Immanuel Kant And The Meta-Ethical Problem - Deepstash
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Immanuel Kant And The Meta-Ethical Problem

Immanuel Kant And The Meta-Ethical Problem

Immanuel Kant said that a human being’s innate practical reason gives rise to a universal set of “moral laws” which any rational person knows they must follow. 

 But even if we know the universal laws, why should we feel compelled to follow them? Kant’s answer was that we must postulate a belief in God and the immortality of the soul and that we simply must push the doubts of pure reason aside to make way for faith. This is the meta-ethical problem.

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Cultural Relativism And Moral Nihilism

The belief that nothing is morally right or wrong(moral nihilism), and the belief that morals are culture-specific(cultural relativism) seems to be in retreat everywhere. There are 2 motivations for this - 

  1. Moral dogmatism(negative motivation)- those who wish to dogmat...

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468 reads

The Self and Self-Interest is What Matters

The Self and Self-Interest is What Matters

This claim argues that we have no ethical obligation to act well beyond what makes us personally happy or satisfied. This seems extremely close to making ethics purely subjective. 

Philosophers, like Nietzsche, argue that a person truly concerned with their ‘self’ w...

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227 reads

Henry Sidgwick and the Profoundest Problem in Ethics

Henry Sidgwick and the Profoundest Problem in Ethics

Sidgwick argued that it is happiness that we should take as the motivation for being good. So if happiness was what was intrinsically good, we must, at times, even put our own desires aside to maximize the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. But what might motiv...

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205 reads

Naturalism and Human Nature

Naturalism and Human Nature

This claim(adopted by authors like Sam Harris) argues that we should use the tools of modern science to assess what human beings want and what their characteristics are, for instance, by looking at evolutionary biology or psychology and develop an ethical framework in accordance with human na...

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The Independent Existence of Value

The Independent Existence of Value

The final claim is that the values that ‘matter’ in some sense exist independently of us. In this view, ethical values are rather like a mathematical formula. Human beings bring them into existence through developing logical ways of thinking about important issues. 

This is as far away from...

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David Hume

David Hume

David Hume observed that we can never move readily from scientifically understanding facts about the world to determining what values people should hold to. It became clear that just knowing objective facts about human nature and desires couldn’t necessarily lead us to a clear se...

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