PHL275H1 Lecture Notes - Cultural Relativism, Scientific Method, Emotivism

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Published on 23 Nov 2011
Ethics Lecture
November 21, 2011
Absolutist vs. Relativist Ethics
Absolutist: holds that there is one correct ethical doctrine for
oMill, egoists, Aristotle, Hobbes and Kant
oThe content will be different depending on the philosopher
but the rule will be the same
Relativist: hold that there is not one correct ethical doctrine for
everybody, but there are ethical facts
oSubjectivists, cultural relativists
oAlthough there are ethical facts, they do not hold for
Ayer and Stevenson
oThere are no ethical facts, even relative ethical facts
oThey say ethics isn’t about facts, but we are just spewing
oDismiss the chance of a normative doctrine
Trouble of defining ‘good’
“Good” as “approved of by certain people” [interest theory- one
that says something is good if it is in my interest, or your
interest, or god’s interest, or anybody’s interest]
Stevenson’s Critique of ‘Interest Theories’
Closest plausible definition of ‘good’
He said Hobbes theory is an interest theory concerned with each
individuals goodness- good for Hobbes is whatever is in my
interest [refers to the interest of the certain individual]
Hume (popular interest)- interest for the majority of the people
Stevenson’s three criteria:
oWhether something is good or not should be possible for
informed people to disagree on what is good [Topic for
intelligent disagreement]
oMagnetism: compels or attracts you to act a certain way
oWhatever is good should bot be discovered solely through
scientific method- value is something you can’t measure
Hobbes and Hume fail the criteria
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