Those supporting these points have been 19th century philosophers A.J Ayer and Antony Flew however their argument is apposed by those who believe it is meaningful as we simply do not know how to falsify the language. At the heart of this argument stood John Hick as he defined religious language as ‘believing in something and experiencing something’. Logical positivists thought up the concept of the verification principle in the 1920’s while in Vienna. Spearheading this movement was British philosopher A.J Ayer (1910-1989) and his argument was that in fact religious language is meaningless due to the lack of empirical evidence. He said that a proposition is meaningful if and only if it is known how we can prove it is either true or false.
Kant’s view uses a categorical imperative, in which ethics is based upon an absolute, objective, deontologcial theory, in which intentions are more important than consequences. Kant believed that an ethics should be based around something entirely good. He decided that the only thing entirely good in the whole universe is ‘good will’. Everybody must decide ethical decisions in a way in which they put themselves last, fulfill their duty, and commit only selfless acts. This may be psychologically impossible, as many believe there is always a selfish reason for any good deed, however Kant only proposed a theory, and
AJ Ayer in his book “language, truth and Logic” outlines what is commonly called the “emotivist” approach to ethical language. This approach supports the idea that ethical language is subjective. Ayer suggests that unless propositions and use of language is analytic or synthetic, such propositions carry no cognitive meaning. This approach to philosophical and ethical language (the concern of Analytic philosophy) was called the “verification principle” and was a development of David Hume’s work, “Hume’s fork”. Ethical statements, Ayer said, cannot be verified analytically or synthetically so the truth of such phrases is unknowable and the language used is non-cognitive.
However, if this link between religion and morality is criticised, then there are sufficient grounds for secularist and atheistic ways of life. Why is religion needed when it is not the source of moral guidance? Two famous critiques of the link between religion and morality are the Euthyphro dilemma and the many critiques od Richard Dawkins against religion. Both essentially come to the same conclusion; that we do not need God to be good. The basic concept of religion and morality, especially divine command theory, is very simple: what God commands is good, therefore only do that.
The claim that ethics only expresses cultural values represents an argument for the moral relativism. The moral relativism means “our values are determined by the society we grow up in, and there are no universal values” (Van de Lagemaat, R., 2005, P367), while such a certain society stands for a certain culture. That is to say, “moral values are simply customs or conventions that vary from culture to culture” (Van de Lagemaat, R., 2005, P367). However, is it a suitable method of the moral relativism to decide whether something is ethical? Here is the real life situation.
We promote goodness and happiness using nature and experience, we can work out thus, that murder, for example, is wrong because committing murder does not cause happiness. Ergo, Ethical Naturalism produces universal laws which can be used as a benchmark to measure our own and other people’s moral conduct. Meta-ethics on the other hand believes that no ethical language is universal and objective. Non-naturalists and non-cognitivists such as Cambridge philosopher G. E. Moore believe that ethical language is subjective, as by claiming that they are objective is committing the ‘naturalistic fallacy’. This states that it is a mistake to define ‘good’ in terms of things that exist (natural properties) that we already
However this is an unrealistic expectation for Kant to think. This is because we may all value moral faculty based on reason but not everyone uses this ability. This is unrealistic because Kant is assuming that all humans are the same. This also follows on to the fact that all humans are different but Kant says that humans are aware of our categorical ought. This is unrealistic because although we maybe aware of our categorical ought i.e we should not steal and lie however people still do this.
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
Off the Precipice into the Gorge: Why Utilitarianism Can’t Save Us Introduction In his article, “A Critique of Utilitarianism” Bernard Williams is concerned that consequentialism has found plausibility in people’s minds due to a misunderstanding of and negative reaction to non-consequentialist theories.  Though he does not offer an alternative ethical theory, Williams successfully takes on the project of exploring how utilitarianism and those who uncritically embrace it have accepted an unworkable standard for defining right actions. Williams offers a unique and penetrating thesis: to define right action only by reference to whether it produces a good “state of affairs” necessitates a fundamental clash between an agent’s moral character and that allegedly right action.  In its attempt to compensate and maintain viability as a moral theory, utilitarianism smuggles into its calculus the agent’s non-utilitarian-based moral feelings. For a conscientious observer, this double standard should seriously cause him to question the ability of a consequentialist perspective to prescribe satisfactory moral understanding and guidance.
To say that a child cannot have reason but state that what separates man from animal is reason is contradictory. Aristotle's characterization of the human good and happiness and the flaws within it are written as follows: Aristotle argues that there is some ultimate good that is both complete and self-sufficient, and defines this good as happiness. He claims every human action aims at some good, and the good that is chosen for its own sake rather than as means to an end is the highest good. However, he does state that we do choose some goods for something else,