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boo-hurrah theory

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E thics A nickname for emotivism , because emotivism claims that ethical judgments, rather than being statements of facts, are only expressions of emotion, and are neither true nor false. Moral judgments are attitudes rather than beliefs. In this way, to say something is right is to have a favorable attitude toward it and amounts to saying “Hurrah!” To say something is wrong is to have an unfavorable attitude toward it and is equivalent to saying “Boo!” “On that [non-cognitivist] view, to say that stealing is wrong is merely to voice one's disapproval of stealing, so the remark could be more revealingly rewritten as ‘stealing-Boo’. Similarly, ‘God is good’ could be translated as ‘Hurrah for God’. Not surprisingly, this view was dubbed the Boo-Hurrah theory of ethics.” McNaughton, Moral Vision ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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