VIDEO: Emotivism and Emojis

A little gimmick for explaining emotivism – easily transferable to the classroom.

The basics:

  • 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).