Knowing about Right and Wrong: Why Is It Wrong to Kill Innocent People?

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In this article I challenge the positivist view that ethical statements are merely an expression of our emotions or preferences. I consider a moral statement, “Killing innocent civilians is wrong,” and argue that such a statement is a truthful moral norm. I show that what is fundamental to agreement in the realm of both facts and morals is a commonly shared attitude that determines human relatedness to the world. Scientific knowledge is a partial knowledge based on indifference, the state of mind that constitutes scientific attitude. However, knowledge in morals does not presuppose indifference, but love. Once we accept that our thoughts and feelings are not incommunicable, we can arrive at inter-subjective and non-objective moral knowledge which results from our recognition of others as persons and our affective engagement with the world.
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