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January 16 Lecture Notes.docx

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PHI 192
Ben Bradley

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January 16 Lecture Notes PHI 192 Meta ethics • What does one mean when they say “Murder is wrong.”? • How does moral language work? • Are there moral facts? • Is it a real objective fact that murder is wrong? • 3 types of questions in metaethics: o Linguistic: language of morals o Metaphysical: the reality of things o Moral Epistemology: knowledge of morals • An objective fact is not determined by what people think about the question • A subjective fact depends on people’s thoughts of the question o If Obama’s approval rating is 85% then it is a fact that he is a popular president, but if people start to dislike him and his approval rating drops to 35% then the statement “Obama is a popular president.” is no longer a fact • Some metaethical questions o How is moral knowledge possible? o What do moral utterances mean? Can a moral utterance be true or false? • A moral utterance is: “Murder is wrong.” • Truthness of statements may depend on: o The preferences of individual people (“I like ice cream” is only true if the speaker really does like ice cream.) o Place the sentence is said (“Pot is illegal” is a true statement in New York, but maybe not in Colorado) o Exclamations (“Wow!” can’t be true or false, it just is) o Commands are also not true or false o Questions are not true or false Some Metaethical views • Realism: there are objective moral facts, and our moral utterances (when successful) report those facts o In Realism.. “Murder is wrong.” Is as factual as saying “Snow is white.” o There may be exceptions to the facts, such a
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