What is Emotionalism? emotivismJune 26, 2021
Ayer was of the opinion that moral judgments are completely meaningless. When he says this, he seems to go beyond measure. However, this is the conclusion you arrive at when you apply his two-way test to moral judgments.
If you say, “Torture is wrong,” Ayer says, all you do is “Torture, yuuh!” means. What you’re doing here is to show your personal feelings about the subject, rather than making a statement that might be false or true. This is so because “Torture is wrong” is not true by definition. This statement is not something that we can prove or disprove as a fact. Ayer believes there are no tests you can take to make a decision on this issue.
This is something that utilitarians, like Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, will object to when measuring happiness. Therefore, according to Ayer’s analysis, saying “Torture is wrong” is completely meaningless; because it is a type of sentence that will never be true or false. If you say, “Compassion is good,” all you do is show how you feel. Like “Compassion, hooray!” like say.
Known as emotionalism (emotivism), Ayer’s ethical theory is often, as might be expected, “yuuh!/hooray! also known as “theory”. Some think that Ayer is reversing what he said, saying that the moral is irrelevant, you can do whatever you want. But Ayer wasn’t saying that, he was saying we can’t have a meaningful discussion about these issues based on values. However, he believed that in many discussions about what we should do, the facts were discussed and that they were empirically verifiable.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, “A Brief History of Philosophy” by Nigel Warburton