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While normative ethics addresses such questions as "Which things are (morally or ethically) good and bad? ," thus endorsing some ethical evaluations and rejecting others, metaethics addresses such questions as: "What is (moral or ethical) goodness?
While Ruse at least defends (4′), he says nothing about (5′), perhaps because he thinks its truth is obvious. Many philosophers, including Richard Swinburne, have argued that moral truths are For the existence of the phenomena described by analytic truths needs no explanation.
It does not need explaining that all bachelors are unmarried, or that if you add two to two you get four.
The only alternative is for ethical statements to be correct objective claims, which entails moral realism.
Another way of categorizing meta-ethical theories distinguishes between monistic theories (in which there is one true, or at least one highest, good) and pluralistic theories.
For an example of an intersubjective foundation for moral values, consider Larry Arnhart’s recent defense of an Aristotelian ethical naturalism rooted in the biological nature of human beings. On Arnhart’s theory, some moral values have an ontological foundation in the biological nature of human beings.
Moreover, those moral values are epistemologically objective, since they are rooted in universal desires found in all human societies.These things hold inevitably and necessarily, whether or not there is a God. Why does Ruse not consider the possibility that at least some objective moral truths are analytic? Ruse can conclude that “the only reason we could have for believing in an ontologically objective morality is the actual existence of an ontologically objective morality” only by that there is no ontologically objective morality.Thus, the thesis that there are no analytic truths about morality is both an assumption and an implication of the conclusion of his supporting argument.As Lillehammer notes, in order to properly understood Ruse’s argument, we need to understand how Ruse defines his terms.It is odd, then, that Lillehammer doesn’t quote any passages from Ruse’s writings which clarify what Ruse has in mind.There would be no reason to think the evolutionist is committed to a belief in speeding trains in both worlds. Given two worlds, identical except that one has an objective morality and the other does not, the humans therein would think and act exactly the same ways, Hence the objective foundation for morality is redundant.(4) On the assumption that evolution is true, an objective morality is not necessary to explain why people believe there is an objective morality.One is aware of the speeding train only because there is such a train. If the evolutionist’s case is well taken, the people in both worlds are going to have identical beliefs-subject to normal laws of causation and so forth. You would believe what you do about right or wrong, irrespective of whether or not a ‘true’ right or wrong existed . (5) But the only reason we could have for believing in an objective morality is that they form part of the explanation for why we have the moral beliefs we do.In various writings, Ruse has argued against moral realism by appealing to (Darwinian) evolution.Instead, he argues, the scientific facts about evolution justify the conclusion that moral error theory is correct." Metaethics seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties and evaluations as such, and not just the content of particular norms or evaluations.In addition to those given above, examples of metaethical questions include: A meta-ethical theory, unlike a normative ethical theory, does not contain any ethical evaluations.