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Ch 4: Metaethics

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to learn about different moral and ethical theories and important theorists. The quizzes that follow each lesson can help you check well you understand the concepts.

Metaethics - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

There are many different theories of ethics and morality. Theories accepted and highly regarded by a particular society have changed over the centuries. In this chapter, we look at the historical views of ethics and morality during different eras. The lessons teach you about the important theories, theorists and social values of contemporary and earlier times. Take the lesson quizzes to evaluate your understanding of the materials and ask an instructor if you have any questions. In these lessons, you'll learn things like:

  • What are moral relativism, subjectivism and objectivism?
  • What is the expectancy value theory?
  • How has morality been understood historically?
  • What were the major ethical themes of the Enlightenment period?
  • Who was Freidrich Nietzsche and what were his important contributions to ethics?
  • What is the naturalistic fallacy?

Video Objective
Understanding Moral Relativism, Subectivism and Objectivism Learn about these important philosophical concepts and how they differ from one another.
Expectancy Value Theory: Age, Gender and Ethnicity Differences Understand how age, gender and ethnicity effect the expectancy value theory.
Historical Approaches to Understanding Morality Find out the definitions of morality and how it has been viewed historically.
Major Themes of the Enlightenment: Reason, Individualism and Skepticism Look at the major moral theories during the time of the Enlightenment.
Freidrich Nietzsche: Biography, Theories and Philosophy Study the life and beliefs of philosopher Freidrich Nietzsche.
Naturalistic Fallacy: Attributes, History and Criticism Understand the history, key features and critiques of naturalistic fallacy.

12 Lessons in Chapter 4: Metaethics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Understanding Moral Relativism, Subjectivism & Objectivism

1. Understanding Moral Relativism, Subjectivism & Objectivism

This lesson defines the concept of morals. Using global examples, it also contrasts the moral relativism, moral subjectivism, and moral objectivism schools of thought.

Expectancy Value Theory: Age, Gender & Ethnicity Differences

2. Expectancy Value Theory: Age, Gender & Ethnicity Differences

The values placed on an object or event and our expectancies of performance play a large role in determining the level of effort and ultimately the level of achievement for a given activity. This lesson will detail two popular models of expectancy-value theory and provide suggestions on how to incorporate these theories into a classroom setting.

Historical Approaches to Understanding Morality

3. Historical Approaches to Understanding Morality

In this lesson, explore three of the foundational schools of Western philosophy and discover how they each define morality. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Major Themes of the Enlightenment: Reason, Individualism & Skepticism

4. Major Themes of the Enlightenment: Reason, Individualism & Skepticism

In this lesson, we will identify the major themes associated with the Enlightenment. We will also explore the major figures and learn about their contributions. We will understand the lasting impact of the Enlightenment by putting it in historical context.

Immanuel Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals

5. Immanuel Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals

In this lesson, you'll think about the different reasons why you use the word 'should.' We'll look at how Immanuel Kant understood these imperatives and what he had to say about doing the right thing.

Friedrich Nietzsche: Biography, Theories & Philosophy

6. Friedrich Nietzsche: Biography, Theories & Philosophy

In this lesson, we explore the life and theories of the German philosopher who is considered the founder of the modern nihilist movement, Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche's Will to Power: Summary & Quotes

7. Nietzsche's Will to Power: Summary & Quotes

The will to power is one of Nietzsche's best known and most controversial concepts. Here we will summarize Nietzsche's writings and most relevant quotations on the will to power and review how they have been understood by philosophers.

The Ethical Perspective of William James

8. The Ethical Perspective of William James

In this lesson, we are going to discuss the ethical perspectives of philosopher William James. Learn about his life and ideas. Also, explore the ethical questions he presented in two important works: The Moral Philosopher and the Pragmatic Theory.

Naturalistic Fallacy: Attributes, History & Criticism

9. Naturalistic Fallacy: Attributes, History & Criticism

Some arguments are based in sound reason and logic. And some aren't. In this lesson, explore the naturalistic fallacy, which points out those illogical arguments, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Social Exchange Theory vs. Empathy-Altruism

10. Social Exchange Theory vs. Empathy-Altruism

Social psychologists disagree on why people help others. Two theories on the subject are social exchange theory and the empathy-altruism hypothesis. In this lesson, we'll learn more about each of these theories.

Altruism and Prosocial Behavior: Definition & Predictors

11. Altruism and Prosocial Behavior: Definition & Predictors

Prosocial behavior is any action intended to help others. One motivation for prosocial behavior is altruism, or the desire to help others with no expectation of reward. In this lesson, we explore prosocial behavior and the elements that social psychologists have identified as predicting it.

Comparing Psychological & Ethical Egoism

12. Comparing Psychological & Ethical Egoism

In this lesson, you will explore two ways of explaining the motivations for your actions. Discover what they have in common and how they are different, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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