PHIL 240A.  HANDOUT #9:  MORAL EMOTIONS AND MORAL NON-COGNITIVISM

 

 

1.  METAETHICS = Theories of the meanings of normative moral terms and statements.

 

2.  COGNITIVISM with respect to moral discourse = Moral statements (i.e., particular moral judgments, moral rules and moral principles) make reports or claims that are either true or false.

 

3.  NON-COGNITIVISM with respect to moral discourse = Moral statements are neither true nor false; they are rather expressions of:  sentiments (Hume), or emotions (e.g., Ayer’s Emotivism), or attitudes (e.g., Stevenson’s Attitude Theory), or commendation or condemnation (e.g., Hare’s Prescriptivism). 

 

4.  MORAL ANTI-REALISM (METAPHYSICAL RELATIVISM WITH RESPECT TO MORALITY) = No moral judgments are true—that is, no particular moral judgments or moral rules or moral principles are true—because there are no objective moral standards or objective moral truths.  There are two varieties of moral anti-realism:  (a) Cognitivist Anti-Realism:  The view that all moral statements (i.e., all particular judgments, rules, principles) are false.  (b) Non-Cognitivist Anti-Realism:  The view that moral statements are neither true nor false. 

 

Strict Universality:  To claim that morality is strictly universal is to claim that there are fundamental moral principles that apply to all rational beings.

 

Historicism:  A historicist about morality claims that because moral principles and judgments are the result of a process of historical development, none are strictly universal.

 

Conventionalism:  A conventionalist about morality claims that moral principles and judgments are merely the product community agreement; none are strictly universal.

 

CONTRAST BETWEEN THE JUSTICE AND CARE PERSPECTIVES IN ETHICS

 

JUSTICE PERSPECTIVE

CARE PERSPECTIVE

PARADIGM:  CONTRACTS

PARADIGM:  CARING RELATIONSHIP (e.g. Parent-Child Relationship)

EMPHASIS ON

EMPHASIS ON

1.  REASON and LOGIC

1.  EMOTIONS

2.  EXPLICIT PRINCIPLES

2.  RESPONSIVENESS TO

     SITUATIONS

3.  IMPARTIALITY

3.  PARTIALITY

4.  FAIRNESS

4.  COMPASSION, SYMPATHY OR

     EMPATHY

5.  AUTONOMY

5.  INTER-CONNECTEDNESS

6.  RIGHTS/OBLIGATIONS

6.  RESPONSIBILITIES

7.  GOVERNS RELATIONS

     AMONG EQUALS

7.  GOVERNS RELATIONS AMONG

     UNEQUALS

8.  COMPETITION (CONFLICTING

     INTERESTS)

8.  COOPERATION (COMMON INTERESTS)

9.  SELF-RELIANCE

9.  TRUST

 

 

TWO COMMUNITARIAN VERSIONS OF THE EUTHYPHRO QUESTION

 

For a moral statement statement S (e.g., the statement that torturing children is wrong) made in a community C in which there is general agreement that S is true/appropriate:  Is S true/appropriate because the community agrees that S is true/appropriate; or does the community agree that S is true/appropriate because S is true/appropriate? 

The Normative Cultural Relativist version uses the word "true" wherever there is a choice.

The Communitarian Non-Cognitivist uses the word "appropriate" wherever there is a choice.

 

            TRUTH/APPROPRIATENESS MAKING ANSWER:  S is true/appropriate (if it is true/appropriate) because the community C agrees that S is true/appropriate.  (Agreement among the members of C makes S true/appropriate.)

 

            TRUTH DETECTION ANSWER:  Where S is true, the community C agrees that S is true/appropriate because S is true.  (The community detects (though not infallibly) the truth of S.)