A little gimmick for explaining emotivism – easily transferable to the classroom.
- Logical positivism: statements are only statements of fact (the kind of thing that can be true or false) if there’s a way of testing them through science or observation.*
- They can still be meaningful and false, provided that they can be tested (I should have made this clearer in the video!)
- Moral statements don’t pass this test, so if they aren’t statements of fact, what are they?
- A.J. Ayer: they are expressions of emotion. This view is called emotivism.
- Expressions of emotion are different from statements about how I feel (because those can be true or false).
- You can demonstrate this with emojis: “Liz is angry” can be true or false, but a little angry face emoji can’t be true or false because it adds mood, not factual statements.
*Statements about logic and maths are a slightly complicated exception. I’ll say more about that in a more detailed resource (to follow).