Towards a Phenomenological Metaethics

Philosophy Research Archives 9:639-663 (1983)
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Abstract

Hany metaethicists have all but abandoned the possibility that ordinary value language has any sort of universal logic. But careful phenomenological reflection indicates that we call something “good” only if we tacitly believe that it is disposed to be “pragmatically attractive” in some way. Conversely, “bad” things must be “pragmatically repellent”. Linguistic and phenomenological evidence supports these observations. Differences in the meanings of diverse value judgments seem to be due to variations in the practical context in which the attraction or repulsion is judged. The fact that we can legitimately request clarification regarding each of five practical dimensions tends to indicate that a common structure underlies all senses in which something can be said “good” or “bad.”

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