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




Can these claims both be true? The


meaning of true is objective (the way


things are independent of what people




It is inconsistent to hold both of these




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Dec 18, 2020





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