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    • Meta-ethical theories that imply an empirical epistemology include:

      • ethical naturalism, which holds moral facts to be reducible to non-moral facts and thus knowable in the same ways; and
      • most common forms of ethical subjectivism, which hold that moral facts reduce to facts about individual opinions or...
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    What are meta ethical theories?

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  2. Metaethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) › entries › metaethics
    • General Observations
    • The Euthyphro Problem
    • Naturalism, Non-Naturalism, and Supernaturalism
    • Is/Ought and The Open Question Argument
    • Moral Epistemology
    • Morals, Motives, and Reasons
    • Freedom and Responsibility
    • Moral Principles and Particular Judgments

    The range of issues, puzzles and questions that fall withinmetaethics’ purview are consistently abstract. They reflect thefact that metaethics involves an attempt to step back from particularsubstantive debates within morality to ask about the views,assumptions, and commitments that are shared by those who engage inthe debate. By and large, the metaethical issues that emerge as aresult of this process of stepping back can be addressed withouttaking a particular stand on substantive moral issues that started theprocess. In fact, metaethics has seemed to many to offer a crucialneutral background against which competing moral views need to be seenif they are to be assessed properly. Some metaethicists early in thetwentieth century went so far as to hold that their own work made nosubstantive moral assumptions at all and had no practical implications.[2]Whether any view that is recognizably still aview about the nature and status of ethics could manage this isdubious. But there is no do...

    According to many, Socrates's position fits well withmorality's pretensions. It fits well also with the thoughtthat whatever standards humans might put in place are, one and all,liable to moral criticism. Of course, Socrates's positionbrings along a suite of puzzles concerning the nature of thesetranscendent standards. What is their origin and from where dothey derive their authority? Many have thought the right answers to these questions are found in anappeal to God. On their view, moral principles are the expression ofGod's will — they are His commands to us — and they gettheir authority from their source. In important ways, though, thismerely shifts the puzzles back a step. Whatever problems one mighthave making sense of eternal transcendent standards re-emerge whentrying to make sense of an eternal transcendent being who might issuecommands. And, as Plato emphasized in Euthyphro, one is alsoleft with the difficulty of explaining why God's commands areauthoritative. One plausible...

    One appealing feature of Glaucon's account of morality as a mutuallyadvantageous convention is that it renders morality's origin andnature non-mysterious. Moral facts, on this sort of view, emerge as nomore puzzling than facts about what is legal or polite. In each case,the standing of some behavior (as moral, or legal, or polite) dependson its conforming to, or conflicting with, various standards that havebeen put in place. Glaucon's account also makes clear why it is thatpeople might care deeply about morality's demands (even as they are,in their own cases, tempted to violate them when they believe they canwith impunity), since the relevant conventions are mutuallyadvantageous. Yet conventionalist views such as Glaucon's have real difficultiesfitting with the common idea that the fundamental principles ofmorality are universal. Conventions, after all, are contingentcreations that differ from place to place and come in to, and go outof, existence. Moreover, conventions seem liable...

    David Hume seemed to have these points in mind when he observed thatan ‘ought’ cannot be derived from an ‘is.’[5]There is substantial debate about just what Hume meant, and similarlysubstantial debate as well about whether he was right. But at leastpart of Hume's concern seems to have been that no set of claims aboutplain matters of fact (‘is’ claims) entail any evaluativeclaims (‘ought’ claims). That is, he seems to havethought, that one can infer the latter from the former only if, inaddition to premises concerning plain matters of fact, one has on handas well at least one evaluative premise. If, for instance, one infersfrom the fact that someone is feeling pain that something bad ishappening, one is at least presupposing that pain is bad. And thatpresupposition, in turn, is not entailed by any claims concernedsolely with plain matters of fact. If Hume is right, every validargument for an evaluative conclusion either includes or presupposessome evaluative premise. And, as a result...

    Anyone mounting such a defense needs to offer some account of how itis we might successfully justify one set of moral judgments as overagainst others. When we turn to morality, what counts as good groundsfor holding one view rather than other? What sort of evidence mightbe available? If Hume and Moore are right, no evidence that appealssolely to non-evaluative considerations will be sufficient (unless wepresuppose some principle of inference that connects non-moralpremises to moral conclusions). But if we need to rely on evaluativepremises or principles in order to infer substantive moral conclusionsfrom non-moral premises (e.g. non-moral premises regarding the impactof a course of action on pleasure or on the satisfaction of humaninterests), the question immediately arises, “How might wejustify these evaluative premises or principles?” One answer often offered is that, at a suitably abstract level, thereare premises or principles that everyone in fact accepts. Perhaps'Murder is wro...

    Among morality's distinctive features, all agree, is its apparentlyintimate connection to action. In making moral judgments, forinstance, we seem to be making a claim that, if true, establishes thatsomeone or other has a reason to act or be a certain way. This marksan important difference between moral claims and claims concerning,say, color. The claim that something is red is, even if true, onlycontingently connected to whether anyone has any reason at all to actor be a certain way. Whereas if a certain thing is morally good itseems that everyone necessarily has at least some reason (perhapsoverrideable or defeasible, but still some reason) to promote, pursue,protect, or respect it — at least if they recognize that it isgood. Moreover, many have thought, to judge sincerely that somethingis good (whether or not one is right) is to have some motivation(again, perhaps overrideable or defeasible, but still some motivation)to promote, pursue, protect, or respect it. Thus there seem to b...

    Making sense of how moral considerations might figure in practicaldeliberation is especially important when it comes to explaining whenand why people are responsible for what they do or fail to do. Someof that explanatory job is a matter of moral theory, not metaethics,and involves figuring out what counts as good excuses, legitimatejustifications, and appropriate burdens. A theory of moralresponsibility inevitably relies on substantive moral theory. Yet there are important metaethical issues bound up in giving anaccount of moral responsibility. They emerge most sharply as oneconsiders the nature and significance of free will. Doesresponsibility presuppose free will? If so, when does someone countas having a free will? It cannot merely be a matter of her will beinguncaused. After all, a person whose will was utterly random,responsive neither to her nor to the reasons she had for doing things,would be a person no freer (in the relevant sense) than a person whosewill was fully and dir...

    The history of moral theory is a history of attempts to identify,articulate, and defend general moral principles that serve to explainwhen and why various types of action, institutions, or characterscount as right or wrong, just or unjust, virtuous or vicious. Theassumption has consistently been that there is a general andprincipled account of morality to be given. And this assumption hassurvived the fact that few people think any particular set ofprinciples that we have actually succeeded in articulating, is fullyadequate. What explains the assumption? Why not hold, asparticularists do, that there may well be no set of general principlesthat adequately mark moral distinctions? Or, why not think, asskeptics do, that our repeated failures actually to identify fullyadequate principles shows that morality is a chimera? Wrestling with these questions returns one immediately and directly towondering about the nature of morality and the role it is supposed toplay in human life. What is it...

  3. Meta-ethics - Wikipedia › wiki › Meta-ethics

    Meta-ethical theories that imply an empirical epistemology include: ethical naturalism, which holds moral facts to be reducible to non-moral facts and thus knowable in the same ways; and most common forms of ethical subjectivism, which hold that moral facts reduce to facts about individual opinions ...

    • History of Metaethics
    • The Normative Relevance of Metaethics
    • Semantic Issues in Metaethics
    • Ontological Issues in Metaethics
    • Psychology and Metaethics
    • Epistemological Issues in Metaethics
    • Anthropological Considerations
    • Political Implications of Metaethics
    • References and Further Reading

    Although the word “metaethics” (more commonly “meta-ethics” among British and Australian philosophers) was coined in the early part of the twentieth century, the basic philosophical concern regarding the status and foundations of moral language, properties, and judgments goes back to the very beginnings of philosophy. Several characters in Plato’s dialogues, for instance, arguably represent metaethical stances familiar to philosophers today: Callicles in Plato’s Gorgias (482c-486d) advances t...

    Since philosophical ethics is often conceived of as a practical branch of philosophy—aiming at providing concrete moral guidance and justifications—metaethics sits awkwardly as a largely abstract enterprise that says little or nothing about real-life moral issues. Indeed, the pressing nature of such issues was part of the general migration back to applied and normative ethics in the politically-galvanized intellectual climate of the 1970s (described above). And yet, moral experience seems to...

    One of the central debates within analytic metaethics concerns the semantics of what is actually going on when people make moral statements such as “Abortion is morally wrong” or “Going to war is never morally justified.” The metaethical question is not necessarily whether such statements themselves are true or false, but whether they are even the sort of sentences that are capable of being true or false in the first place (that is, whether such sentences are “truth-apt”) and, if they are, wh...

    If moral truth is understood in the traditional sense of corresponding to reality, what sort of features of reality could suffice to accommodate this correspondence? What sort of entity is “wrongness” or “goodness” in the first place? The branch of philosophy that deals with the way in which things exist is called “ontology”, and metaethical positions may also be divided according to how they envision the ontological status of moral values. Perhaps the biggest schism within metaethics is betw...

    One of the most pressing questions within analytic metaethics concerns how morality engages our embodied human psychologies. Specifically, how (if at all) do moral judgments move us to act in accordance with them? Is there any reason to be moral for its own sake, and can we give any psychologically persuasive reasons to others to act morally if they do not already acknowledge such reasons? Is it part of the definition of moral concepts such as “right” and “wrong” that they should or should no...

    Analytic metaethics also explores questions of how we make moral judgments in the first place, and how (if at all) we are able to know moral truths. The field of moral epistemology can be divided into questions about what moral knowledge is, how moral beliefs can be justified, and where moral knowledge comes from.

    Although much of analytic metaethics concerns rarified debates that can often be highly abstracted from actual, applied moral concerns, several metaethical positions have also drawn heavily on cultural anthropological considerations to motivate or flesh-out their views. After all, as discussed above in section one, it has often been actual, historical moments of cultural instability or diversity that have stimulated metaethical reflection on the nature and status of moral values.

    In addition to accommodating or accounting for the existence of moral disagreements, metaethics has also been thought to provide some insight concerning how we should respond to such differences at the normative or political level. Most often, debates concerning the morally appropriate response to moral differences have been framed against analyses concerning the relationship between metaethics and toleration. On the one hand, tolerating practices and values with which one might disagree has...

    1. Adams, Robert. (1987). The Virtue of Faith and Other Essays in Philosophical Theology. Oxford University Press. 2. Altham, J.E.J. (1986) “The Legacy of Emotivism,” in Macdonald & Wright, eds. Fact, Science, and Morality. Oxford University Press, 1986. 3. Appiah, Kwame Anthony. (2008). Experiments in Ethics. Harvard University Press. 4. Audi, Robert. (1999). “Moral Knowledge and Ethical Pluralism,” in Greco and Sosa, eds. Blackwell Guide to Epistemology, 1999, ch. 6. 5. Ayer, A.J. (1936)....

  4. Metaethics | philosophy | Britannica › topic › metaethics

    Metaethics, the subdiscipline of ethics concerned with the nature of ethical theories and moral judgments. As mentioned earlier, metaethics deals not with the substantive content of ethical theories or moral judgments but rather with questions... A brief treatment of metaethics follows. For further discussion, see ethics: Metaethics.

  5. Metaethics | Definition of Metaethics by Merriam-Webster › dictionary › metaethics

    meta· eth· ics | \ ˌme-tə-ˈe-thiks \ Definition of metaethics : the study of the meanings of ethical terms, the nature of ethical judgments, and the types of ethical arguments

  6. Metaethics - New World Encyclopedia › entry › Metaethics
    • Metaethical Theories
    • History
    • References
    • External Links

    A meta-ethical theory, unlike a normative ethical theory, does not contain any ethical evaluations. Instead, metaethical statements are statements about ethics as such, and not about problems of ethics as those problems are commonly experienced. The major metaethical views are commonly divided into realist and anti-realistviews, despite the fact that some labels, such as cognitivism, do not respect the realist/anti-realist boundary: 1. Moral realism holds that there are objective values. Realists believe that evaluative statements are factual claims, which are either true or false, and that their truth or falsity does not depend on our beliefs, feelings, or other attitudes towards the things that are evaluated. Moral realism can be contrasted with moral relativism, which can also be called normative relativism. Moral realism comes in two variants: 1.1. Ethical intuitionism and ethical non-naturalism, which hold that there are objective, irreducible moral properties (such as the prop...

    Metaethical concerns and questions have been raised from antiquity. Plato asked how one would recognize the solution to a problem—and that would include a metaethical problem such as "What is Justice?"—unless one already knew the answer in some way. Plato also proposed answers to the questions, "Why should I be moral?" and "Can there be a universal ethics?" although he used different terminology for them; the Republic contains his attempts at answers to those questions. Aristotle too raised meta-ethical questions in his Nichomachean Ethics. Throughout the history of philosophy since then, any philosopher who has raised such questions as "Where do ethical norms or values come from?" "How could an ethical theory or norm be defended?" or any other from the list of questions given above—meaning almost every philosopher who has done work in ethics—has dealt with metaethics at least to some extent. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries philosophers dealt far more with metaethics tha...

    Aristotle. The Basic Works of Aristotle. ed. with introd. by Richard McKeon. New York: Random House, 1941.
    Ayer, A.J. Language, Truth, and Logic. London: V. Gollancz, First pub., 1936; Second ed. (rev. and reset), 1946; Also, New York: Dover Publications, 1952.
    Benedict, Ruth. Patterns of Culture. New York: Penguin Books, Inc., 1946.
    Berlin, Isaiah, Sir. Concepts and Categories: Philosophical Essays. ed. by Henry Hardy. with an introd. by Bernard Williams. Harmondsworth, Eng. and New York: Penguin Books, 1978, 1981. ISBN 014005...

    All links retrieved September 18, 2018. 1. Metaethics, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2. Fieser, James. Metaethics in the article "Ethics", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy 3. Hare, R.M. The Language of Morals, (1952), Transcribed into hypertext by Andrew Chrucky, July 2005. 4. Huemer, Michael. Ethics and Metaethics Papers

  7. Metaethics | Definition of Metaethics at › browse › metaethics

    noun (functioning as singular) the philosophical study of questions about the nature of ethical judgment as distinct from questions of normative ethics, for example, whether ethical judgments state facts or express attitudes, whether there are objective standards of morality, and how moral judgments can be justified Derived forms of meta-ethics

  8. Meta-ethics: An Introduction | 1. What Is Meta-ethics? › philosophy › ethics

    Meta-ethics is a major field of enquiry in philosophy. The 'meta' in 'meta-ethics' signifies 'above'. Meta-ethics is the attempt to answer questions about ethics. Philosophers working in this area are not so much concerned with what people or acts in particular are ethical.

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