What Is the Emotivist View of Moral Disagreements

Philosophers who have assumed that real action is necessary if “good” is to be used in a sincere evaluation have been in trouble for lack of willpower, and they should certainly agree that enough has been done if we can show that every human being has reasons to be virtuous and avoid vices. But isn`t it difficult when you look at the kinds of things that are considered virtue and vice? Consider, for example, the cardinal virtues, prudence, moderation, courage and justice. Obviously, every person needs caution, but shouldn`t they also resist the temptation of pleasure when the damage is done? And how could one argue that he would never have to deal with what was fearful for the sake of a good thing? It is not clear what someone would mean if they said that moderation or courage are not good qualities, and it is not because of the “laudatory” meaning of these words, but because of the things that are courage and moderation. [51] Ayer argues that moral judgments cannot be translated into unethical empirical terms and therefore cannot be verified; in this, he agrees with ethical intuitionists. But he differs from intuitionists in that he rejects appeals to intuition as “worthless” in determining moral truths,[22] since one person`s intuition often contradicts another`s. Instead, Ayer concludes that ethical concepts are “mere pseudo-concepts”: while Stevenson admitted that moral language had no factual or cognitive content, he argued that it had emotional significance. Moral statements are neither true nor false, but they are also not meaningless – moral language allows us to express emotions. So he could easily explain our differences in terms of ethics – we have different emotions. And if we don`t agree, Stevenson said we disagree in attitude. But reasons or arguments will not change the attitudes of others. Brandt criticized what he called “the magnetic influence thesis,”[43] Stevenson`s idea that ethical statements should influence the listener`s attitudes. Brandt argues that most ethical statements, including judgments of people who are not in the field of hearing, are not made with the intention of changing the attitudes of others. Twenty years earlier, Sir William David Ross had expressed the same criticism in his book Foundations of Ethics.

Ross suggests that emotivist theory only seems consistent when it comes to simple linguistic actions, such as recommending, commanding, or judging something that happens at the same time as the statement. Like Ross and Brandt, Urmson contradicts Stevenson`s “causal theory” of emotional meaning—the theory that moral statements have emotional meaning only when they are brought to change in a listener`s attitude—and says this is false when it comes to explaining “evaluative power in purely causal terms.” This is Urmson`s fundamental criticism, and he suggests that Stevenson would have made a stronger argument by explaining the emotional meaning in terms of “praise and recommendation of attitudes,” not in terms of “power to evoke attitudes.” [46] Emativism is a metaethic vision that asserts that ethical phrases do not express propositions, but emotional attitudes. [1] [2] [3] Therefore, it is colloquially known as the hurrah/boo theory. [4] Influenced by the growth of analytic philosophy and logical positivism in the 20th century, the theory of A. J. Ayer was vividly featured in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic,[5] but his development owes more to C. L. Stevenson. [6] Non-rational psychological methods revolve around language with a psychological influence, but not necessarily a logical link with the listener`s attitudes. Stevenson called the main method “persuasive,” in a slightly broader sense, and wrote: Ayer thought moral language made no sense because it could not be verified. When I say there`s a dollar on my desk, you see what I mean, and you can verify or falsify my statement – you`re just looking.

But if I say lying is bad, how could you verify that? Where would you go to see that lying is bad? Ayer argued that statements that could not be verified made no sense. There is no sense for statements such as abortion is immoral because there is no way to show that these statements are true or false. A.M. Hare developed his ethical theory of universal prescriptivism[17] in 1952 in The Language of Morals with the intention of defending the meaning of rational moral reasoning against the “propaganda” he saw encouraged by Stevenson, who believed that moral reasoning was sometimes psychological rather than rational. [18] But Hare`s disagreement was not universal, and the similarities between his non-cognitive theory and emotional theory – particularly his assertion and Stevenson`s assertion that moral judgments contain orders and are therefore not purely descriptive – led some to consider him an emotivist, a classification he denied: when our adversary agrees with us, when he expresses moral disapproval of a particular type of t, then we can get him to condemn a certain act A by making arguments to show that A is type t. Because whether or not A belongs to this type is a purely factual question. [24] A question arises. The argument that there are more than just emotional reactions, as they are – and not as explanations of wickedness/kindness, and pointing out reasons and rationality as an aspect of moral decision, made me wonder if this was not simply a circular argument. Couldn`t “good” rationality and reason, as opposed to “bad” irrationality and crazy/violent/scattered lives, ultimately also be described as an emotional reaction? In fact, I believe so. I prefer the evolutionary decision-making or survival approach, including relational pleasure over resentment, as a sufficient driving force to act/decide in at least one ethical direction. Complemented by social laws and restrictions for a non-chaotic community life.

This means that the first half of the statement “It was wrong to murder Fred” does not contribute to the immoral information that Fred was murdered. The advent of logical positivism and its criterion of verifiability of meaning in the early 20th century led some philosophers to conclude that ethical statements that cannot be empirically verified are cognitively meaningless. This criterion was fundamental to A.J. Ayer`s defense of positivism in language, truth, and logic, which contains his statement of emtivism. Positivism, however, is not essential to emtivism itself, perhaps not even in the form of Ayer,[15] and some positivists in the Vienna Circle who had a great influence on Ayer had non-emotivist views. [16] According to this view, it would be illogical to translate a statement such as “Galileo should not have been forced to revoke heliocentrism” into an order, imperative or recommendation – to do so, a radical change in the direction of these ethical statements may be necessary. Under this critique, it seems that emotivist and prescriptivist theories are only capable of transforming a relatively small subset of all ethical claims into imperatives. .