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University of Toronto St. George
Tom Hurka

Monday, October 05, 2009 Emotivism/Expressivism-moral judgments can’t be true or false because they don’t express beliefs. They are nor just attitudes or commands like “mm donuts” or “shut the door”, Moral judgments differ in two respects: 1)they are universal-not just a negative attitude about lying for me, but towards lying by anyone in the world 2)the attitude of commands are categorical, they are not against lying just for people that have a negative attitude towards lying Expressivism doesn’t say that what is right or wrong depends on our attitudes. Lying would have been wrong even if I had a positive attitude towards it. Expressivism was initially developed to oppose the non-naturalism of Moore. It is supported by three arguments: 1)argument from relativity-disagreement exists 2)argument from scientific worldview(Ayer)-believed that what is real is what is learned about by science, if science can’t discover something ex. Goodness, then it doesn’t exist as a part of the world 3)argument from practicality/morality (Hume)-Beliefs never on their own motivate you to act. Moral judgments are intrinsically motivated, and express emotions; therefore they can’t be true/false. Moral judgments are practical, they tell you what to do. Hume’s Argument-moral judgments are intrinsically motivating, so that to believe x is right you have to have at least some motivation to do x. If you say x is right but have no desire whatever to do it, then your statement wasn’t sincere. No beliefs are intrinsically motivating, the mere belief that something is the case, or that something is true, never motivates you to act. Therefore: moral judgments can’t be a matter of belief but instead involve the emotions which are connected to action. Hume-expressivism is expressed in page 93, moral distinctions are not derived from reason. Reason is the faculty of the mind that deals with things that can be true or false. We also have emotions/feelings/attitudes that can’t be true or false (page 94). Moral judgments express our emotions and can’t be true or false. If you look at an action you can’t find the vice. You can’t find it until you look within yourself and find a feeling. It lies in yourself, not in the object. (page 96) Beliefs are either about concepts/meanings of words or about matters of fact in the outside, including causes and effects. Ex. Every bachelor is a male, clearly has no effect on action. Main Argument: 1)Moral judgments are intrinsically motivating 2)A belief about what’s true or false is never intrinsically motivating 3)Therefore, moral judgments don’t express be
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