more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5206

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / A. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / h. Expressivism]

Full Idea

In adding 'You acted wrongly inů' to 'you stole my money' I am not making any further statement about it; I am simply evincing my moral disapproval of it.

Gist of Idea

To say an act is wrong makes no further statement about it, but merely expresses disapproval


A.J. Ayer (Language,Truth and Logic [1936], Ch.6)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.142

A Reaction

A basic claim of emotivism. Perhaps an understandable response to (e.g.) Kantian claims that we have duties, but to no one in particular. Most people mean by moral criticism that there will be long-term bad consequences, or virtue is lacking.