By H. J. McCloskey
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Extra info for Meta-ethics and normative ethics
Ewing, in Chapter 1, The Definition of Good, has systematically set out some of the standard criticisms of this kind of theory. All these criticisms centre around its implications, and they and other criticisms to be developed later effectively bring out the important features of moral discourse noted earlier as well as several additional important features. To consider first those criticisms noted by Ewing, restated and modified in various ways. e. as admitting of truth or falsity, by explaining them as judgments about the speaker's approvals and disapproVals.
K. Frankena: Ethics: Englewood Cliffs, N. , Prentice-Hall, 1963: pp. 81-2. 28 META-ETHICS That naturalistic theories do commit the naturalistic fallacy is confirmed by the unsatisfactory account of the nature of ethical disagreement they are obliged to offer. g. the theistic and natural law theories considered earlier, which commit the naturalistic fallacy, theories which consist in naturalistic definitions seek to explain disagreements as being either verbal or factual. g. g. that 'wrong' means conducive to suffering) and are disagreeing as to whether infliction of needless suffering on animals is really conducive to greater overall suffering.
For example, discovering that a trusted, respected friend is a thief leads to a change of description of him as a bad man. In terms of this account, we should alter our attitudes but we should not be entitled to say that we had been mistaken in our moral judgment. The previous judgment remains true, and the new one is also true (since each contains an implicit time reference). I simply alter my attitude, and, altering an attitude is not invalidating the previous one. Yet we do speak of having made mistakes, and not simply of having had inappropriate attitudes; and we do and ought to treat facts, other than facts about ourselves and facts which bear on our attitudes, as relevant reasons for admitting to have been mistaken in our moral judgments.