The Moral Judgment: Readings in Contemporary Meta-Ethics

The Moral Judgment: Readings in Contemporary Meta-Ethics

The Moral Judgment: Readings in Contemporary Meta-Ethics

The Moral Judgment: Readings in Contemporary Meta-Ethics

Excerpt

The philosophical essays in this book were chosen as being representative of the most important meta-ethical theories developed thus far in the twentieth century. By designating them as "meta-ethical theories," the editor is following the distinction made by contemporary philosophers between two kinds of moral philosophy, or two branches of ethics, called "normative ethics" and "meta-ethics." Although the distinguishing of these branches is new, their coexistence in moral philosophy is not. Philosophers as far back in time as the ancient Greeks were concerned with both normative ethical questions and questions of meta-ethics. Until the twentieth century, however, the two kinds of questions were often confused. Recent recognition of their differences has given fresh impetus to ethical theory. New methods of investigation have been developed, and the precise aims of philosophical inquiry in ethics have been redefined and clarified. As a result, philosophers are attaining a deeper and fuller understanding of the moral life of man. A brief account of the distinction between normative ethics and meta-ethics will serve as an introduction to the readings that follow.

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