Metaethics Explored

Author: Davis, Paul


PDF ISBN 978-1-84760-049-3 83 pages; file size 775 kb printing allowed; copying disabled, Also in ePub and Mobi.

Recommend to your librarian

The exhilarating study guide (also in paperback: see below) explains and discusses some key approaches in metaethics, and suggests that an account which is naturalist and objectivist might have more to commend it than is popularly allowed.
Three Formats: PDF, ePub, Mobi.

The book

The book begins with an overview of metaethics and a rejection of the metaethics/normative ethics distinction. Chapter 1 also considers the strengths and limitations of the popular idea that morality is a set of rules for how we treat one another, pointing to the heart of the topic.
Chapter 2 introduces the distinction between cognitivism and noncognitivism, and explains subjectivist, intersubjectivist, and objectivist accounts of the truth conditions of moral statements. Divine Command Theory and Kant's categorical imperatives, as in his Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, are explained and considered.
Chapters 3 and 4 consider the hostility, philosophical and popular, towards objectivist realism. This includes some discussion of David Hume's arguments in A Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning the Principals of Morals, and of A. J. Ayer's emotivism. It is argued that the said hostility is unwarranted.
Chapter 5 sketches a naturalist objectivism and suggests that the obstacles to its acceptance are typically grounded on spurious asymmetries between ethics and other disciplines.

About the author

The author is Lecturer in the Sociology of Sport & Exercise at the University of Sunderland, haviong been previously a tutor in philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and lecturer in the philosophy of sport at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. His doctoral thesis was on free will, and he has published on consciousness, ethics, and ethical and aesthetic issues in sport. He is the co-editor (with Charlene Weaving ) of Philosophical Perspectives on Gender in Sport and Physical Activity (Routledge, 2009).

Other Formats

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Metaethics Explored

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Review Comment

"... an introduction to some of the main questions of current philosophical discussions of metaethics. Davis’s writing style is engaging and accessible, and he approaches issues from a refreshingly commonsensical point of view. For example, ch. 4 ... looks at some of the central questions of metaethics as they come up through various popular contemporary notions, such as the Death of God, Multiculturalism, Decline of Communal Life, and Postmodernism and Irony. In this way, the book differs from the typical academic or article-based introduction to metaethics and has the potential to engage a larger audience. The book also includes a useful discussion of the difference between metaethics and normative ethics, and Davis considers what if anything several of the main ethical theories about right and wrong might imply about the nature of moral judgment and the possibility of there being and us knowing objective moral facts. This book will be useful to students coming to metaethics for the first time as well as interested laypeople."

--Matthew Chrisman, Dept of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

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