ‘good’ are impossible and any attempt to define ‘good’ is to commit The Naturalistic Fallacy. The Naturalistic Fallacy is one of the main criticisms of Ethical Naturalism and would therefore suggest that ethical language is not very meaningful as it cannot be correctly defined. Moore believed there are moral properties, so ethical language is not completely devoid of meaning but it is limited as ‘good’ is a non-natural property which cannot be defined. Moore disagreed that ethical language could prove whether something is moral or
From this Moore claimed that it is impossible to derive an ‘is from an ought’. This criticism became known as the naturalistic fallacy. In addition to this G.E Moore claimed that naturalism was not able to stand up to the open question argument. ethical naturalism claims to be based on moral facts, it would therefore seem logical that these facts should stand up to scrutiny. Yet, if we observe that pleasure is good, we should be able to ask is good pleasure.
Of the remaining criteria we might consider, only sentience―the capacity of a being to experience things like pleasure and pain―is a plausible criterion of moral importance. Singer argues for this in two ways. First, he argues, by example, that the other criteria are bad, because (again) they will exclude people who we think ought not be excluded. For instance, we don't really think that it would be permissible to disregard the well-being of someone who has much lower intelligence than average, so we can't possibly think that intelligence is a suitable criterion for moral consideration. Second, he argues that it is only by virtue of something being sentient that it can be said to have interests at all, so this places sentience in a different category than the other criteria: "The capacity for suffering and enjoying things is a prerequisite for having interests at all, a condition that must be satisfied before we can speak of interests in any meaningful way" (175).
In this essay, I seek to critically discuss whether resolutions provide a better explanation of the weakness of the will than the traditional/ Akrasia account or not. I will achieve this by briefly explaining what the traditional account is and also what the resolution account is. Furthermore, I will explain the advantages of Holton’s approach and also give reasons why Holton’s argument succeed which will be accompanied by a rebuttal. The Akrasia traditional approach merely states that a person is weak-willed if they act against their best judgement. If one judges A to be the best course of action, why would one do anything other than A?
But does this strictly subjective understanding of ethical language and statements accurately reflect what is going on when we use such language? C.L. Stevenson recognised that whilst ethical statements could not be proven or “verified”, when we use ethical terms we do so
Some people believe that culture is a way that morality can be established, but morality differs from culture to culture. In Doing Ethics, Lewis Vaughn talks about cultural relativism and lays out an argument for it. In the second premise it states “If people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, then right and wrong are relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles” (Vaughn 26). He makes it clear that he does not support this premise and explains his points as to why this is false. Cultural relativism is the idea that the moral principles someone has are solely determined by the culture one lives in.
Moral Relativism cannot and does not accept the idea that an objective moral system exists. If it did, you could evaluate other ethical systems meaningfully. A moral relativist would ask such questions as ‘what do we mean by wrong?’ when making a decision on something deemed wrong. Relativism is in direct contrast with absolute morality that is deontological, referring to looking at the action in itself. A moral relativist would believe that there is no definite set of rules that apply universally.
In defense of Kant, I would start by pointing out that the formula of universal law is only the first one of the formulations he gives of the categorical imperative. It would be unfair to judge the whole of Kant’s moral theory by the incompleteness of the formula of universal law. As I understand it, Kant continued with the other formulations at least partly because because he recognized that the formula of universal law seemed incomplete as the sole categorical imperative. One problem with the formula of universal law seems to be that it can generate a contradiction (and so be a morally impermissible action to take) for something which actually isn’t a moral concern. This is an issue that has been raised by others, but now I’ll formulate a more personal example to illustrate this problem.
In other words, truth is an illusion. Similarly ethics and morality are social constructs. In other words, faith becomes more important than science or logic. The central tenets of Postmodernism includes elevation of text and language as a fundamental phenomena of existence, questioning of reality as represented because of inherent flaws in language, and a general critique of western institutions and knowledge (Kuznar, 2008). It is evident that there is a fundamental tension between the two world views.