Chapter

Metaethics, Better Ethics: From Complex Semantics to Simple Decency

Peter Unger

in Living High and Letting Die

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195108590
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868261 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195108590.003.0007
Metaethics, Better Ethics: From Complex Semantics to Simple Decency

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To reconcile the unusual behavior judgments made in the preceding chapters with the more ordinary moral assessments made by most people, it is necessary to offer a semantic account of moral talk and moral thought. This semantic account is multidimensional and context sensitive. The terms that figure in moral judgments have an indexical aspect to their semantics and thus are sensitive to the contexts in which they are used, which allows the context to determine what is, for that situation, close enough to complete conformity with morality. When people seek to move outside the tough contexts set by Liberationism, a dim view rightly is taken of their mental or judgmental activity.

Keywords: indexical aspect; moral judgment; morality; semantics

Chapter.  7868 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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