John Stuart Mill (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
A recent objection to non-cognitivism pays close attention to thedistinction between explaining logical relations on the one hand, andexplaining the use of moral judgments in reasoning on the other. Evenif the embedding problem is solved, so that we know what moralutterances mean and what complex sentences embedding them also mean,we might still think it irrational to reason in accordance withordinary logical principles applied to such judgments. The basic ideahere is that conditionals with moral antecedents and nonmoralconsequents should, together with the moral judgment in theantecedent, license acceptance of the consequent. Thus someone whoaccepts such conditionals would be rational to infer the consequentupon coming to accept the antecedent. But if expressivism is correct,accepting the antecedent just is holding a non-cognitiveattitude. Thus the licensed inference is really a form of wishfulthinking, for a non-cognitive change of attitude has licensed a changeof belief. For example, suppose someone accepts a judgment expressibleby saying, “If doing an action is wrong, George will doit.” Normally we think that it would be rational for that personto infer the belief that George will hit Sam upon coming to acceptthat hitting Sam is wrong. But according to non-cognitivism, coming toaccept that hitting Sam is wrong is just a change of non-cognitiveattitude, and it can seem wrong to think that a change in suchattitudes can rationalize a change in belief. It looks like thenon-cognitivist is committed to approving of something analogous towishful thinking. That is they believe something, not because of achange in their evidence but because of a change in attitude alone(Dorr 2002). Some non-cognitivists will resist by suggesting that theconditionals themselves are only rational to accept when one thinksthat changes of mind about the antecedent will depend on beliefs aboutfacts that are evidentially relevant to the conclusion (Lenman 2003).Enoch (2003)presents an alternative response which is criticized in (Schroeder 2011,chapter 9).
David Hume (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
The open question argument can be seen as providing independentsupport for what is sometimes called Hume's Law—the claim thatone can never validly deduce an ‘ought’ from an‘is’ (Hume 1888, 469). According to Hume's Law, no set ofpremises consisting entirely of non-moral descriptive statements issufficient to entail a moral or normative conclusion. Thenon-cognitivist is in a position to explain this, insofar as herpositive proposal for the functioning of moral terms will suggest theydo more than merely describe the world. She will say that moral termsessentially express a positive attitude, or function to commend. Purelydescriptive terms do not. Nothing can be the conclusion of a validargument which is not already implicit in the premises. Thusdescriptive claims cannot entail the extra expressive or imperativalcomponent that according to the non-cognitivist is part of the meaningof moral terms (Hare 1952, 32–49).
Since non-cognitivism is a species of irrealism about ethics, it shouldbe unsurprising that many of its main motivations overlap with thosefor other versions of ethical irrealism, especially with those forerror theories. Early non-cognitivists seem most concerned to defendmetaphysical and epistemic commitments incompatible with a realistinterpretation of moral claims. For example, moral judgments seem tobe empirically under-determined (Ayer 1952, 106; Mackie 1977, 39).Hence they fail tests for meaningful discourse proposed by logicalpositivists. If moral language is meaningful, it would be acounter-example to the view. Thus early versions of non-cognitivismwere proposed by these theorists, not so much because they wereinterested in moral philosophy but rather to render innocuous a seemingcounter-example to their own theories (Carnap 1937, 24–27; Ayer 1952,107–109).
Aims and Methods of Moral Philosophy
The argument is valid. But if the entire meaning of ‘tormentingthe cat is bad’ in the second premise is well explained bysaying that it is suited for use in expressing disapproval oftormenting the cat, then that meaning cannot be the same as themeaning it has in the first premise (which one might accept even ifone approves of tormenting cats). This doesn't show that theexpression is not being used emotively in the second premise; adescriptivist can agree to that. But it does indicate that more willneed to be said to explain what is going on. For straightforwardlydescriptive arguments of the same form, the explanation of why theargument is valid relies on the idea that the phrase in the antecedenthas a constant meaning that it represents both unembedded andembedded. This is what Geach has called The Frege Point: “Athought may have just the same content whether you assent to its truthor not; a proposition may occur in discourse now asserted, nowunasserted, and yet be recognizably the same proposition” (Geach1965, 449). As Geach saw it, we need to think of predication asconstant across embedded and unembedded occurrences of predicativemoral sentences so as not to commit a fallacy of equivocation inmaking arguments. (It is due to Geach's invocation of Frege in thiscontext that the embedding problem is often called the Frege-Geachproblem. Searle 1962 independently raises a version of the sameobjection and some credit W. D. Ross (1939, 34–38) with an earlier yetstatement of the objection.)
Philosophy of history - Wikipedia
The received view is that Kant’s moral philosophy is adeontological normative theory at least to this extent: it denies thatright and wrong are in some way or other functions of goodness orbadness. It denies, in other words, the central claim of teleologicalmoral views. For instance, act consequentialism is one sort ofteleological theory. It asserts that the right action is that actionof all the alternatives available to the agent that has the bestoverall outcome. Here, the goodness of the outcome determines therightness of an action. Another sort of teleological theory mightfocus instead on character traits. “Virtue ethics” assertsthat a right action in any given circumstance is that action avirtuous person does or would perform in those circumstances. In thiscase, it is the goodness of the character of the person who does orwould perform it that determines the rightness of an action. In bothcases, as it were, the source or ground of rightness is goodness. AndKant’s own views have typically been classified as deontologicalprecisely because they have seemed to reverse this priority and denyjust what such theories assert. Rightness, on the standard reading ofKant, is not grounded in the value of outcomes or character.