Philosophy Index

Non-cognitivism

Non-cognitivism is a position in meta-ethics which denies that moral statements (or normative statements) can be propositions, and therefore concludes that they cannot be considered true or false.

Emotivism, one variety of non-cognitivism holds that the statements “you should be kind” and “murder is evil” are equivalent to saying “Yay, kindness!” and “Boo, murder!”. These statements express meaning non-cognitively, but are not propositions and do not have any truth value.

Non-cognitivist views imply that moral knowledge is impossible, since there is no such thing as moral truth. They also make moral statements inaccessible to logic, removing the capacity for true moral reasoning.

Non-cognitivism is an example of moral nihilism. It is in opposition to cognitivism.