Essay on Mackie's Arguments Against Objective Values

Essay on Mackie's Arguments Against Objective Values

Length: 1686 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Mackie?s Arguments Against Objective Values

J. L. Mackie makes his position explicit by opening his article "The Subjectivity of Values" with this terse statement: "There are no objective values." Mackie had found recent dialogue in moral philosophy to be fraught with misunderstandings and conflations of various moral positions, so he felt it necessary to rigorously define his position as well as the boundaries of his concerns. Thus his article has two major parts: First, Mackie defines the nature of his moral skepticism, and, second, he defends his position by showing the implausibility of moral realism with a series of arguments.

Mackie?s first step in defining his position is to describe its essential features. He believes that there are no objective and independent values in the world, but he believes that statements about moral (and aesthetic) judgments are quite literal in claiming objective facts. Basically, Mackie is an error theorist, so he believes that judgments have a truth value even though there are no possible objective values that could ever make them true. The crux of his position is an ontological view about the absence of objective values.

Mackie?s second step in defining his position is to set its boundaries. When he speaks of values, he means not only moral values but any sort of values that may be believed objective, such as aesthetic ones, though his focus is on the moral ones. He also wants to make it clear that he is not setting forth a theory prescribing how to act or how to look for values, which he says is the business of first order ethics. His position concerns second order ethics, which is about the status of values. Importantly, he feels that major philosophical questions have been overlook...

... middle of paper ...

...l of human life. He shows that such a source is susceptible to both of his previous main arguments and feels that his only threat here is a viable theistic doctrine, so he brings no new sort of arguments to the table. However, his defense on this last point is also susceptible to the same weaknesses of his main arguments. It is even possible that he could be right that different people will have different moral responses to the same things yet still all subscribe to the same general goal of life; it is consistent that different means may reach the same end. If objective values were defeated above, it should now be considered whether a general goal of human life can be discerned in an objective manner. Regardless of whether we focus on a convergence of general values or an agreement on the goal of life, in this article Mackie runs roughshod over several open questions.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Rhetorical Analysis : Inventing Right And Wrong By John Ludwig Mackie Essay examples

- Values in Metaethics In John Ludwig Mackie’s book Inventing Right and Wrong, he claims that “in making moral judgments we are pointing to something objectively prescriptive, but that these judgments are all false”. By saying this, he supports his main point that there are no objective values. However, John McDowell will be against Mackie’s argument, for he suggests that besides primary qualities, there are also secondary qualities that can be objective. I hold the same viewpoint as McDowell’s. In this essay, I will firstly explain Mackie’s argument, then illustrate McDowell’s objections, and finally explore some potential responses by Mackie....   [tags: Perception, Sense, Logic, Morality]

Powerful Essays
749 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about The 's Argument That All Moral Judgments

- Moral Objectivism         The purpose of this essay is to elaborate on John Ludwig Mackie’s argument that all moral judgments are false considering they presuppose moral objectivity which is itself inaccurate. To do so, I shall explain Mackie’s reasoning as to why the belief that moral values are objective was founded, and clarify Mackie’s arguments for why such an idea is misleading. Furthermore, I shall demonstrate how John McDowell’s color analogy can successfully prove Mackie wrong. The argument of this essay will establish that Mackie is immune to the idea of moral objectivity for he finds it queer and unsupportive of the relativity shown throughout the world....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, J. L. Mackie, Immanuel Kant]

Powerful Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Behind Mackie's Argument For Atheism Essay

- Mackie in his paper Evil and Omnipotence, constructs an argument against the idea of the possibility of a God existing that has the characteristics laid out by the main religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These characteristics include that God is omnipotent, or He is capable of stopping evil, and omni benevolent, or He wants to eliminate evil and He is entirely good. Mackie systematically goes through his logical thought process as well as his response to any type of criticism or alternative solution that might arise....   [tags: Atheism Religion Argument]

Free Essays
1968 words (5.6 pages)

J.L. Mackie's Evil and Omnipotence Essay

- J.L. Mackie's "Evil and Omnipotence" The philosopher J.L. Mackie wrote a very convincing piece on the problem of evil called “Evil and Omnipotence,” in which he attempts to show that one of the following premises must be false in order for them to be consistent with each other. #1. God is omnipotent. #2. God is morally perfect. #3. Evil exists. The problem of evil is a deductive a priori argument who’s goal is to prove the non-existence of God. In addition to Mackie’s three main premises he also introduces some “quasi-logical” rules that give further evidence to his argument....   [tags: Philosophy Philosophical Evil Mackie Essays]

Powerful Essays
1664 words (4.8 pages)

The Arguments Against The Arguing Atheism Argument Essay examples

- The Arguments Against the Arguing Atheism Argument If this was an essay on English grammar, alliteration would be the culpable culprit. The empiricist’s notions of ‘knowledge’ --i.e. what can be known and how—and by whom, or rather, from what perspective/view/vantage— veer away from metaphorical language as aversions either from logic or rational observation within space and time; any argument based outside the data is therefore absent relevant meaning. It would seem that many atheistic notions prevalent in general western industrialized societies, while rarely comprising any orthodox, organized or consistent set of rules, are nonetheless increasingly pervading the culture, and in some r...   [tags: Atheism, God, Human, Theism]

Powerful Essays
1579 words (4.5 pages)

Arguments For and Against Censorship Essay

- ... The society enjoys freedoms, rights and privileges due to the stability of the ruling body. Without this stability, the society would lapse in to a condition of scenery where the lives would be solitary, poor, and brutal and short as put by Thomas Hobbes (Merryman & Elsen 564). The stability of the government and society is always assumed to exist without understanding the causes of this stability. The exposure of the social upheavals poses a great threat to destabilizing the government through free speeches from the opposition and parties....   [tags: public communication, freedom of speech, harmful]

Powerful Essays
1046 words (3 pages)

Arguments For And Against Abortion Essay

- There are many arguments for and against abortion one main focus is whether or not the fetus is a person. For this essay I will only be analyzing and discussing two philosophers with two different arguments, who are for and against abortion, with neither of them focusing on whether or not the fetus is a person. First I’ll examine the argument Judith Jarvis Thomson concludes, in the cases of pregnancy due to rape, in her article entitled “A Defense of Abortion.” I’ll explain how she argues for abortion being morally permissible in cases of rape and will indicate one problem with her argument....   [tags: Pregnancy, Abortion, Morality, Ethics]

Powerful Essays
1618 words (4.6 pages)

Essay about An Ethical Argument Against Abortion

- Each day throughout our world, medical professionals suction thousands of babies from their mothers’ wombs through a procedure called abortion. The law protects and provides consent to both the mother and the medical professionals for these procedures. However, the babies seemingly have no right to protection or life themselves because of the argument regarding when a fetus is determined be human and have life. Pro-life author, Sarah Terzo, in a article, relays the following testimony supporting this from a medical student upon witnessing his first abortion, “Rejected by their mothers and regarded as medical waste by their killers, society allows these babies to die silently...   [tags: Argument Against Abortion]

Powerful Essays
2133 words (6.1 pages)

Arguments Against Euthanasia Essay example

- Global Analysis Out of the three anti-euthanasia articles that I have thus far analyzed, two share a similar pattern. Both the American Medical Association's “Opinion 2.21 – Euthanasia” and William F. May's “Rising to the Occasion of Our Death” utilize values as objects of agreement, or grounds of a proposed policy (value judgements). According to Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s “Facts, Values, and Hierarchies” piece, objects of agreements serve the premises and focus on finding common ground – or “what is supposed to be accepted by the hearers [to get the] agreement of the audience” (Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca 65)....   [tags: rhetorical analysis]

Powerful Essays
1646 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Arguments For and Against Juries

- Arguments For and Against Juries The right to a trial by jury is a tradition that goes right to the heart of the British legal system. It is a right fiercely fought for, and fiercely defended at those times when its powers have been seen to be under threat - as those backing reforms are finding. The tradition of being "tried by a jury of ones peers" probably has its origins in Anglo Saxon custom, which dictated that an accused man could be acquitted if enough people came forward to swear his innocence....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
692 words (2 pages)