Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Power—Nihilism As Expressivism

Power—Nihilism is a form of Expressivism which is a meta—ethical theory concerning the meaning of moral terms and ethical sentences. Example: Expressivism states that sentences which contain moral terms like “It is evil to torment infants for your own personal pleasure” do not describe objective facts. That is, moral terminology like "evil," "wrong," "good," "just," "righteous" "upright," "immoral"and the like do not refer to objective quantitative 3rd person events or any objective referent. That is such terms have no objective referents "out there" but rather only communicate subjective first person mental—states and the function of moral terms is not to be descriptive but to express inner qualitative likes and dislikes. 

Expressivism is a form of non—cognitivism. Non-cognitivism is the meta—ethical position which states that ethical terms do not express propositions and therefore cannot be true or false. That moral judgments are not capable of being objectively true since they do not describe an objective feature of existence. Thus the sentence "kicking kittens for fun is wrong" is really just communicating "I don't like that". 
Such utterances tell us nothing about the objective quantitative event known as "kicking kittens" but only about how one feels about said event. It is akin to declaring "I don't like strawberries" which tells us nothing about Strawberries" but merely about how one feels about them. So then, on this view moral ethical terms and sentences are neither true or false. Thus neither moral facts or truths exist and moral terms are really just expressing preferences, opinions, likes, and dislikes etc. However, this is not to say that preferences do not have a hierarchy or varying degrees of intensity.
For example, given human nature a person is most likely going to have a stronger inner dislike of being physically assaulted than disliking a certain color.

This of course places Power—Nihilism in opposition to Subjectivism which is the view that x is morally wrong or right if it is generally approved of. In opposition to moral realism which states that, moral terms are verifiable and real, not simply expressions of emotion. 
And in opposition to moral error theory, which contends that moral judgments try and yet always fail to be descriptions of moral features in the universe. This puts my nihilism in line with meta ethical theories such as emotivism for example. 
This is not to say that there are not those who mistakenly believe that their ethical sentences really do describe something "out there" in the world or in "God". The very existence of the moral realist is evidence of this fact. 
Moral Realism is not "true" in the sense that it asserts the existence of "objective moral values and duties" but is a means of controlling others.  

To learn more about my qualified form of  Moral Nihilism (Power—Nihilism) see my recently published book entitled "Power—Nihilism: A Critique of Moral Realisms". Here is a to where you can purchase it

Power—Nihilism As Expressivism 
Copyright © 2015 by James Theodore Stillwell III

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