Digest of terms

metaethics

debates in meta-ethics are not about descriptions of moral systems and values (descriptive ethics), nor about so-called 'first-order' issues such as the permissibility of abortion or homosexuality, and the principles and values behind such judgements (practical and normative ethics). Metaethics is a second-order enterprise analyzing the status and nature of first-order claims, e.g. whether moral judgements should be regarded as in some sense true, or only the expression of a person's emotions or attitudes, whether moral principles are relative or universal or absolute, or how best to analyse the meaning of key terms such as 'good', 'right', or indeed 'moral'.

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