It tries to discover the nature of truth and knowledge and to find what is of basic value and importance in life.
References and Further Reading 1. Metaethics The term "meta" means after or beyond, and, consequently, the notion of metaethics involves a removed, or bird's eye view of the entire project of ethics.
We may define metaethics as the study of the origin and meaning of ethical concepts. When compared to normative ethics and applied ethics, the field of metaethics is the least precisely defined area of moral philosophy.
It covers issues from moral semantics to moral epistemology. Two issues, though, are prominent: Objectivism and Relativism Metaphysics is the study of the kinds of things that exist in the universe.
Some things in the universe are made of physical stuff, such as rocks; and perhaps other things are nonphysical in nature, such as thoughts, spirits, and gods. The metaphysical component of metaethics involves discovering specifically whether moral values are eternal truths that exist in a spirit-like realm, or simply human conventions.
There are two general directions that discussions of this topic take, one other-worldly and one this-worldly. Proponents of the other-worldly view typically hold that moral values are objective in the sense that they exist in a spirit-like realm beyond subjective human conventions.
They also hold that they are absolute, or eternal, in that they never change, and also that they are universal insofar as they apply to all rational creatures around the world and throughout time.
The most dramatic example of this view is Platowho was inspired by the field of mathematics. Humans do not invent numbers, and humans cannot alter them. Plato explained the eternal character of mathematics by stating that they are abstract entities that exist in a spirit-like realm. He noted that moral values also are absolute truths and thus are also abstract, spirit-like entities.
In this sense, for Plato, moral values are spiritual objects. Medieval philosophers commonly grouped all moral principles together under the heading of "eternal law" which were also frequently seen as spirit-like objects.
In either case, though, they exist in a spirit-like realm. A different other-worldly approach to the metaphysical status of morality is divine commands issuing from God's will. Sometimes called voluntarism or divine command theorythis view was inspired by the notion of an all-powerful God who is in control of everything.
God simply wills things, and they become reality. He wills the physical world into existence, he wills human life into existence and, similarly, he wills all moral values into existence. Proponents of this view, such as medieval philosopher William of Ockhambelieve that God wills moral principles, such as "murder is wrong," and these exist in God's mind as commands.
God informs humans of these commands by implanting us with moral intuitions or revealing these commands in scripture. The second and more this-worldly approach to the metaphysical status of morality follows in the skeptical philosophical tradition, such as that articulated by Greek philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and denies the objective status of moral values.
Technically, skeptics did not reject moral values themselves, but only denied that values exist as spirit-like objects, or as divine commands in the mind of God. Moral values, they argued, are strictly human inventions, a position that has since been called moral relativism. There are two distinct forms of moral relativism.
The first is individual relativism, which holds that individual people create their own moral standards. Friedrich Nietzsche, for example, argued that the superhuman creates his or her morality distinct from and in reaction to the slave-like value system of the masses.
The second is cultural relativism which maintains that morality is grounded in the approval of one's society - and not simply in the preferences of individual people. In addition to espousing skepticism and relativism, this-worldly approaches to the metaphysical status of morality deny the absolute and universal nature of morality and hold instead that moral values in fact change from society to society throughout time and throughout the world.
They frequently attempt to defend their position by citing examples of values that differ dramatically from one culture to another, such as attitudes about polygamy, homosexuality and human sacrifice.
Psychological Issues in Metaethics A second area of metaethics involves the psychological basis of our moral judgments and conduct, particularly understanding what motivates us to be moral.
We might explore this subject by asking the simple question, "Why be moral? Some answers to the question "Why be moral?
Egoism and Altruism One important area of moral psychology concerns the inherent selfishness of humans.
Even if an action seems selfless, such as donating to charity, there are still selfish causes for this, such as experiencing power over other people. This view is called psychological egoism and maintains that self-oriented interests ultimately motivate all human actions.(philosophy) the philosophical theory that formal (logical or mathematical) statements have no meaning but that its symbols (regarded as physical entities) exhibit a form that has useful applications.
(philosophy) a doctrine that life is a vital principle distinct from physics and chemistry. It reflects an understanding of the principles inherent in ethics, and the various philosophical approaches to ethical decision-making.
Ethical decision-making also requires a systematic framework for tackling difficult and often controversial moral questions, as mention in the case study on whether Michael has done the right thing . The Importance of Philosophy in Human Life Posted In: Philosophers have developed a number of theories in metaphysics.
These theories include materialism, idealism, mechanism, and teleology. and philosophical analysis, have been influential chiefly in the United States and Great Britain.
Many major historical figures in philosophy have provided an answer to the question of what, if anything, makes life meaningful, although they typically have not put it .
Ethics. The field of ethics (or moral philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior.
Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. of life forms, and indeed the De anima is not so much a study of human nature as it is the foundational treatise in Aristotle’s long sequence of biological works.
The project of reconciling Aristotle and Christianity, however, important as it.