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July 19, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

A Critique of Skeptical Meta-ethics in Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Video on various Meta Ethics from UNT:

My critique of scientistic or skeptical meta-ethics.

Reductionist analysis isn’t very good be all end all decision-making calculous.
Skepticism isn’t comparative–it doesn’t provide a threshold.
People can use “skepticism” as the rhetorical cover for just
1) infinite questioning (and I might add at some point pointless)
2) only looking at the disadvantages

Naturalism/physicalism:
1) Can’t find ethics
2) Can’t find ideas (they aren’t physical)
3) Excludes minds
4) Excludes purpose & meaning

So…..naturalism is a category mistake.

And certain forms exclude the subjective and the emotional–or at least suppress them. Humans however are not like the hyper-rational Spock….or Sheldon on Big Bang Theory. Humans are messy and personal. [again….there are only certain forms that exclude these….]

Ethics are founded on shared understandings of the right.

Also, you need to have adductive reasoning about future actions…..science doesn’t include this.
1) science as a basis = paralysis
2) In other words, a strict scientific perspective here….suppresses science (because there is no peer reviewed science to support it).

And the historical record of human rights is empirical and pragmatic. (mostly the former).

This model is overly simplistic. It says knowledge/ideas are either one or the other. It doesn’t allow for a range of credibility–multi-dimensional, inter-disciplinary proof and principles.

There are lots of principles at that are helpful to the welfare, human survival, and innovation/progress…..like this that have empirical support through historical analysis.

Here is a link to an article that is critical of this type of scientism (link)

All my criticisms function at an assumptive level which undermines the foundational truth claims of the skeptical version of meta-ethics. (i.e. the two fold burden or whatever above is kind of silly). For instance, if meta-ethics (or rather skepticism) as applied here is a category mistake…..it doesn’t have a leg to stand on period. If historical understandings are just as good–thats an end run around the theory. The fundamental basis of the claim that “all truth claims must be scientific” is not only not scientific……but incredibly weak and dubious (as I proved above).

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