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PHL275H1 Lecture Notes - Analytic Philosophy, Logical Positivism, Emotivism

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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
oPure 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
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]
He said it is the job of philosophers to analyze and do analytic
Scientists are engaged in synthetic a posteriori empirical truths
Ayer’s interpretation of Ethics
Whether a word is meaningful is a matter of the verification
criterion of meaning: anything that has meaning has a truth
value [T or F] and there is some way in principle of finding out if
it is true or false
VCM: A proposition or word is only meaningful if it can be verified
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