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|Title:||A Critical Examination of A.J. Ayer's Moral Philosophy|
|Keywords:||moral, philosophy, critical, notion, emotive, ethical, reasoning, factual, conclusions|
|Abstract:||A Critical Examination of A.J. Ayer's Moral Philosophy Ayer' s overall notion of ethics is that all normative ethical statements are cognitively meaningless. This thesis is an attempt to refute this claim. Ayer's notion is based, I think, on his following two convictions: ( i ) ethical statements are purely emotive, (ii) reasoning from factual premises to ethical conclusions is neither deductive nor inductive. Ethical statements are, according to Ayer, purely emotive because they are pure expressions of the feelings and emotions of the speaker. This means that ethical statements do not even report the speaker's mental state. I have shown that there are some voluntarily uttered ethical statements which are not expressive and hence that some ethical statements are not purely emotive. The controversy whether ethical statements can be deduced formally from factual statements is very old. I have switched the problem to a different direction by showing that the induction/deduction dichotomy is not adequate for reasoning. Other reasoning processes, like informal reasoning, allow one to deduce ethical conclusions from factual premises. It is also shown how Ayer's criterion of meaning, namely the verification principle, renders ethical statements meaningful. Finally, I have defended universalistic act-utilitarianism as a cognitive theory of ethics.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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