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logical positivism

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University of Toronto St. George

Ethics Lecture November 23, 2011 Logical Positivism Objections to Stevenson’s Emotivism • It excludes reason. If you say “why do you hate reason?” and they say “because it is wrong?” Wrong is an emotive word. It means “boo”, I don’t like murder and neither should you • Anything can be good or bad: the way emotive terms are used, they can apply to almost anything including things we don’t normally include in ethical debate • Emotive terms don’t signal anything ethical is going on Ayer: Logical Positivism • Analytic a priori truths: subject is explained in the predicate; if you know the definition of something, you know if it is true or false o Pure logic: it is not possible to have A and ~A at the same time. It can’t be raining and not raining outside right now at the same time. ~(A & ~A) or all bachelors are unmarried men • Synthetic a posteriori empricial truths: synethetic because you have to break down the term or concept to know what it is and you don’t know it beforehand so it is a posteriori. Include scientific statements such as water is a composed of H2O • Psuedo-concepts: neither analytic [aren’t born being able to figure them out] and not synthetic [because you won’t find them looking through a microscope] o Aesthetics o Religion o Ethics o Metaphysics • He said it is the job of philosophers to analyze and do analytic philosophy • Scientists are engaged in synthe
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