Directions and issues of analytic metaethics
Keywords:metaethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, moral realism, moral naturalism, moral anti-realism
A meta-theoretical approach is characteristic for analytic philosophy. By such an approach one focuses on a process of scientific investigation and on its methodological and philosophical foundations, rather than on considering object domain as such. At the same time analytic philosophy does not a exclude a theoretical study of philosophical entities, as well as possible applied aspects of such a study. More specifically, in ethics one should differentiate between (1) consideration of particular human actions and modes of behavior from the point of view of their moral evaluation; (2) ethic systems as such, which determine the conditions of such an evaluation; (3) philosophicomethodological analysis of these systems. Consequently, analytic moral philosophy comprises three levels of moral consideration, which correspond to three main parts of ethics (ethical disciplines): applied ethics, normative ethics and metaethics. An analogous division one usually finds in the methodology of science when one differentiates between some knowledge (with a theoretical and empirical levels) and its methodology. The main task of metaethics consists in elucidating the nature of moral judgments and ethical conceptions, and in finding their foundations. Such a foundation cam be given by considering a variety of issues which connect ethics with the other philosophical disciplines, such as metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. Normative ethics provides concrete moral conceptions which justify certain ethical principles, as well as describe the moral reality subject to these principles. Applied ethics considers concrete moral situations, actions, behavioral practices, and provides certain recommendations for dealing with them in the positive and negative ways.
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