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  Emotivism is the view, in philosophy, that when one makes a moral judgement, one is expressing an emotional reaction to the object of the judgement. So when I say ‘the Nazis were evil’, I am expressing my feelings of revulsion towards them by using the word ‘evil’ and this is the only function of that word. Emotivism denies that by saying the Nazis were evil I give some reason for my feeling of revulsion towards them. Rather, to say that the Nazis are evil is just to express my revulsion.

Prescriptivism is a descendent of emotivism. It agrees that moral judgements express emotional reactions of approval and disapproval, but also claims that moral terms do latch onto certain nonmoral features of the thing in question, features which explain my reaction. AJ

See also descriptivism and prescriptivism; ethical relativism; fact and value.Further reading A.J. Ayer, Language Truth and Logic; , C. Stevenson, Facts and Values.



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