Emotivism Analyzed: Moral judgment is backed by reason

EMOTIVISM IS THE THEORY IN ETHICS that states that moral judgments do not state any fact at all but are mere expressions of one’s attitude used to influence people’s attitudes and conduct.
          Nonetheless, ethicist James Rachels in his bookThe Elements of Moral Philosophy (USA:McGraw-Hill College, 3rd ed., 1999) proved very well that a moral judgment or any kind of value judgment must be supported by good reasons ...



... 5. Emotivism differentiates reporting an attitude (e.g. “I like Hitler”) and expressing the same attitude (“Hurrah for Hitler!”).  The former is either true or false unlike the former which just expresses an attitude, but does not even report that someone has it.

6. According to Emotivism, moral language “is notfact-stating language; it is not typically used to convey information.”

7. “Moral language is used, first, as a means of influencing people’s behavior. “You ought not to do that” is treated like a command “Don’t do that!” ...

8. Second, moral language is used “to express (not report) one’s attitude.” Saying “Gautama was a good man” is not like saying “I approve of Gautama,” but it is like saying “Hurrah for Gautama!” ...


Simple Subjectivism: An Analysis

THE SIMPLEST VERSION of the theory in Ethics named Subjectivism states that when a person says that something is morally good, this means that he approves of that thing, and nothing more. Philosophy professor at University of Alabama at Birmingham James Rachels (1941-2003) simplified the theory this way:

            “X is morally acceptable”   
            “X is right”                                  
            “X is good”                                  
            “X ought to be done”
            These all mean: “I (the speaker)approve of X.” ...



... 6.  “There is no such thing as objective right or wrong.” (It is a fact that some people are homosexual and some are heterosexual; but it is not a fact that one is good and the other bad.)

7. “When someone says that a thing (e.g. homosexuality) is immoral, he is not stating a fact about it but merely saying something about his feelings toward it.”
8. “In expressing that an action is evil (e.g. Hitler’s extermination of millions of innocent people), we are not stating a fact about that action; rather we are saying that we have negative feelings toward it.” ...


On Excision

PHILOSOPHY PROFESSOR at University of Alabama at Birmingham James Rachels (1941-2003), in his book The Elements of Moral Philosophy (3rd Edition, USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1999) discusses the case of a 17-year old girl in relation to the practice called “excision” in her native country of Togo in West Africa.
          As reported by the New York Times in a series of articles (mainly by Celia W. Dugger), Fauziya Kassindja arrived at Newark International Airport in 1996 and asked for asylum. She escaped from her country to avoid the permanently disfiguring procedure that is sometimes called “female circumcision.”
          Bearing little resemblance to the Jewish ritual of circumcision, excision is more commonly referred to as “genital mutilation” in Western newspapers. According to the World Health Organization, the practice is widespread in 26 African nations, and two million girls each year are “excised.” In some instances, excision is part of an elaborate tribal ritual, performed in small traditional villages, and girls look forward to it because it signals their acceptance into the adult world. In other instances, the practice is carried out by families living in cities on young women who desperately resist.
            Fauziya Kassindja was the youngest of five daughters in a devout Muslim family. Her father, who owned a successful trucking business, was opposed to excision, and was able to defy the tradition because of his wealth. His first four daughters were married without being mutilated. But when Fauziya was 16, he suddenly died. When Fauziya’s marriage was arranged, preparations to have her excised were also done. Fauziya was terrified, and her mother and oldest sister helped her to escape. Her mother, left without resources, eventually had to formally apologize and submit to the authority of the patriarch she had offended.


Subscribing to Cultural Relativism: Pros and Cons

Subscribing to Cultural Relativism: Pros and Cons
© 2010 by Jensen DG. Mañebog


The Cultural Differences Argument: An analysis

The Cultural Differences Argument: An analysis

© 2010 by Jensen DG. Mañebog

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THE THEORY called Cultural Relativism, which claims that there is no objective universal truth in morality, puts forward an argument which Philosophy professor James Rachels named as the Cultural Differences Argument:
          Different cultures have different moral codes.
          Therefore, there is no objective “truth” in morality. Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinions vary from culture to culture ...


20 Facts about Ethics

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS depict the development in the study of morality (Ethics) throughout history. Focused on atheistic ethics and God-based morality, some of these propositions mention of various philosophers and other thinkers who advocate either of the mentioned moral stands.
... 15. Charles Darwin propelled the abandonment of God and revelation by attempting to show that God was not even necessary in the creation of living things.
16. Friederich Nietzsche aimed to highlight the ethical implications of Darwinism; his "superman" concept transformed man into the maker of his own destiny, and Man became the measure of all things. As his "madman" said, “God is dead!” ...


Notes in Ethics: Theist's Explanation of Moral Obligation's Binding Force


1. GENERALLY, ALL MEN HAVE the moral experience of feeling obligated.

2. The “binding force” and “overriding character” of the moral obligation are attributed to God who is man’s creator and thus the cause of man’s moral dimension.  


Notes in Ethics: Secularist's Explanation of Some Ethical Facts

THE FOLLOWING are the summary and analysis of the ways secularists explain some principles in Ethics such as the existence of moral law and the binding force of moral obligation.

1. ‘Sense of moral obligation is just the effect of social conditioning’

·  Richard Robinson: “The original conscience… is a set of taboos and compulsions, acquired from…associates …” (An Atheist’s Values. 1964, p. 110).

·  “The demands of conscience are due tosociety because society expresses disapproval of certain actions.”


·  It is the intellect which can be molded or (socially) conditioned.

·  The “sense of moral obligation” cannot be explained sufficiently by social conditioning—for there are innumerable situations where a person, although feeling a desire from society to adopt a certain course, feels the moral obligation to assume a course altogether different.



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