Ethical Language Has No Meaning Essay example

1130 Words Nov 1st, 2013 5 Pages
Ethical language has no meaning. Discuss (35 Marks)

The meaning and function of ethical language is the focus of meta-ethics. It can be discussed whether ethical language has any meaning at all by looking at different perspectives.

An ethical naturalist would say that all ethical statements are the same as non-ethical ones; they’re factual and can, therefore, be true or false. So ‘Thomas More was executed for his beliefs in 1535’ and ‘Thomas More was a good man’ can be proved true or false by looking at the evidence. If we can find evidence, we can conclude that Thomas More was good and if not, we can conclude he was not. The same holds for any moral issue for example if one wants to know if euthanasia is right or wrong. They simply
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As ethical language is sometimes used to discuss supernatural concepts such as God and therefore ethical naturalism’s argument as to why ethical language is meaningful is absurd.
Moore states that we can stall ask ‘what is good?’ this would lead to an open question argument which displays the ethical naturalist argument as to why ethical language is meaningful may not be fully sufficient.
However intuitionists do argue that ethical language is meaningful but only because of the fact that intuition is used to conduct ethical statements. Moore uses the Simple Notion to suggest although we cannot fully describe what good is, ‘we just know good is good and that’s the end of the fact.’ He uses the analogy of yellow, stating that just as we cannot describe yellow without giving examples, we can’t describe good without referring to good with examples. It is therefore an indescribable truth, this is called; ‘Naturalistic Fallacy’.
On the other hand H.A. Prichard (1871-1947) developed these ideas further and said it wasn’t only goodness that was indefinable, but also the idea of obligation. In the same way that goodness is unrecognisable by example, so are our obligations. We will always know when we ought to act in a certain way. For Prichard, Intuitionism helps people decide how to act, he believed that everyone has a different moral intuition – some more developed than others. Where there is conflict between our moral

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