lesson 7. _A_J_Ayer_s_Emotivism_UPDATE

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Transcript lesson 7. _A_J_Ayer_s_Emotivism_UPDATE

1. Highlight all words you do not know
and find their meaning in a dictionary.
2. Match the explanations around the
edge to the ideas found in the quote.
3. Summarise Ayer’s ideas in TWO
sentences at the bottom of the sheet.
Hmk: Revise for assessment for next WEEK.
Additional Challenge: Produce a revision sheet on Naturalism,
Intuitionism and Emotivism with evaluation for each theory for
NEXT LESSON, to be photocopied and distributed to the rest of
the class in Miss Mullin’s lesson.
25 March 2016
AJ Ayer’s emotivism
S What is Moral Realism?
S What is Moral Anti-Realism?
S What did Moore say about Complex and Simple ideas?
Intuitionism, the key players …
S You must make sure that you are aware of the following:
S G. E. Moore and The Open-Question Argument
S H. A. Prichard and how he differs from Moore
S W. D. Ross and the Prima Facie obligations
Evaluation of Intuitionism
Points For
Points Against
S Makes logical sense we do
How can you account for the
differences between people’s
intuitions of good? Did Hitler
make an intuitive mistake? Surely
this proves it is subjective.
Is intuition a sixth sense? Verify
If there are conflicts there is no
way of concluding who is right.
Can someone lack intuition?
have examples in the world of
people making decisions
without using reason, gut
It presents a simple guideline
for how to make moral
S It provides an explanation for
incapability to define good.
Logical Positivism and the
Verification Principle
S Interested in science; sceptical of theology and
metaphysics. Any truth claim must be tested by
sense experience. Therefore, ethical statements 
NOT genuine truth claims.
S The verification principle: a statement is only
meaningful if there is a conclusive procedure
determining whether it is true or false.
S Therefore, ‘God exists’ is a meaningless statement.
S Types of meaningful statement: analytic (true by
definition) and synthetic (true by evidence)
Analytic and Synthetic
S Analytic statements – the truth of falsity of the statement can be
determined simply by understanding the terms that occur in
them. Examples of analytic statements are statements of
mathematics or logic. E.g. ‘All bachelors are unmarried men.’
‘All red parrots are red.’ ‘All triangles have three sides’
S Synthetic statements – the truth of falsity of the statement can
be determined by checking to establish the facts either way (find
evidence.) Examples of synthetic statements are statements of
science, history and ordinary life. E.g. ‘All tigers are fierce.’ ‘It’s
snowing.’ ‘There is a squirrel in that tree.’
Complete your
summary sheets
for both
According to Emotivists:
So what are moral statements?
Moral statements cannot be verified
synthetically or analytically. Therefore they are
not truths or facts.
Moral statements are
simply expressions of
preference, attitude or
Emotivism –
‘boo’ ‘hurrah’
Moral statements come from our emotional responses to situations.
S When I say murder is wrong I am saying ‘murder – boooooooo!’
S When I say giving to charity is good I am saying ‘charity -
S Therefore, ethical statements are expressions of
approval/disapproval, not assertions (e.g. ‘Theft is
wrong’ ≠‘I disapprove of theft’).
Emotivism – the boo/hurray
S Influenced by Hume.
S True information is verified by science.
S Facts are observable but moral statements are emotive
S Non cognitive.
S Ethical statements cannot be true or false.
S Words like good and bad are ways of showing
emotional approval or disapproval.
S 2 types: analytic & synthetic
Evaluation of Emotivism
Points For
Points Against
S Using emotive language is
S Undermines all ethical
affective in changing
attitudes of others.
S People make decisions
based on emotions anyway.
It describes the workings of
the world accurately.
S Just because they’re not
verifiable they still have
theories that say that right
and wrong are derived from
S Morality is meaningless. E.g.
S If all morality is emotion
whose emotions should we
follow? Our own? Others?
Our leaders?
Essay plan
HOMEWORK: write the following
‘Emotivism is not the correct way to
deal with language’. Discuss. (35)
C. L. Stevenson
S Stevenson added to Ayer’s theory by asserting that when we make
moral statements we are not only expressing our emotional response
to a situation but we are also trying to persuade others to have the
same emotional response.
S For Stevenson, language has two principle uses; the descriptive use
and the dynamic use.
S E.g. Take the phrase, ‘I am loaded down with work.’ The descriptive
use here states a fact, namely, to inform another of how busy I am.
The dynamic use would take the statement and use it to provoke
others to feel or behave a certain way, such as informing others of my
misery to get them to take some of my workload from me.
The Removal of Reason
The removal of reason is one of the major criticisms of
emotivism and intuitionism.
James Rachels argues that it is wrong of Ayer to make a
connection between the ‘ouch’ response when you stub
your toe and the ‘that’s wrong’ reaction when you see
details of a murder on the news.
Extra critique
R.M. Hare says that we are too
complex to reduce morality to this.
He was against this
simplistic an analysis of language.
Morality involves the use of reason.
He cannot accept that such terrible
acts as the Holocaust can be
reduced to I believe that killing.
S James Rachels – argues that it
was wrong to remove reason
from moral judgements.
Statements like ‘I like coffee’
need no reason, but moral
judgements do else they become
Peter Vardy says it is a moral ‘nontheory’ because it is not an ethical
theory in the classical sense.
MacIntyre said that it was a
misconceived theory of ethics. This
doctrine has obscured modern life
which is characterised by social
emotivism in which all judgements
are expression of opinion. It stops
us from seeing the importance of
human qualities and causes us to
treat, ”Others are always means,
never ends.”
Revision: Speed dates.
Share Knowledge and Evaluation
Use A2 textbooks to help.
Naturalism, Hume and the
Naturalistic Fallacy
Moral Realism
Moral Anti- Realism
Analytic and Synthetic
Natural Law
G.E. Moore
H.A. Pritchard
W.D. Ross
A.J. Ayer
C.L. Stevenson
Virtue Ethics
S On your speed date you must give
and receive information
Thomas Aquinas
S The purpose of this exercise if for
sharing knowledge.