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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L019-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 15, 2024, from

Article Summary

Emotivists held that moral judgments express and arouse emotions, not beliefs. Saying that an act is right or wrong was thus supposed to be rather like saying ‘Boo!’ or ‘Hooray!’ Emotivism explained well the apparent necessary connection between moral judgment and motivation. If people judge it wrong to lie, and their judgment expresses their hostility, then it comes as no surprise that we can infer that they are disinclined to lie. Emotivism did a bad job of explaining the important role of rational argument in moral practice, however. Indeed, since it entailed that moral judgments elude assessment in terms of truth and falsehood, it suggested that rational argument about morals might be at best inappropriate, and at worst impossible.

Citing this article:
Smith, Michael. Emotivism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L019-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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