Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Meta-ethics is the study of the nature of moral thought and judgement. This involves moral metaphysics, moral epistemology, moral psychology, and moral motivation. The first forty years of the twentieth century were dominated by forms of ethical intuitionism, which were supplanted by Charles Stevenson’s emotivism and Richard Hare’s universal prescriptivism. These reigned in turn until the early 1970s, at which point Hare’s dominance suffered a sudden eclipse. The situation for the last three decades of the century was much more fluid, with new positions emerging but none of them achieving the sort of paradigm status that intuitionism enjoyed at the outset. This chapter provides an overview of meta-ethics in the twentieth century and discusses G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica (1903) as well as his views on the Open Question Argument.

Keywords: meta-ethics, moral judgement, ethical intuitionism, Charles Stevenson, emotivism, Richard Hare, universal prescriptivism, G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica, Open Question Argument

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.