AQA Philosophy A2 Level

Moral Philosophy


How do people justify their actions? How do we understand truth and the application to morality? If truth is external to the individual how do we respond to it? If truth is internal from the individual how we know what is really true? How should we apply these to moral situation?

This part of the course will look at the concept that moral concepts can be understood as being objective. These moral concepts are external to the individual. We need to take account of how the individual is to then respond to these moral truths.

  Text Box: Morals exist outside individual

What types of moral truths are there?

4. Analogy with secondary properties http://clear.msu.edu/dennie/clipart/person.gif

Key themes


  • McDowell – secondary properties of the object enable it to cause certain experiences in us.
    • I.e. an objects colour is not subjective – it is part of the object itself. They are no less real than primary qualities – just a different type of property.
  • If 2ndry qualities understood objectively we can defend there is moral truth.
  • Moral judgments have to be considered by a human (i.e. a dog can see an event but will not comprehend the moral aspects)
  • Whist a fact (animal suffering) is a reason to act in a certain way (e.g. stop eating meat) depends in general on human responses: but it is independent of any individual’s response.
  • It is up to you whether you agree with McDowell on this or whether you agree with Hume.