This brief piece explains why all ethical judgments are essentially nonsense. Since ethical judgments are based on absolute standards, which themselves are independent of all other standards, they are neither rational nor irrational. Therefore ethics as the philosophy of morality is a useless passion, and does not have anything to do with truth or falsehood.
A clever person may be tempted to ask whether any of the above true.
No, these statements are issued from the Moebius strip of sense, of meaning, and frames the condition of the possibility of significance, which is at the same time also the condition of the impossibility of sense, and borders sense from nonsense, meaningfulness from meaninglessness.
Ethical values, such as the meaning of life or happiness, are not empirical values but transcendental ones.
It is easy to confuse absolute values with relative values, for the latter are “relative” to some other standard: i.e., utility which fulfills some purpose, or beauty which fulfills some aesthetical principle. Yet, all relative values are actually matters of fact in new clothes.
Absolute values themselves resemble logical truths where the “truth” or “falsity” aren’t conditional, the same way how tautologies arre independent of what is the case. For something to be absolutely so, its truth or falsehood is unconditional, an absolutely valuable state.The reason why ethical judgments are nonsense, that they lack truth values, is because they are not statements that describe reality or some possible state of affairs. If it isn’t a statement describing a possible state of affairs, then it is neither true nor false. If a sentence is neither, then it is nonsense.
4 thoughts on “Why ethical judgments are nonsensical”
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So, does this mean that you are equating ethical propositions to the proposition(s) that “God exists(or, does not)” and thusly ethical propositions are to be regarded as content free tautologies relative-or, only practical-to their frame of reference, or context of usage?
I enjoy reading your blog and consider myself as a fan. Hopefully, as you once mentioned, I can blog more as well.
Roberto, I didn’t get past the first word. No need to.
Slayer, I consider sensible language to consists of propositions that represent reality, or the meaningfulness of a sentence depends on reference, and are formatted by a logical form.
Now, this has grave consequences for a wide breadth of language. For example the propositions of logic itself: there are no representamen, nor do the logical symbols stand for any object. The propositions of logic are neither true nor false. All tautologies and contradictions lie within the border between sense and nonsense. If the limit of sense lie within logic, for content determines meaning, then logical propositions, the rules of logic itself cannot be meaningful.
This also goes for mathematics, for it contains senseless propositions.
If the only thing that contains sense are “in” the world, which is anything that is describable, then anything beyond the empirical reality is nonsense. This includes the limit of sense itself as well, which is the very philosophy I have been trying to articulate, and of course it is also nonsense! Metaphysics, the propositions of ethics, religious language (mysticism), and aesthetics fall in this negative bracket of nonsense.
If ethical values are transcendent, because their value lie beyond the world of facts, then ethics cannot be captured by factual language. Thus ethics is to show something that cannot be said.
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