Kant's Moral Argument

Kant's Moral Argument

Introduction to Meta-Ethics Learning Objective: To express an understanding of the term meta-ethics To explore the relevance of meta-ethical study To explore the difference between realist and anti-realist views of ethical language Year 13 Ethics: 4. Ethical language Meta- ethics Cognitive and non- cognitive uses of language Realism and Anti- realism Language as factual or symbolic The nature of ethical assertions Emotivism and Positivism

Evaluation of the emotivism approach The relationship between religion and morality 5. Deontology, Virtue Ethics and the works of scholars A comparison of Kant and Aristotle Kantian deontology Aristotelian virtue ethics Strengths and weaknesses of the theories 6. Medical ethics: Issues in medical ethics with a focus on beginning and end of life debates beginning and of the embryo and value of life. Religious and secular views.

end of life issues Status Assisted dying, euthanasia, palliative care. Religious and secular views. Strengths and weaknesses Example assessment material 3 papers Philosophy Ethics Religion 8, 12, 10, 20, 30 mark questions 2 hours each paper Example assessment material Example assessment material

What is Meta- ethics? Normative Ethics Descriptive Ethics Applied Ethics Meta- Ethics What is Meta- ethics? Meta-ethics: (beyond-ethics) This is sometimes called philosophical ethics. Metaethical studies focus on the meaning and function of moral language. This means looking at exactly what the it means to say that something is right or wrong, good or bad. It looks beyond the words to consider what, if anything, they refer to.

Many philosophers argue that normative ethics is pointless unless you have defended a meta-ethical approach. In order to determine what constitutes good or bad (normative ethics, such as utilitarianism) you must first consider whether we can define what morality is and thus what we mean when we say that an action is good, bad, right, wrong, moral or immoral. Understanding moral terms: What does it mean to say: Murder is bad Violence is bad Genocide is bad

Greed is bad Consider the ethical claims above and write down your own definitions of the terms good and bad. What does it mean to say: Giving to charity is good Modesty is good Generosity is good Loyalty is good Meta-ethical considerations: As we go through each of the following questions, note down both the question and your initial response to it: What is the meaning of moral terms or judgements?

- What does it mean to define something as good? - What does it mean to say X is good or Good is X? How may moral judgements be supported or defended? - On what grounds do we make the claim X is good? - Is it supported by factual evidence? - Is its truth shared by others? - Is it universal? - How do we know the claim? What is the nature of moral judgements? - What is going on when we say X is good? - Do we mean it is functionally good or morally good? - Are we recommending it as

an action or commanding it? - Is this statement objective/subjective? Relative/ absolute? What is Meta-Ethics? Meta-ethics is not concerned with answering all of these questions that is the role of normative ethical theories. Rather, it is concerned with asking these questions so as to explore whether or not it is possible for ethical language to be meaningful. Task: 1. Read through the extract from the textbook 2. In your own words explain why it is difficult to define moral terms. Cognitivism VS Non- Cognitivism

Complete the true/ false worksheet. Which statements were the easiest to identify as true or false? What is different about these statements? Cognitivism: The belief that moral facts can be known objectively. They are valid propositions which must be truth- apt ( they can be proven to be true or false). Non- Cognitivism: The belief that moral facts cannot be known as they lack truth-value (they are neither true or false).

Cognitivism: The belief that moral facts are capable of been known objectively. They are valid propositions which must be truth- apt ( they can be proven to be true or false). Non- Cognitivism: The belief that moral facts cannot be known as they lack truth-value (they are neither true or false). Moral- Realism: The view that there are

objective moral facts and values which exist in the world independently to our perception of them. Moral Anti-Realism: The view that there are no objective moral facts and values that exist independently of our perception of them. Either they do not exist at all or are mind-dependent. Key terms: Check your understanding COGNITIVE NONCOGNITIVE

REALIST ANTI-REALIST FACTUAL SYMBOLIC ABSOLUTE RELATIVE 1. Read through the set of key terms 2. Separate them into two groups HINT: start with the terms we have just discussed. 3. Read through the definitions

4. Match them to the appropriate key word ANSWERS: COGNITIVE The belief that moral facts are valid propositions which must be truth-apt. NON- COGNITIVE The belief that moral facts cannot be known as they lack truth-value. REALIST The view that there are objective moral facts which exist in the world independently to our perception of them.

ANTI-REALIST The view that there are no objective moral facts and values that exist independently to our perception of them. FACTUAL Refers to the belief that (ethical) language makes factual claims that can be verified or falsified. SYMBOLIC Refers to the belief that (ethical) language points beyond itself to express something. ABSOLUTE

The belief that x is fixed for all time and all people. RELATIVE The belief that x can vary depending on place, time, culture etc. Plenary: Decide whether each of the beliefs below are cognitivist or non-cognitivist: It is true to say that the grass is green because I can see it with my own keys To say that abortion is wrong is just to say that you disagree with abortion. Murder is wrong because it possesses the property of wrongness To say that murder is wrong is to express a distaste for murder.

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