Encyclopedia > Emotivism

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In philosophy, emotivism, also known as individual ethical subjectivism is a belief that there are no unbiased (or supreme) ethical truths in the universe, but rather what we believe to be ethically right or wrong.

Take the statement "Cloning is wrong". An emotivist would analyze the statement to mean: "Do I have any negative feelings about cloning?". Emotivisists base morality solely on feelings and emotions rather than rational thought.

Emotivists suffer from the several key flaws in this line of thought, a couple being:

  1. They could never legitimitely criticize the moral views of other people's actions.
  2. They could never legitimitely criticize the moral views of their own actions.

If a person does something an emotivist doesn't like, he/she cannot criticize that person because, for that person, it may be morally correct. Likewise, they could not criticize themselves, either for past or present actions, because at the time, it would have been morally correct.

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