ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Analyzing Ethics: A Book Review of “Irrealism in Ethics”

Updated on December 14, 2015
Jenny Talaver profile image

Jenny is a Philosophy Major from Ateneo de Zamboanga University. She has been an online writer for three years now.

Irrealism in Ethics

Source

Introduction

Irrealism in Ethics is a compilation of six original philosophical essays written by today’s leading authorities in moral philosophy that tackle on the vast variety of forms of ethical irrealism. The essays in this book offer new perspectives that approach the arguments that surround the two major versions of ethical irrealism: the error theory and expressivism. Topics of discussion go from evolutionary origins, possibility of good moral advice, moral error theory, possibility of faultless moral disagreement, to the most plausible form of irrealism. Published in United Kingdom by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and mainly edited by Bart Streumer, this book provides insightful views into the nature of moral ethics and the meaning of moral language.

Bart Streumer

Bart Streumer edited the book, Irrealism in Ethics.
Bart Streumer edited the book, Irrealism in Ethics. | Source

Significance of Ethics

This book is mostly fascinating because it covers one of the most controversial yet more often than not unspoken issues in society – the changes of the nature of ethics. Ethics is a highly significant aspect of human life, both in individual and societal practice. As such, it is always important to contemplate and discuss how the meaning of morality has changed and how we can live with these changes whilst ensuring that we all live together in a social world governed by shared norms of decency, honesty, mutual respect, compassion and fairness.

Ethics is more than a word

Ethics is the lifeblood of our dignity as humans.
Ethics is the lifeblood of our dignity as humans. | Source

The 6 philosophical essays in the Irrealism in Ethics

There are six original philosophical essays included in this book, which are as follows:

  1. Irrealism and the Genealogy of Morals by Richard Joyce
  2. A Distinction Without a Difference? Good Advice for Moral Theorists by Hallvard Lillehammer
  3. Ethics Without Errors by James Lenman
  4. Faultless Moral Disagreement by Alison Hills
  5. Revolutionary Expressivism by Sebastian Köhler and Michael Ridge
  6. Do Normative Judgements Aim to Represent the World? by Bart Streumer


Included in this book review are the summaries of the first three philosophical essays.

Undeniable Dillema of Right and Wrong

Ethics is a highly significant aspect of human life, both in individual and societal practice.
Ethics is a highly significant aspect of human life, both in individual and societal practice. | Source

Richard Joyce’s Irrealism and Geneology of Morals

  • The first essay in this volume is Richard Joyce’s Irrealism and Geneology of Morals. This paper focuses on two debunking arguments.
  • First, he presents an error theory based on genealogical grounds. Then, he seeks to show how a debunking strategy can work even under the assumption that non-cognitivism is true.

Existentialism: Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals

Hallvard Lillehammer’s paper, A Distinction Without Difference? – Good Advice for Moral Error Theorists

  • Hallvard Lillehammer’s paper, A Distinction Without Difference? – Good Advice for Moral Error Theorists argues that no one universal error theory is likely to satisfy the one plausible criterion of a successful metaethical theory, which is that it will be applied in a world where morally serious people describe their predicament in moral terms, and sometimes respond to that predicament in morally insightful ways.

Moral Error Theory

James Lenman’s Ethics without Errors

  • James Lenman’s Ethics without Errors provides arguments against moral error theory, abolitionism, and prescriptive fictionalism.
  • Lenman seeks to prove the excellently reasonable need to moralize and live with no errors in this matter as much as possible.

Arguments on Morality

Analysis on James Lenman's Ethics without Error

  • Out of the six essays in this book, I find James Lenman's Ethics without Errors the most thought-provoking because it discusses the question the legitimacy of morality and its survival to the modern times.
  • I liked how Lenman started the essay by enumerating the relationship of empirical questions about the natural world and moral questions.
  • In this sense, the author gave the readers the chance to think first on the issue before stating his side.
  • He points the question on what's morally wrong or acceptable before turning to the question whether morality is lost already.
  • I find the question on the loss of morality very relevant in human life since today's generation have conflicting views on how to conduct themselves as individuals in society.
  • It's not just the issue of modesty that is affected when we hear the world “liberated”.
  • When people say that they are “liberated”, there is the underlying movement in ethics – abolition of morality.
  • But abolitionists, as Lenman discussed in his paper, are still using morality – or rather moralizing - even when they “condemn morality for making us priggish, sanctimonious, censorious, prudish, punitive, pompous, mean-spirited, fanatical or cruel.
  • While abolitionists may seem to the public as open-minded people who do not want to be tied to the conservative traditions of the past, they are still hypocrites in trying to abolish something that they use in the process.
  • Abolitionism simply devolves into prejudices which more often than not have no solid grounding.
  • Amoralism is still questionable at best because how do you really quantify the standards of what is good or bad for you and your neighbor?
  • I also liked how Lenman pointed out a supposition in which the morality one has believed in since childhood is all false.
  • This premise acknowledges that the world we live in is not fair, but we still strive to have a discourse about what norms should govern our society.
  • After all, the inevitable interconnectedness of man with others in society gives us the urgent duty to care – to continue to contemplate and practice morality in such a way that it will not be lost lest we human regress to apathy and result to severed ties from each other.
  • Even moral fictionalism is still not good to practice because it delves unto subjectivity, a risky practice since not everything you think, say, and do is necessarily right for everyone.
  • You not only have to worry about the consequences of you actions to your life, but all the more, to the lives of the people around you.
  • All in all, the question “How do you know what standard of morality to live in?” is best answered by an unwavering practice of moralizing.

Can Individuals Spark a Moral Revolution?

Conclusion

All the six essays found in the “Irrealism in Ethics” show the significance of moral discourse – it is our right and duty to live as ethically upright as much as possible. This book is one that I highly recommend for its insights in the way we know and live in morality as individuals and as a whole society. Ethics is after all, the lifeblood of our dignity as humans. When we uphold ethics and live morally upright lives, our humanity is fully actualized because we distinguish ourselves from animalistic barbarism and live as rational thinkers that know very well the difference between right and wrong.

Ethics as a way of life

Ethics is as much a part of human life as breathing - you need to live ethically to achieve peace and satisfaction.
Ethics is as much a part of human life as breathing - you need to live ethically to achieve peace and satisfaction. | Source

The Loss of Morality

Do you believe that morality is lost in modern times?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)