PHIL 2380 Jan 9 2014
Study of people’s ethical beliefs
Practice of selfless concern for the well being of others
Most of this course
Tries to determine what actions we should take
Attempts to identify, justify, and apply ethical judgments to the world we
Attempt to understand the metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and
psychological presuppositions and commitments of moral thought, talk,
Looking at questions that challenge the ways in which moral theory is
Before we can decide anything about ethics, we look at metaethics to see
some of the problems that arise when looking at ethical systems
Is morality a matter of taste more than truth?
Are moral standards culturally relative?
Are there moral facts?
How might moral facts be related to other facts?
How do we learn about the moral facts, if there are any?
The Euthyphro Problem
Plato examines (challenges?) the claim that all moral knowledge about what is
right and wrong comes from God
Was forced to ingest poison, accused of corrupting the youth
Socrates: relearn everything; knowledge is remembering
One of the first metaethicists asking where knowledge comes from and
why we “obey” it
But what gives God the authority to dictate moral concerns?
On what grounds is his moral authority absolute?
How do we know which morals to accept?
There is not one specific moral claim or premise that is universally
We cannot experience it through the senses
This is a problem for other knowledge as well
Religious beliefs, mathematical principles, etc.
There are no universal moral truths
Family lineage Approaches in Metaethics
LOOK AT THE CHART
Fact: What is/can be known
Garbage landfills are bad for both the environment and those who live
Value: What ought to be
“In a perfect world”
We should aim to reduce the landfills near human populations