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Religious and Ethical Language Are About Facts. Discuss.


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Religious and Ethical Language are about facts. Discuss.

In order to analyse whether language, religious or ethical are about facts it is vital to define facts. According to Honderich a fact can be defined as the worldly correlation of a true proposition, in other words a state of affairs make a statement true or false. There are two main schools of thought as to how ethical and religious language is to be treated. The cognitivists argue that statements about religion and ethics possess truth value, and hence can be known. As such the case such statements can be about facts. For example ‘Hitler is evil’ or ‘God exists’ is knowable in the sense that it corresponds to events that are occurring in the world. This view presents the correspondence theory of truth, which is what has now become to be known as early Wittgenstein’s writings. It argues that statements are true so far as in it paints a picture about the world it must relate to and derive meaning out of. As such the case religious and ethical truths are to be discovered.

Ethical naturalists such as F.H. Bradley have argued that ethical language is about facts of the world. It is argued that moral statements which are subjective statements about values can be translated into facts or objective statements of fact. Thus it can be argued that ‘Hitler is evil’ is a true statement on the account that he was responsible for mass murder. This view was challenged by Hume. Hume argued that it is not possible to move from an ‘ought’ to an ‘is’. This is known as the naturalistic fallacy. This is because such a move leaves open questions unanswered such as ‘is mass murder wrong?’ and so on. This critique is described as the open question argument. G.E. Moore in Principa Ethica proposed a solution and argued that statements can still be about facts. He proposed the theory of Ethical Non Naturalism which has come

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