Cognitivism and Ethics

Cognitivism in ethics maintains that ethical convictions (regarding actions, states of affairs, or character traits) function the same way as other ordinary beliefs in that they are capable of being true or false. Cognitivism, therefore, holds that such convictions have propositional content and their correctness or incorrectness is determined by whether they are true or false, respectively. So, for instance, ethical claims such as “it would be unjust to terminate that employee” or “it is dishonorable for him to deceive her like that” are conveying states of mind regarding just and honorable behavior that can be determined to be true or false. In this regard, cognitivism is a metaethical thesis regarding the semantic status of ethical claims that has both ontological and epistemological implications regarding ...

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