Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.


Jl Mackie Ethics Inventing Right And Wrong Notes

PPE Notes > Ethics Notes

This is an extract of our Jl Mackie Ethics Inventing Right And Wrong document, which we sell as part of our Ethics Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Oxford students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Ethics Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

J.L. Mackie - Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong Chapter One: The Subjectivity of Values Moral scepticism
* There are no objective values (e.g. goodness, rightness, duty, obligation, and also aesthetic values)
* this is a second order view of morality; a view of the status and nature of moral values and valuing
# it is distinct and independent from a first order rejection of morality
# it does not deny the difference between e.g. cowardice and bravery, but merely their (objective) difference in value Subjectivism
* This view of moral scepticism is equivalent to a form of second order moral subjectivism
* the thesis is both negative and ontological; it is a denial of the existence of a certain class of things
# this is distinct from linguistic or conceptual forms of subjectivism e.g. prescriptivism, although such forms generally presuppose this moral scepticism The multiplicity of second order qustions
* There are different types of second order moral questions - ontological, conceptual, linguistic etc
* linguistic types are imperialist, and seek to conflate concept and fact
# it is claimed that by discovering the meaning of moral terms, we can discover what e.g. goodness is
* this is false: we cannot understand perception by knowing what 'see' and 'hear' mean
* in the case of colours, popular usage treats them as real and existent, but enquiry shows them to be simply a relationship between light and object
* there is a discrepancy between meaning and the nature of the object Is objectivity a real issue?
* R.M. Hare claims he doesn't understand what is meant by 'the objectivity of values'
* imagine a world with objective values, and one without. in both worlds subjective belief is identical; they differ only in objective value. is there any difference between the two?
Hare says no
# but there is a difference: in the first there is something to back up subjective concern, and in the other there is not
# also, if objective values validated subjective concern, then we could acquire subjective concern simply by finding something out. this is not the case in the second world
* There is a difference between objectivity of value and intersubjective values, or simply universalizable values
* presumably objective values would be universal, but the converse does not hold; it is not the case that all universalizable values are/would be objective
* There is also a distinction between objectivism (ontological) and descriptivism (meaning) - the view that the meanings of moral terms are purely descriptive (rather than evaluative, prescriptive)
* descriptive theories can be non-objective e.g. Berkeley
* objective theories can be non-descriptive e.g. European moral philosophy since Plato has

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Ethics Notes.