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Metaethical positions We are taught that tolerance is a virtue, yet as our reading shows, there are considerable problems for moral relativism.


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Metaethical positions

We are taught that tolerance is a virtue, yet as our reading shows, there are considerable problems for moral relativism.  Can we resolve this apparent conflict between being tolerant and having objective (the idea that some things are just right and others are just wrong) moral views, or do we have to sacrifice one for the other?

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SHAFER LANDAU Shafer-Landau tries to seek the status of

 

ethical claims. He is examining the moral

 

principles to discover if they are true, if

 

they are capable of being true. Is there

 

one truth regardless of the opinion of

 

others? Three basic kinds of moral skepticism: Moral Nihilism denies that there are any

 

moral truths. Nothing is ever good or

 

evil, moral or immoral. Two types of moral nihilism:

 

Error theory- our moral commitments are

 

always wrong. When making moral

 

pronouncements, we are almost always trying

 

to speak truth, but since there is no truth in

 

ethics, we are always mistaken. In this vein,

 

morality becomes simply another opiate for the

 

masses., a set of superstitions and illusions

 

meant to keep others in line. For error theorists,

 

talk of God or an action’s virtues is all fiction

 

since it presupposes something that does not

 

exist, i.e ; good or evil. Non-cognitivists believe that moral

 

judgments can’t be true or false because

 

they aren’t trying to describe moral facts.

 

Rather they are meant to vent our

 

emotions, to persuade others to share

 

their feelings, to coordinate our

 

responses with another, or express our

 

commitments. Non –cognitivists believe

 

that moral judgments are meant to

 

prescribe, not to describe. Ethical Subjectivism claims that there are

 

moral truths, but that each person

 

ultimately decides what those truths are.

 

We all create our own moral reality which

 

is equally valid for all. Ethical Relativism allows for moral truths,

 

but believes that those truths are

 

“relative” to each culture. Morality is

 

social rather than personal. It is possible

 

for people to make mistakes, but only

 

because they have failed to understand

 

what society endorses. Social agreement

 

is the ultimate measure of right and

 

wrong. On the other side are the Ethical Objectivists. Ethical

 

Objectivists believe that there are correct standards

 

for defining good and evil. In this view, we don’t

 

have the final say about what makes something good

 

or bad, even the moral commitments of individuals

 

and society can be mistaken. For something to be

 

objectively true, it must be true regardless of what

 

anyone thinks about it. This holds true for

 

mathematical equations and scientific facts. ShaferLandau believes this holds true for morality as well.

 

He admits the question, how can moral truths be as

 

objective as that of science or math, but believes the

 

strengths of his position are sound. “It is never morally right to destroy a

 

developing fetus”

 

“It is morally wrong to torture a human

 

being”

 

Can these claims both be true? The

 

meaning of true is objective (the way

 

things are independent of what people

 

believe.

 

It is inconsistent to hold both of these

 

beliefs

 


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