Wednesday, September 28, 2016

MacIntyre Chapter Two: The Outline

The summary of MacIntyre's second chapter has been a beast. I keep reading and re-reading it. But I have finally made some progress. The result is too long to post in one entry. So here is my outline. I will post the first and second parts of the summary of chapter two later.
My Outline

The Nature of Moral Disagreement

I. Present public debates about moral issues seem interminable.
     A. Qualifying debates display three characteristics:
          1. Every argument is valid--but in different ways.
          2. Every argument purports to be an impersonal, rational argument.
               a. Assent is won by two moves:
                    1. The context of the argument supplies the reason for agreement.
                    2. The reason is a-contextual, and so assumes third-party grounds for assent.
          3. Every argument derives from various historical origins
              a. The two if-then statements
               1. IF the language of morality has passed from order to disorder,
                   THEN the meaning of it technical terms will have demonstrably changed.
               2. IF the characteristics of our moral discourse are symptoms of a moral disorder,
                   THEN we should be able to construct a timeline to examine moral arguments
                    at an earlier stage.

The Claims of Emotivism

II. It is always and everywhere the case: moral arguments by nature cannot be resolved.
     A. Emotivism is the current, philosophical representative of this view
          Emotivism is "nothing but" thinking that says agreement on moral questions cannot be secured by any rational method.
          1. It fails because
               a. It cannot define its own variables (in this case "the good") or escape circularity
               b. It is an oversimplification, combining two kinds of expression which define themselves by the way they contrast.
                    1. Expressions of personal preference; meaning is dependent on context.
                    2. Evaluative expressions (which include morals ones); meaning doesn't depend on context.
               c. It is unclear about whether it defines meaning or use.
     B. Intuitionism was the origin of Emotivism
          1. G E. Moore's Principia Ethica claimed that
               a. "Good" is an property instantly identifiable by the intuition and impervious to proof or disproof
               b. A "right" action is one that produces the most good
               c. Friendship and contemplation of the beautiful is the sole justification of human action
          2. Criticisms of Intuitionism
               a. It's three points are inconsistent with and do not require each other
               b. All three are defective

"Moore's followers had behaved as though their disagreements over what is good were being settled by an appeal to an objective and impersonal criterion; but in fact, the stronger and psychologically more adroit will was prevailing" (17).