What is metaethics? How does it relate to ethical psychology? Where do our ethical ideas come from? Include reference to the role of religion and science as ideological justifications of immorality.
What is metaethics?
• Metaethics looks at the nature, logic and justification of moral considerations.
• Metaethics contemplates the questions
- how we should live our lives?
- what ethical considerations should we take into account?
Can logical Reasoning help us decide which is the ‘right’ way to live our lives?
• live our lives following what is socially approved by others? (ethical relativism)
• decide what is right by following our feelings or intuitions? (subjectivism or intuitionism)
• follow the principles of religion
• be consistent in our conduct and follow the ‘golde
n rule"tm that states:"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12)Standard Arguments of MetaethicsEthical Relativism-Ethical relativism individuals who develop their own values based on their own personal circumstances, that will be respected by other people-BUT, just because a social group believes something is "right,"tm does not mean that it is right. Some individuals feel good about hurting others, but this does not make it right. People will always disagree and not all beliefs can really be true. Supernaturalism-The belief in something above and beyond what is natural-There are logical problems with supernaturalism Eg. I believe killing is wrong (This really means) I don"tmt approve of killing (Therefore) I think you should disapprove of killing-Ideally this theory would be true if we were impartial to everybody else"tms beliefs, then our moral feelings might help us to determine what is right. If doing "good"tm is doing god"tms will, how do we know what God"tms will is This is determined by conflicting interpretations of the bible. Otherwise if actions are "good"tm because God desires them to be "good"tm, ethics would be arbitrary. -There are logical problems with subjectivism Eg. -Though, Liberalists believe there are "objective"tm values that different social groups will accept in their own waySubjectivism-Similar to relativism but believes that moral values are subjective not objective. -That is, ethics would be subject to individual interpretation. Eg children absorb moral values from parents to give us identityReligion Science: ideological justifications of immoralityReligion has been used as a psychological justification for acts of cruelty including killing or violence eg terrorist attacksScience has been used as a psychological justification to defend theories eg Darwin"tms survival of the fittest, strong survive weak perishJustifications for immorality-Variations of 3 themes:DenialTo accept that short term suffering is necessary for long term happinessAcknowledge that the world is more or less corrupt than it could be and circumstances will not change-Manipulate religion and science to justify immoral behaviour or immoral acts. - This requires moral insight to interpret texts in the first place. But what is right Just because something "ought"tm to be right, does not mean that it "is"tm right.