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Emotivism, (Objectivism) Hume, Ayer vs (Nagel)

The denial of moral truth moral judgements as serving a non-descriptive function, either emotivism or prescriptivism. Issues relating to the above views: the possibility of judging the abhorrent practices of other cultures/individuals; the possibility of moral progress and moral mista es; the e!tent to which we can value what we li e.

DA !D H"#E ($%$$&$%%')( Ethical )laims Describe *eelings "ume#s ethical thin ing had two phases. $he first phase saw ethics as based on feelings instead of reason; here "ume is close to classic subjectivism: %& is good' means %I li e &.' ($he first e!tract here is from his )*+, -. $reatise of "uman /ature#. "is second phase saw ethics as based on a combination of reason and feelings; we first use reason to get our facts straight and then we see what our other-regarding feelings move us to do. "ere "ume is closer to the ideal observer view: %& is good' means %0e would desire & if we were informed and impartially concerned for everyone.' ($he e!tracts here are from his -1n2uiry concerning "uman 3nderstanding#, and his -1n2uiry concerning the 4rinciples of 5orals.#6 0hy did "ume change his mind later on, would you say7 *rom +A Treatise of Human Nature, $- 5orality is not derived from reason (his early view6 8ome affirm that virtue is a conformity to reason, that there are eternal fitnesses of things which are the same to every rational being that considers them. .ll these systems concur in the opinion that morality, li e truth, is discerned merely by ideas. In order to judge these systems, we need only consider whether it is possible, from reason alone, to distinguish between moral good and evil. a. 8ince morals have an influence on the actions and affections, it follows, that they cannot be derived from reason; and that because reason alone can never have any such influence. 5orals e!cite passions, and produce or prevent actions. 9eason of itself is utterly impotent in this particular. $he rules of morality, therefore, are not conclusions of reason. b. .s long as it is allowed that reason has no influence on our passions and actions, -tis in vain to pretend that morality is discovered only by a deduction of reason. .n active principle can never be founded on an inactive. :. 9eason and feelings 9eason is the discovery of truth or falsehood. $ruth or falsehood consists in agreement or disagreement either to the real relationship of ideas, or to real e!istence and matter of fact. 0hatever, therefore, is not susceptible of this agreement or disagreement, is incapable of being true or false, and can never be an object of our reason. /ow -tis evident our passions, volitions, and actions, are not susceptible of any such agreement or disagreement. -$is impossible, therefore, they can be pronounced either true or false, and be either contrary or conformable to reason. a. 9eason, in a strict sense, can only have an influence on our conduct in two ways; 1ither it e!cites a passion by informing us of the e!istence of something which is a proper object of it; or it discovers the connection of causes and effects, so as to afford us means of e!erting any passion. $hese judgments may often be false and erroneous. . person may suppose a pain or pleasure to lie in an object, which has no tendency to produce either of these sensations. . person may also ta e false measures for attaining his end, and may retard instead of forwarding his project. b. 9eason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never tend to any other office than to serve and obey them. 0hen a passion is neither founded on false suppositions, nor chooses means insufficient for the end, the understanding can neither justify nor condemn it. $is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. -$is not contrary to reason for me to choose my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of a person wholly un nown to me. -$is as little contrary to reason to prefer even my own ac nowledged lesser good to my greater. +. 5orality is from feelings $hus on the whole -tis impossible that the distinction between moral good and evil can be made by reason; since that distinction has an influence upon our actions, of which reason alone is incapable. ;ut reason and judgment may be the mediate cause of an action, by

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prompting or directing a passion. If the thought and understanding were alone capable of fi!ing the boundaries of right and wrong, the character of virtuous and vicious either must lie in some relations of objects, or must be a matter of fact. $his conse2uence is evident. .s the operations of human understanding divide themselves into two inds, the comparing of ideas and the inferring of matters of fact, were virtue discovered by the understanding it must be an object of one of these relations. a. $a e any action allowed to be vicious: 0illful murder, for instance. 1!amine in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real e!istence, which you call vice. In whichever way you ta e it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions and thoughts. $here is no other matter of fact in the case. $he vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. <ou never can find it, till you turn your reflection into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, towards this action. "ere is a matter of fact; but -tis the object of feeling, not of reason. It lies in yourself, not in the object. 8o that when you pronounce any action or character to be vicious, you mean nothing, but that from the constitution of your nature you have a feeling or sentiment of blame from the contemplation of it. b. $hus the course of the argument leads us to conclude that, since virtue and vice are not discoverable by reason, it must be by means of some sentiment that we are able to mar the difference between them. 5orality, therefore, is more properly felt than judged of. Questions on A Treatise of Human Nature 1. What are Humes arguments that the rules of morality are not conclusions of reason? 2. Why cant our passions e !eeme! true or false? "#ou may $ish to a!! to your list of arguments for 1. a o%e. &. What t$o 'o s might reason perform for morality? (. What is reasons relationship $ith the passions? ). Why isnt %irtue !isco%era le y the un!erstan!ing* really? +. Where is %ice to e foun!? *rom the +En.uiry concerning human understanding, =. 4art ): >f ?iberty and /ecessity It is universally ac nowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same, in its principles and operations. $he same motives always produce the same actions: $he same events follow from the same causes. .mbition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, public spirit: these passions, mi!ed in various degrees, and distributed through society, have been, from the beginning of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and enterprises, which have ever been observed among man ind. 0ould you now the sentiments, inclinations, and course of life of the @ree s and 9omans7 8tudy well the temper and actions of the Arench and 1nglish: <ou cannot be much mista en in transferring to the former most of the observations which you have made with regard to the latter. 5an ind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human nature, by showing men in all varieties of circumstances and situations, and furnishing us with materials from which we may form our observations and become ac2uainted with the regular springs of human action and behaviour. $hese records or wars, intrigues, factions, and revolutions, are so many collections of e!periments, by which the politician or moral philosopher fi!es the principles of his science, in the same manner as the physician or natural philosopher becomes ac2uainted with the nature of

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plants, minerals, and other e!ternal objects, by the e!periments which he forms concerning them. /or are the earth, water, and other elements, e!amined by .ristotle, and "ippocrates, more li e to those which at present lie under our observation than the men described by 4olybius and $acitus are to those who now govern the world. B. 8hould a traveller, returning from a far country, bring us an account of men, wholly different from any with whom we were ever ac2uainted; men, who were entirely divested of avarice, ambition, or revenge; who new no pleasure but friendship, generosity, and public spirit; we should immediately, from these circumstances, detect the falsehood, and prove him a liar, with the same certainty as if he had stuffed his narration with stories of centaurs and dragons, mirades and prodigies. .nd if we would e!plode any forgery in history, we cannot ma e use of a more convincing argument, than to prove, that the actions ascribed to any person are directly contrary to the course of nature, and that no human motives, in such circumstances, could. ever induce him to such a conduct. $he veracity of Cuintus Durtius is as much to be suspected, when he describes the supernatural courage of .le!ander, by which he was hurried on singly to attac multitudes, as when he describes his supernatural force and activity, by which he was able to resist them. 8o readily and universally do we ac nowledge a uniformity in human motives and actions as well as in the operations of body. E. "ence li ewise the benefit of that e!perience, ac2uired by long life and a variety of business and company, in order to instruct us in the principles of human nature, and regulate our future conduct, as well as speculation. ;y means of this guide, we mount up to the nowledge of men#s inclinations and motives, from their actions, e!pressions, and, even gestures; and again descend to the interpretation of their actions from our nowledge of their motives and inclinations. $he general observations treasured up by a course of e!perience, give us the clue of human nature, and teach us to unravel all its intricacies. 4rete!ts and appearances no longer deceive us. 4ublic declarations pass for the specious colouring of a cause. .nd though virtue and honour be allowed their proper weight and authority, that perfect disinterestedness, so often pretended to, is never e!pected in multitudes and parties; seldom in their leaders; and scarcely even in individuals of any ran or station. ;ut were there no uniformity in human actions, and were every e!periment which we could form of this ind irregular and anomalous, it were impossible to collect any general observations concerning man ind; and no e!perience, however accurately digested by reflection, would ever serve to any purpose. 0hy is the aged husbandman more s ilful in his calling than the young beginner but because there is a certain uniformity in the operation of the sun, rain, and earth towards the production of vegetables; and e!perience teaches the old practitioner the rules by which this operation is governed and directed. *. 0e must not, however, e!pect that this uniformity of human actions should be carried to such a length as that all men, in the same circumstances, will always act precisely in the same manner, without ma ing any allowance for the diversity of characters, prejudices, and opinions. 8uch a uniformity in every particular, is found in no part of nature. >n the contrary, from observing the variety of conduct in different men, we are enabled to form a greater variety of ma!ims, which still suppose a degree of uniformity and regularity. F. .re the manners of men different in different ages and countries7 0e learn thence the great force of custom and education, which mould the human mind from its infancy and form it into a fi!ed and established character. Is the behaviour and conduct of the one se! very unli e that of the other7 Is it thence we become ac2uainted with the different characters which nature has impressed upon the se!es, and which she preserves with constancy and regularity7 .re the actions of the same person much diversified in the different periods of his life, from infancy to old age7 $his affords room for many general observations concerning the gradual change of our sentiments and inclinations, and the different ma!ims which prevail in the different ages of human creatures. 1ven the characters, which are peculiar to each individual, have a uniformity in their influence; otherwise

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our ac2uaintance with the persons and our observation of their conduct could never teach us their dispositions, or serve to direct our behaviour with regard to them. Questions on the ,n-uiry concerning Human .n!erstan!ing /. Why isnt Humes high regar! for sentiment merely collapsi le to su 'ecti%ism? 0. Ho$ can $e tell that tra%ellers tales of other systems of %irtues are forgeries? 1. Ho$ is 2no$le!ge of human nature possi le? 13. Are the manners of men !ifferent in !ifferent ages? Hume,s later thin/ing 0 from the +En.uiry concerning the 1rinci2les of #orals, ,. I am apt to suspect that reason and sentiment concur in almost all moral determinations and conclusions, $he final sentence, it is probable, which pronounces characters and actions amiable or odious, praiseworthy or blamable, depends on some internal sense or feeling, which nature has made universal in the whole species. ;ut in order to pave the way for such a sentiment, and give a proper discernment of its object, it is often necessary that much reasoning should precede and general facts fi!ed and ascertained. $he notion of morals implies some sentiment common to all man ind, which recommends the same object to general approbation, and ma es every man, or most men, agree in the same opinion or decision concerning it. $his is the sentiment of humanity. )G. 0hen a man denominates another his enemy, he is understood to spea the language of self-love, and to e!press sentiments, peculiar to himself, and arising from his particular circumstances. ;ut when he bestows on any man the epithets of vicious or depraved, he spea s another language, and e!presses sentiments, in which he e!pects all his audience to concur with him. "e must here, therefore, depart from his private and particular situation, and must choose a point of view, common to him with others; he must move some universal principle of the human frame, and touch a string to which all man ind have an accord and symphony. If he mean, therefore, to e!press that this man possesses 2ualities, whose tendency is pernicious to society, he has chosen this common point of view, and has touched the principle of humanity, in which every man, in some degree, concurs. Questions on the ,n-uiry concerning the 4rinciples of 5orals 11. Hume is often ultimately ta2en to e !efen!ing 6!eal 7 ser%er Theory. What !oes this amount to* here? What role !o reason an! sentiment play in his mature moral theory? 12. 8oo2 ac2 o%er some of the criti-ues of emoti%ism $e tal2e! a out last $ee2. Are there any that you can ans$er* gi%en Humes arguments here?

A-3- Ayer 0 #oral statements are sim2ly statements about emotion 0 +Emotivism, ;elow are some condensed e!tracts from chapter E of .yer#s +G#s classic, -?anguage, $ruth, and ?ogic#. .yer begins by developing a theory of truth H only statements that can be subject to empirical verification can be true or false (hence referentially meaningful6 statements. "e then applies this Ierification 4rinciple to other areas of intellectual discourse, to find that (in this chapter6 statements

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about the e!istence of @od, about aesthetic value, and about morals are meaningless because nonfactual in this way. D".4$19 E: D9I$IC31 >A 1$"ID8 ./J $"1>?>@< 0e shall set ourselves to show that in so far as statements of value are significant, they are ordinary KscientificK statements; and that in so far as they are not scientific, they are not in the literal sense significant, but are simply e!pressions of emotion which can be neither true nor false. ethical contents are LdivisibleMinto four main classes. $here are, first of all, propositions which e!press definitions of ethical terms, or judgements about the legitimacy or possibility of certain definitions. 8econdly, there are propositions describing the phenomena of moral e!perience, and their causes. $hirdly, there are e!hortations to moral virtue. .nd, lastly, there are actual ethical judgements. It is unfortunately the case that the distinction between these four classes, plain as it is, is commonly ignored by ethical philosophersin fact, it is easy to see that only the first of our four classes, namely that which comprises the propositions relating to the definitions of ethical terms, can be said to constitute ethical philosophy. $he propositions which describe the phenomena of moral e!perience, and their causes, must be assigned to the science of psychology, or sociology. $he e!hortations to moral virtue are not propositions at all, but ejaculations or commands which are designed to provo e the reader to action of a certain sort. .ccordingly, they do not belong to any branch of philosophy or science. .s for the e!pressions of ethical judgements, we have not yet determined how they should be classified. ;ut inasmuch as they are certainly neither definitions nor comments upon, definitions, nor 2uotations, we may say decisively that they do not belong to ethical philosophy. . strictly philosophical treatise on ethics should therefore ma e no ethical pronouncements. ;ut it should, by giving an analysis of ethical terms, show what is the category to which all such pronouncements belong. .nd this is what we are now about to do. . 2uestion which is often discussed by ethical philosophers is whether it is possible to find definitions which would reduce all ethical terms to one or two fundamental terms. ;ut this 2uestion, though it undeniably belongs to ethical philosophy, is not relevant to our present in2uiry. 0e are not now concerned to discover which term, within the sphere of ethical terms, is to be ta en as fundamental; whether, for e!ample, KgoodK can be defined in terms of Kright# or KrightK in terms of KgoodK, or both in terms of KvalueK. 0hat we are interested in is the possibility of reducing the whole sphere of ethical terms to non-ethical terms. 0e are in2uiring whether statements of ethical value can be translated into statements of empirical fact. $hat they can be so translated is the contention of those ethical philosophers who are commonly called subjectivists, and of those who are nown as utilitarians. Aor the utilitarian defines the rightness of actions, and the goodness of ends, in terms of the pleasure, or happiness, or satisfaction, to which they give rise; the subjectivist, in terms of the feelings of approval which a certain

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person, or group of people, has towards them. 1ach of these types of definition ma es moral judgements into a sub-class of psychological or sociological judgements; and for this reason they are very attractive to us. Aor, if either was correct, it would follow that ethical assertions were not generically different from the factual assertions which are ordinarily contrasted with them; and the account which we have already given of empirical hypotheses would apply to them also L"ere .yer is referring to the Ierification principle, about which you either now or can find outM /evertheless we shall not adopt either a subjectivist or a utilitarian analysis of ethical terms. 0e reject the subjectivist view that to call an action right, or a thing good, is to say that it is generally approved of, because it is not self-contradictory to assert that some actions which are generally approved of are not right L"ere .yer is appealing to the >pen Cuestion .rgument of 5ooreM, or that some things which are generally approved of are not good. .nd we reject the alternative subjectivist view that a man who asserts that a certain action is right, or that a certain thing is good, is saying that he himself approves of it, on the ground that a man who confessed that he sometimes approved of what was bad or wrong would not be contradicting himself. .nd a similar argument is fatal to utilitarianism. 0e cannot agree that to call an action right is to say that of all the actions possible in the circumstances it would cause, or be li ely to cause, the greatest happiness, or the greatest balance of pleasure over pain, or the greatest balance of satisfied over unsatisfied desire, because we find that it is not self-contradictory to say that it is sometimes wrong to perform the action which would actually or probably cause the greatest happiness, or the greatest balance of pleasure over pain, or of satisfied over unsatisfied desire, .nd since it is not self-contradictory to say that some pleasant things are not good, or that some bad things are desired, it cannot be the case that the sentence K& is goodK is e2uivalent to K! is pleasantK, or to -! is desiredK. .nd to every other variant of utilitarianism with which I am ac2uainted the same objection can be made. .nd therefore we should, I thin , conclude that the validity of ethical judgements is not determined by the felicific tendencies of actions, any more than, by the nature of peopleKs feelings; but that it must be regarded as KabsoluteK or KintrinsicK, and not empirically calculable. >ur contention is simply that in our language, sentences which contain normative ethical symbols are not e2uivalent to sentences which e!press psychological propositions, or indeed empirical propositions of any ind. It is advisable here to ma e it plain that it is only normative ethical symbols, and not descriptive ethical symbols, that are held by us to be indefinable in factual terms. $here is a danger of confusing these two types of symbols, because they are commonly constituted by signs of the same sensible form. $hus a comple! sign of the form K! is wrongK may constitute a sentence which e!presses a moral judgement concerning a certain type of conduct, or it may constitute a sentence which states that a certain type of conduct is repugnant to the moral sense of a particular society. In the latter case, the symbol KwrongK is a descriptive ethical symbol, and the sentence in which it occurs e!presses an ordinary sociological proposition; in the former case, the

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symbol KwrongK is a normative ethical symbol, and the sentence in which it occurs does not, we maintain, e!press an empirical proposition at all. It as only with normative ethics that we are at present concerned; so that whenever ethical symbols are used in the course of this argument without 2ualification, they are always to be interpreted as symbols of the normative type. In admitting that normative ethical concepts are irreducible to empirical concepts, we seem to be leaving the way clear for the NabsolutistN view of ethics - that is, the view that statements of value are not controlled by observation, as ordinary empirical propositions are, but only by a mysterious Kintellectual intuitionK. . feature of this theory, which is seldom recognised by its advocates, is that it ma es statements of value unverifiable. Aor it is notorious that what seems intuitively certain to one person may seem doubtful, or even false, to another. 8o that unless it is possible to provide some criterion by which one may decide between conflicting intuitions, a mere appeal to intuition is worthless as a test of a propositionKs validity. ;ut in the case of moral judgements no such criterion can be given. 8ome moralists claim to settle the matter by. saying that they K nowK that their own moral judgements are correct. ;ut such an assertion is of purely psychological interest, and has not the slightest tendency to prove the validity of any moral judgement. Aor dissentient moralists may e2ually well K nowK that their ethical views are correct. .nd, as far as subjective certainty goes. there will be nothing to choose between them. 0hen such differences of opinion arise in conne!ion with an ordinary empirical proposition, one may attempt to resolve them by referring to, or actually carrying out, some relevant empirical test. ;ut with regard to ethical statements, there is, on the KabsolutistK or NintuitionistK theory, no relevant empirical test. 0e are therefore justified in saying that on this theory ethical statements are held to be unverifiable. $hey are, of course, also held to be genuine synthetic propositions. Donsidering the use which we have made of the principle that a synthetic proposition is significant only if it is empirically verifiable, it is clear that the acceptance of an KabsolutistK theory of ethics would undermine the whole of our main argumentwe have already rejected the KnaturalisticK theories which are commonly supposed to provide the only alternative to KabsolutismK in ethics Lthat is, utilitarianism etcMLhoweverM the correct treatment of ethical statements is afforded by a third theory, which is wholly compatible with our radical empiricism. 0e begin by admitting that the fundamental ethical concepts are unanalysable, inasmuch as there is no criterion by which one can test the validity of the judgements in which they occur. 8o far we are in agreement with the absolutists. ;ut, unli e the absolutists, we are able to give an e!planation of this fact about ethical concepts. 0e say that the reason why they are unanalysable is that they are mere pseudo-concepts. $he presence of an ethical symbol in a proposition adds nothing to its factual content. $hus if I say to someone, K<ou acted wrongly in stealing that money,K I am not stating anything more than if I had simply said, K<ou stole that money.K In adding that this action is wrong I am not ma ing any further statement about it. I am simply evincing my moral disapproval of it. It is as if I

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had said, K<ou stole that money,K in a peculiar tone of horror, or written it with the addition of some special e!clamation mar s. $he tone, or the e!clamation mar s, adds nothing to the literal meaning of the sentence. It merely serves to show that the e!pression of it is attended by certain feelings in the spea er. If now I generalise my previous statement and say -8tealing money is wrong.K I produce a sentence which has no factual meaning - that is, e!presses no proposition which can be either true or false. It is as if I had written K8tealing moneyOOK - where the shape and thic ness of the e!clamation mar s show, by a suitable convention, that a special sort of moral disapproval is the feeling which is being e!pressed. It is clear that there is nothing said here which can be true or false. .nother man may disagree with me about the wrongness of stealing, in the sense that he may not have the same feelings about stealing as I have, and he may 2uarrel with me on account of my moral sentiments. ;ut he cannot, strictly spea ing, contradict me. Aor in saying that a certain type of action is right or wrong. I am not ma ing any factual statement, not even a statement about my own state of mind. I am merely e!pressing certain moral sentiments. .nd the man who is ostensibly contradicting me is merely e!pressing his moral sentiments. 8o that there is plainly no sense in as ing which of us is in the right. Aor neither of us is asserting a genuine proposition. 0hat we have just been saying about the symbol Kwrong# applies to all normative ethical symbols. 8ometimes they occur in sentences which record ordinary empirical facts besides e!pressing ethical feeling about those facts: sometimes they occur in sentences which simply e!press ethical feeling about a certain type of action, or situation, without ma ing any statement of fact. ;ut in every case in which one would commonly be said to be ma ing an ethical judgement, the function of the relevant ethical word is purely KemotiveK. It is used to e!press feeling about certain objects, but not to ma e any assertion about them. It is worth mentioning that ethical terms do not serve only to e!press feeling. $hey are calculated also to arouse feeling, and so to stimulate action. Indeed some of them are used in such a way as to give the sentences in which they occur the effect of commands. $hus the sentence KIt is your duty to tell the truthK may be regarded both as the e!pression of a certain sort of ethical feeling about truthfulness and as the e!pression of the command K$ell the truth.# $he sentence K<ou ought to tell the truthK also involves the command K$ell the truthK, but here the tone of the command is less emphatic. In the sentence KIt is good to tell the truthK the command has become little more than a suggestion. .nd thus the KmeaningK of the word Kgood#, in its ethical usage, is differentiated from that of the word KdutyK or the word KoughtK. In fact we may define the meaning of the various ethical words in terms both of the different feelings they are ordinarily ta en to e!press, and also the different responses which they are calculated to provo e. 0e can now see why it is impossible to find a criterion for determining the validity of ethical judgements. It is not because they have an KabsoluteK validity which is mysteriously independent of

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ordinary sense-e!perience, but because they have no objective validity whatsoever. If a sentence ma es no statement at all, there is obviously no sense in as ing whether what it says is true or false. .nd we have seen, sentences which simply e!press moral judgements do not say anything. $hey are pure e!pressions of feeling and as such do not come under the category of truth and falsehood. $hey are unverifiable for the same reason as a cry of pain or a word of command is unverifiable - because they do not e!press genuine propositions. $hus, although our theory of ethics might fairly be said to be radically subjectivist, it differs in a very important respect from the orthodo! subjectivist theory. Aor the orthodo! subjectivist does not deny, as we do, that the sentences of a moraliser e!press genuine propositions. .ll he denies is that they e!press propositions of a uni2ue non-empirical character. "is own view is that they e!press propositions about the spea erKs feelings. If this were so, ethical judgements clearly would be capable of being true or false. $hey would be true if the spea er had the relevant feelings, and false if he had not. .nd this is a matter which is, in principle, empirically verifiable. Aurthermore they could be significantly contradicted. Aor if I say, K$olerance is a virtue.K and someone answers, -<ou donKt approve of it,K he would, on the ordinary subjectivist theory, be contradicting me. >n our theory, he would not be contradicting me, because, in saying that tolerance was a virtue, I should not be ma ing any statement about my own feelings or about anything else. I should simply be evincing my feelings, which is not at all the same thing as saying that I have them. $he distinction between the e!pression of feeling and the assertion of feeling is complicated by the fact that the assertion that one has a certain feeling often accompanies the e!pression of that feeling, and is then, indeed, a factor in the e!pression of that feeling. $hus I may simultaneously e!press boredom and say that I am bored, and in that case my utterance of the words KI am boredK is one of the circumstances which ma e it true to say that I am e!pressing or evincing boredom. ;ut I can e!press boredom without actually saying that I am bored. I can e!press it by my tone and gestures, while ma ing a statement about something wholly unconnected with it, or by an ejaculation, or without uttering any words at all. 8o that even if the assertion that one has a certain feeling always involves the e!pression of that feeling, the e!pression of a feeling assuredly does not always involve the assertion that one has it. .nd this is the important point to grasp in. considering the distinction between our theory and the ordinary subjectivist theory. Aor whereas the subjectivist holds that ethical statements actually assert the e!istence of certain feelings, we hold that ethical statements: are e!pressions and e!citants of feeling which do not necessarily involve any assertions. 0e have already remar ed that the main objection to the ordinary subjectivist theory is that the validity of ethical judgements is not determined by the nature of their authorKs feelings. .nd this is an objection which our theory escapes. Aor it does not imply that the e!istence of any feelings to be a necessary and sufficient condition of the validity of an ethical judgement. It implies, on the contrary, that ethical judgements have no validity.

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$here is, however, a celebrated argument against subjectivist theories which our theory does not escape. It has been pointed out by 5oore that if ethical statements were simply statements about the spea erKs feelings, it would be impossible to argue about 2uestions of value. $o ta e a typical e!ample: if a man said that thrift was a virtue, and another replied that it was a vice, they would not, on this theory, be disputing with one another. >ne would be saying that he approved of thrift, and the other that he didnKt; and there is no reason why both these statements should not he true. /ow 5oore held it to be obvious that we do dispute about 2uestions of value, and accordingly concluded that the particular form of subjectivism which he was discussing was false. It is plain that the conclusion that it is impossible to dispute about 2uestions of value follows from our theory also. Aor as we hold that such sentences as K$hrift is a virtueK and K$hrift is a viceN do not e!press propositions at all, we clearly cannot hold that they e!press incompatible propositions. 0e must therefore admit that if 5ooreKs argument really refutes the ordinary subjectivist theory, it also refutes ours. ;ut, in fact, we deny that it does refute even the ordinary subjectivist theory. Aor we hold that one really never does dispute about 2uestions of value. $his may seem, at first sight to be a very parado!ical assertion. Aor we certainly do engage in disputes which are ordinarily regarded as disputes about 2uestions of value, ;ut, in all such cases, we find, if we consider the matter closely, that the dispute is not really about a 2uestion of value, but about a 2uestion of fact. 0hen someone disagrees with us about the moral value of a certain action or type of action, we do admittedly resort to argument in order to win him over to our way of thin ing. ;ut we do not attempt to show by our arguments that he has the Kwrong# ethical feeling towards a situation whose nature he has correctly apprehended. 0hat we attempt to show is that he is mista en about the facts of the case. 0e argue that he has misconceived the agentKs motive: or that he has misjudged the effects of the action, or its probable effects in view of the agentKs nowledge; or that he has failed to ta e into account the special circumstances- in which the agent was placed. >r else we employ more general arguments about the effects which actions of a certain type tend to produce, or the 2ualities which are usually manifested in their performance. 0e do this in the hope that we have only to get our opponent to agree with us about the nature of the empirical facts for him to adopt the same moral attitude towards them as we do. .nd as the people with whom we argue have generally received the same moral education as ourselves, and live in the same social order, our e!pectation is usually justified. ;ut if our opponent happens to have undergone a different process of moral KconditioningK from ourselves, so that, even when he ac nowledges all the facts, he still disagrees with us about the moral value of the actions under discussion, then we abandon the attempt to convince him by argument. 0e say that it is impossible to argue with him because he has a distorted or undeveloped moral sense; which signifies merely that he employs a different set of values from our own. 0e feel that our own system of values is superior, and therefore spea in such derogatory terms of his. ;ut we cannot bring forward any arguments to show that our system is superior. Aor our

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judgement that it is so is itself a judgement of value, and accordingly outside the scope of argument. It is because argument fails us when we come to deal with pure 2uestions of value, as distinct from 2uestions of fact, that we finally resort to mere abuse. In short, we find that argument is possible on moral 2uestions only if some system of values is presupposed. If our opponent concurs with us in e!pressing moral disapproval of all actions of a given type t, then we may get him to condemn a particular action ., by bringing forward arguments to show that . is of type t. Aor the 2uestion whether . does or does not belong to that type is a plain 2uestion of fact. @iven that a man has certain moral principles, we argue that he must, in order to be consistent, react morally to certain things in a certain way. 0hat we do not and cannot argue about is the validity of these moral principles. 0e merely praise or condemn them in the light of our own feelings. If anyone doubts the accuracy of this account of moral disputes, let him try to construct even an imaginary argument on a 2uestion of value which does not reduce itself to an argument about a 2uestion of logic or about an empirical matter of fact, I am confident that he will not succeed in producing a single e!ample. .nd if that is the case, he must allow that its involving the impossibility of purely ethical arguments is not, as 5oore thought, a ground of objection to our theory, but rather a point in favour of it. "aying upheld our theory against the only criticism which appeared to threaten it, we may now use it to define the nature of all ethical in2uiries. 0e find that ethical philosophy consists simply in saying that ethical concepts are pseudo-concepts and therefore unanalysable. $he further tas of describing the different feelings that the different ethical terms are used to e!press, and the different reactions that they customarily provo e, is a tas for the psychologist. $here cannot be such a thing as ethical science, if by ethical science one means the elaboration of a KtrueK system of morals. Aor we have seen that, as ethical judgements are mere e!pressions of feeling, there can be no way of determining the validity of any ethical system, and. indeed, no sense in as ing whether any such system is true. .ll that one may legitimately in2uire in this conne!ion is. 0hat are the moral habits of a given person or group of people, and what causes them to have precisely those habits and feelings7 .nd this in2uiry falls wholly within the scope of the e!isting social sciences. It appears, then, that ethics, as a branch of nowledge, is nothing more than a department of psychology and sociology. .nd in case anyone thin s that we are overloo ing the e!istence of casuistry, 0e may remar that casuistry is not a science, but is a purely analytical investigation of the structure of a given moral system. In other words, it is an e!ercise in formal logic. 0hen one comes to pursue the psychological in2uiries which constitute ethical science, one is immediately enabled to account for the Pantian and hedonistic theories of morals. Aor one finds that one of the chief causes of moral behaviour is fear, both conscious and unconscious, of a godKs displeasure, and fear of the enmity of society. .nd this, indeed, is the reason, why moral precepts present themselves to some people as KcategoricalK commands. .nd one finds, also, that the moral

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code of a society is partly determined by the beliefs of that society concerning the conditions of its own happiness - or, in other words, that a society tends to encourage or discourage a given type of conduct by the use of moral sanctions according as it appears to promote or detract from the contentment of the society as a whole. .nd this is the reason why altruism is recommended in most moral codes and egotism condemned. It is from the observation of this conne!ion between morality and happiness that hedonistic or eudaimonistic theories of morals ultimately spring, just as the moral theory of Pant is based on the fact, previously e!plained, that moral precepts have for some people the force of ine!orable commands. .s each of these theories ignores the fact which lies at the root of the other, both may be criticised as being one-sided; but this is not the main objection to either of them. $heir essential defect is that they treat propositions which refer to the causes and attributes of our ethical feelings as if they were definitions of ethical concepts. .nd thus they fail to recognise that ethical concepts are pseudo-concepts and conse2uently indefinable.

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POS ! "#$" #%S$O&$#'O! " S' ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( )oes$awa*$with$worr*in+$,ee-in+$that$mora-it*$needs$a$more$comp-e.$/0sti,ication$1i.e.$comp-e.$ 2antian/3ti-itarian$theories$etc. Simp-e$*et$e.p-ains$a$+ood$dea-$1stren+th$o,$o0r$ethica-$,ee-in+s4$their$shared$nat0re$etc5 O,,ers$c-ear$criterion$,or$sense$vs.$nonsense. Socio-o+ica-$ana-*ses$do$seem$to$show$that$+oodness$and$immora-it*$are$-imited$to$o0r$ pre,erences.$ doesn6t$appea-$to$m*sterio0s$entities$17od4$the$transcendenta-85$that$ma9e$mora-it*$m*sterio0s e.p-ains$wh*$we$can6t$de,ine$:+ood;4$wh*$we$can6t$prove$mora-$<e-ie,s8 e.p-ains$how$peop-e$disa+ree$a<o0t$mora-it*4$and$wh*$the*$a+ree$ chimes$with$view$that$we$can6t$reason$a<o0t$<asic$mora-$princip-es$and$ma9es$space$,or$emotion$ to$p-a*$a$prominent$ro-e$1as$c-ear-*$it$does5 ( we$can$reason$a<o0t$mora-it*$i,$we$ass0me$a$shared$s*stem$o,$va-0es.$ ( <0t$we$can6t$esta<-ish$the$correctness$o,$an*$s*stem$o,$va-0es.$ Stresses$importance$o,$pers0asive$-an+0a+e$and$emotion$in$the$e.pression$o,$mora-$sentiment.

=#7>! "#$" #%S$O&$#'O! " S' ( ( ( ( ( ( ( !he$-o+ica-$positivist$ar+0ment$,or$emotivism$is$,-awed?$in$partic0-ar4$the$c-aim$that$an*$ meanin+,0-$proposition$is$either$veri,ia<-e$or$ta0to-o+o0s$is$se-,@contradictor*4$hence$inconsistent$ 19e*$e.amp-e?$Athe$c-aim$that86$is$not$itse-,$veri,ia<-e$or$ta0to-o+o0s85 #motivism$can6t$e.p-ain$0nemotiona-$mora-$/0d+ments4$which$s0re-*$we$do$haveB$$ ndeed4$coo-$ and$-eve-@headed$mora-$assessment$is$somethin+$that$we$va-0e. %e$do$reason$a<o0t$mora-$/0d+ments.$$!he$c-aim$that$the*$are$mere-*$e.pressions$o,$emotion$ seems$odd$1>*er?$here$we$are$reasonin+$a<o0t$the$meanin+$o,$o0r$mora-$termino-o+*$rather$than$ its$app-ication5 >re$atrocities$-i9e$+enocide4$rape$and$m0rder$/0st$matters$o,$,ee-in+B O0r$mora-$,ee-in+s$aren6t$s0</ective$or$persona-4$necessari-*.$$!he*$are$nat0ra-4$and$shared8 common$reactions$to$horri,ic$crimes$1e.+.$the$ho-oca0st5$s0++ests$the$possi<i-it*$o,$a$reasona<-e$ <asis$,or$mora-$<ehavio0r. red0ces$mora-$disc0ssions$to$a$sho0tin+$match$i,$we$can6t$reason$a<o0t$<asic$mora-$princip-es.$ 'an*$0ses$o,$:+ood;$and$:<ad;$are$di,,ic0-t$to$trans-ate$into$e.c-amations.$ ( $:C0rrah$,or$+ood$peop-eD;$ ( : ,$-*in+$is$<ad4$then$+ettin+$*o0r$<rother$to$-ie$is$<ad.;$ ( :!his$is$ne0tra-$1neither$+ood$nor$<ad5.; s$this$a$tr0th$c-aim$or$an$e.c-amation?$:>$view$is$<etter$i,$it6s$simp-er$and$e.p-ains$more;D$$%e$ do$0se$ethica-$c-aims$eva-0ative-*$with$a$c-ear$sense$o,$their$meanin+D

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