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Study of the meaning and justification of our moral judgments.
The theory that our ethical assertions are propositional, that they do have meaning, are either true or false, and that we can have moral knowledge.
The theory that the objective facts that make our moral propositions true are definable, natural aspects of our world and can be independently verified.
Bambrough's view of cognitivism
Bases his argument with an example of a child going into surgery, it is absolutely moral that the child be given an anesthetic prior to surgery.
Bambrough's counter to: "moral disagreement is more widespread, more radical, and more persistent thatn disagreement about matters of fact"
- A. It is almost certainly untrue
- B. It is quite certainly irrelevant.
- C. Even if it is true, it does not follow that moral knowledge is impossible.
- D. In a dispute, one party is still wrong and the other right.
Bambrough's counter to: "Our moral opinions are conditioned by our environment and upbringing"
- A. This is a special case for the disagreement argument.
- B. Gives examples: A tribe who buries their dead vs. a tribe who burns their dead. Both thought the others method was barbaric, but they did agree that 1. Respect must be shown to the dead. 2. They lived under vyer different climatic conditiones.
- Burying versus burning the dead is not an issue for which mankind needs to have a universal standpoint.
Bambrough's counter to: "When I say that something is good or bad or right or wrong I commit myself and reveal something of my attitudes and feelings"
- A. This is ture, but is is also true tha twhen I say something, true or false, or even tha tit is red or round, I commit myself and reveal someething about my beliefs.
- B. You should not say "this is good" and also that "I do not approve of it"
Bambrough's counter to "After every circumstance, every relation is known, the understanding has no further room to operate, nor any object on which it could employ itself"
Nothing can be proved to a man who willa ccept nothing that has not been proved.
Bambrough's Counter to: "A dispute which is purely moral is inconclusive in principle. The specifically moral element in moral disputes is one which cannot be resolved by investigation and reflection."
Based on the assumption that whatever is a logical or factual dispuate, or a mixture of logic and factual disputes, is necessarily NOT a moral dispute unless it is purely moral in the sense that it is a dispute between parties who agree on all the relevant factual and logical questions.
Bambrough's counter to: "There are recognized methods for settling factual and logical disputes, but here are no recognized methods for settling moral disputes"
- A. It is either false, or true and irrelevant
- B. Recognized methods of moral argument are
- 1. How would you like it if someone did it to you?
- 2. How would it be if we all acted like this?
The theory that the objective facts that make our moral propositions true are simple, indefinable propertie that cannot be known empirically. Goodness is knowable through some kind of rational faculty.
The theory that what makes our moral propositions true is dependent on the perspective of the moral agent making the moral judgment.
The theory that what makes our moral propositions true is depending on the perspective of a particular culture
Advocates for cultural relativism
- Ruth Benedict
- Margaret Mead
The theory that what makes our moral propositions true is dependent on the individual persepective of the person making the judgment. "What is right for me may not be right for you"
Advocate for subjectivism
- Bertrand Russell
- Jean Paul Sartre
The theory tha tour moral judgments are not propositional, or are not true or false. There is no actual moral knowledge
The theory that what we do when weuse moral terms is we offer disguised commands