To What Extent Do Moral Statements Have Objective Meaning?

1790 Words8 Pages
Meta-Ethics is a branch of ethics which is concerned with the language that is used in ethical arguments. Many would say that if we do not know what we are talking about, then there is not point to ethical debate. This differs from normative which deicides whether or not something is bad or good and gives us a guide for moral behaviour. Meta-ethics is about normative ethics and tried to make sense of the terms and concepts used. The terms good and bad are used a lot in day to day sentences - but what do they really mean? Are we expressing opinions are are we stating a matter of fact? It’s important that we state what we mean by the terms ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in order to have a meaningful conversations. So do moral statements have objective meaning? The answer to this question will vary. Some people are moral realists and hold that moral facts are objective facts that are out there in the world, these people believe that things are good or bad independently of us. Moral values such as goodness and badness are real properties of people in the same way that rough and smooth are properties of physical objects. This view is often referred to as cognitive language. 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

More about To What Extent Do Moral Statements Have Objective Meaning?

Open Document