PHIL 1050 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Ethical Subjectivism

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
School
University of Guelph
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 1050
Chapter 3: Subjectivism In Ethics
3.1 The Basic Idea of Ethical Subjectivism
- idea that our moral opinions are based on our feelings and nothing more.
- no such thing as “objective” right or wrong.
- some ppl homosexual, some not, neither good nor bad.
- someone says homosexuality is wrong = fact about their feelings, not
homosexuality.
- saying Nazis killings evil = we have negative feelings about the killings.
3.2 The Evolution of the Theory
- in general:
- philosophical theory put forward in general terms.
-examined, defects found.
-some ppl impressed with defects = abandon theory.
- others revise original theory and remain confident.
- examination, revision process continues.
- theory of ethical subjectivism began as: “Morality is a matter of sentiment rather
than fact.”
-David Hume.
- theory developed, became more sophisticated.
3.3 The 1st Stage: Simple Subjectivism
- simplest version:
- when person says something is morally good or bad, he/she approves or
disapproves of it (nothing more).
- example:
-“X is morally acceptable.”
- “X is right.”
- “X is good.”
- “X ought to be done.”
- the above all mean: “I (the speaker) approve of X.”
- many find simple subjectivism favorable.
- however, open to serious objections:
1. Cannot account for disagreement.
- homosexuality right + homosexuality wrong = disagreement.
- if simple subjectivism correct, no disagreement, therefore can’t be
correct.
2. Implies we are always right.
- we sometimes make mistakes about ethics.
- as long as someone is honestly expressing their feelings, their moral
judgment will always be correct.
- can’t be true, so simple subjectivism can’t be true.
- these arguments cause some to reject simple subjectivism, and some to revise.
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Document Summary

Saying nazis killings evil = we have negative feelings about the killings. Some ppl homosexual, some not, neither good nor bad. Someone says homosexuality is wrong = fact about their feelings, not. Idea that our moral opinions are based on our feelings and nothing more. No such thing as objective right or wrong. homosexuality. Theory of ethical subjectivism began as: morality is a matter of sentiment rather than fact. Simplest version: disapproves of it (nothing more). Philosophical theory put forward in general terms. Some ppl impressed with defects = abandon theory. Others revise original theory and remain confident. When person says something is morally good or bad, he/she approves or. The above all mean: i (the speaker) approve of x. Homosexuality right + homosexuality wrong = disagreement. If simple subjectivism correct, no disagreement, therefore can"t be. However, open to serious objections: cannot account for disagreement. correct. judgment will always be correct.

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