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Chapter 3

PHIL*1050 - Chapter 3.docx

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PHIL 1050
Mark Mc Cullagh

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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. st 3.3 The 1 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. 3.4 The 2 Stage: Emotivism - improved version called emotivism. - language consists of fact-stating language, commands, and utterances. - Emotivism: moral language not fact-stating, but attitude-stating. - can have disagreement in beliefs = disagreement in attitude toward something. - therefore answers 1 argument against simple subjectivism. - simple subje
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