chapter  5
13 Pages

Meta-ethical theories

Chapter 2 discussed authoritarian ethics and subjectivist ethics. Chapter 3 went on to discuss certain important ethical theories which are neither authoritarian nor subjectivist. However, all the theories in both chapters take normative ethics to be formulable in one or more rules or principles. In chapter 10 we will discuss an ethical theory, ‘situationalism’, which denies that this is possible. We will also discuss in that chapter various ethical theories which make morality relative in various ways, e.g. ‘ethical relativism’. However, we have had enough examples of normative ethical theories already to have some idea what a normative ethical theory is like. But what is a meta-ethical theory like? This chapter will discuss the three main types: naturalistic, nonnaturalistic, and non-cognitivist.