Metaethics

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Suppose you say to your friend, “Torturing kittens for pleasure is morally wrong.” What does this statement express? What, if anything, does it describe? What would make this statement true, if it’s true? Each of the Metaethical theories below offer answers to those three questions. Theory What moral statements express What moral statements describe What makes moral statements true or false Objective moral facts: Objective wrongness of torturing kittens. Objective moral facts: Objective wrongness of torturing kittens. Moral code of speaker’s culture: Disapproval of torturing kittens by speaker’s culture. Moral code of person’s culture (not necessarily speaker). Disapproval of torturing kittens by that person’s culture. Any objective moral facts? Yes

OBJECTIVISM

Beliefs about objective moral facts: Belief that torturing kittens is objectively morally wrong Beliefs about objective moral facts: Belief that torturing kittens is objectively morally wrong Beliefs about moral code of speaker’s culture: Belief that my culture disapproves of kitten torturing. Beliefs about morality of action relative to specific person (not necessarily speaker): Belief that torturing of kittens wrong for that person. Beliefs about speaker’s noncognitive attitudes: Belief that I disapprove of kitten torturing. Beliefs about morality of action relative to specific person (not necessarily speaker): Belief that torturing of kittens wrong for that person. Speaker’s noncognitive attitudes: Speaker dislikes and is repulsed by the torturing of kittens.

Objective moral facts: “Torturing kittens is objectively morally wrong” Objective moral facts: “Torturing kittens is objectively morally wrong” Moral code of speaker’s culture: “My culture disapproves of kitten torturing.” Morality of the action relative to specific person (not necessarily speaker): “Torturing kittens is wrong for that person” Speaker’s noncognitive attitudes: “I disapprove of kitten torturing.” Morality of the action...
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