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HU 201 Ethical Subjectivism.docx

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CAS PH 242
Vail Smith

[HU 201 ETHICAL SUBJECTIVISM, DIVINE COMMAND, AND NATURAL LAW THEORY] October 7, 2013 Ethical Subjectivism - The belief that there are no moral facts only moral opinions - Morality is never objective, just subjective - If I say, “harming the environment is morally wrong, all I am truly saying is “I disapprove of harming the environment” - “Murder is evil” = “I disapprove of murder” - Morals are nothing but a personal preference - Hamlet: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” - David Hume: “There are no moral facts” - List every single FACT you know about a particular “crime” – the evil or moral wrongness of the act will not be one of them - “The murder of innocent people is evil.” – Is this objectively true or a subjective opinion? - “Take any action allow’d be vicious: Willful murder, for instance.” - “Examine in all lights and see if you find that matter of fact or real existence, which you call vice. In whichever way you take it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions and thoughts. There is no other matter of fact in the case” - The evilness or goodness of something lies within yourself Emotivism - A theory that says moral statements (“X is good, Y is evil”)- are not statements of facts, although they sound like they are - They are more like commands - Also report attitudes:” X is evil” means “I don’t like X and you must not do it!” - Could we argues that some moral beliefs are based on better reasons than others? - Ex. Disapproval of interracial marriage in early-mid 20s. We could say there was no good moral backing - Does this approach solve the problem? Divine Command Theory - God/s has/have told us which actions are good and which are evil - Advantages: Appears to make morality objective- not a matter of opinion - Disproves Cultural Relativism and Ethical Sub
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