Monday, 4 October 2010

cognitivism and non-cognitivism

Two very important distinctions in ethical theories are whether they are Cognitive or Non-Cognitive. Here is the difference:

COGNITIVE - Cognitivists believe that ethical statements such as, "stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family" are factually wrong or right (good or bad) in the same way that a statement such as "the cat is black" can be proved right of wrong. This is a propositional form of thinking. Ethical statements can be proved true or false in their eyes.

NON-COGNITIVE - Non-Cognitivists are the opposite of Cognitivists. They believe that ethical statements cannot be proved right or wrong. A statement such as "killing is wrong" is nothing more than a statement of expression and feeling. Ethical statements are always non-propositional like, "Do some work!" and "I love you" in a Non-Cognitivists eyes. They cannot be found to be true or false.

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