OXFORD – Can moral judgments be true or false? Or is ethics, at bottom, a purely subjective matter, for individuals to choose, or perhaps relative to the culture of the society in which one lives? We might have just found out the answer.
Among philosophers, the view that moral judgments state objective truths has been out of fashion since the 1930’s, when logical positivists asserted that, because there seems to be no way of verifying the truth of moral judgments, they cannot be anything other than expressions of our feelings or attitudes. So, for example, when we say, “You ought not to hit that child,” all we are really doing is expressing our disapproval of your hitting the child, or encouraging you to stop hitting the child. There is no truth to the matter of whether or not it is wrong for you to hit the child.