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Cognitive Theories - Intuitionism

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Erica Fogg

on 16 September 2013

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Transcript of Cognitive Theories - Intuitionism

Meta-ethics - Ethical Language - Cognitive Theories
Cognitive Theories of Meta-ethics
Cognitivism/ Ethical Naturalism is the view that we can have ethical moral knowledge.
Moral statements describe the world around us.
Cognitivism also purports the view that ethical statements are objective in nature.
Therefore ethical statements are the same as non-ethical statements as are verifiable or falsifiable.
Criticisms of Ethical Naturalism/ Cognitivism
The Naturalistic Fallacy
G. E. Moore provided the main critique against cognitive theories of language.
The attempt to liken goodness as a natural quality is a mistake.
Using such an approach is to commit to the Naturalistic Fallacy.
Asserting that good is something which cannot be defined.
G. E. Moore's argument was based on David Hume's view that 'ought' does not infer 'is'.
Criticisms of Intuitionism
Moore does not conclusively proved that 'good' can be determined by intuition.
Naturalistic fallacy shows that you cannot infer value based on facts.
'Intuition' shrouds the whole issue in mystery.
How do we know our intuition is correct?
What about when we feel torn in our intuition?
Intuition seems mutable by culture - cultures are different - therefore how can intutionism be univerasalised?
What is Meta-ethics?
The word ‘meta’ in Greek means ‘above’ or ‘beyond’; thus meta-ethics goes further than ethical theories to look at what is meant by the terms used in ethics – what does the language mean?
Meta-ethics differs from Normative ethics, But is about Normative ethics. In that it tries to make sense of the terms and concepts used.
You often hear people use words such as 'good', 'bad' and 'right' or 'wrong' - meta-ethics questions what such words actually mean.
Is language purely subjective? meta-ethics attempts to answer the question: 'can our ethical statements have any meaning?

Discussion focused on the moral claim 'ought' in that nothing can be defined by it.
Obligations are as indefinable as good.
Intuition decides what to do in a situation.
Some people's intuition is better developed than others.
Intuitionism - H. A. Prichard
Ross fleshed out the bones on intuitionism found in Prichard.
Seven classes of prima facie ( accepted as correct) duties.
1. Fidelity - promise-keeping.
2. Reparation
3. Gratitude
4. Justice
5. Beneficence - helping others
6. Self-improvement
7. Not harming others

Intuitionism - W. D. Ross
G. E. Moore (1873 - 1958)
Moore was a philosopher and professor, focusing his career on ethical problems.
His major works 'Principia Ethica' published in 1903.
Intuitionism asserts the view that moral truths are known by intuition.
Moore said that 'good' is a simple, unanalysable property just as a primary colour.
Cannot use our senses to tell what is good, but we can use our 'moral intuition'.
We recognise goodness as though it is a 'simple notion'.
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