Emotivism And Social Darwinism

This research paper will discuss the ethical theories of Emotivism and Social Darwinism, and their applications to abortion, capital punishment, and digital media/piracy.

Section 1 – Ethical Theories

  • Emotivism – General Beliefs

Emotivism is a meta-ethical view that claims that ethical sentences do not express propositions but emotional attitudes. Hence, it is colloquially known as the hurrah/boo theory. Influenced by the growth of analytic philosophy and logical positivism in the 20th century, the theory was stated vividly by A. J. Ayer in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic. Emotivism can be considered a form of non-cognitivism or expressivism. It stands in opposition to other forms of non-cognitivism as well as to all forms of cognitivism.

  • Emotivism – Standards-setter

In Emotivism a moral statement isn't literally a statement about the speaker's feelings on the topic but expresses those feelings with emotive force. When an Emotivist says 'murder is wrong' it's like saying 'down with murder' or 'murder, yecch!' or just saying 'murder' while pulling a horrified face or making a thumbs-down gesture at the same time as saying, 'murder is wrong'.

  • Emotivism – Applied to

Emotivism applies to everyone that makes moral decisions in their everyday life. Also, just because someone believes that something is correct based on how they feel about it does not mean that everyone else around them will feel the same way about it.

  • Emotivism – Cultural Displays
  • Emotivism – Strengths

A few of Emotivism’s strengths are it highlights the reason why moral disputes are impossible to resolve decisively. It also acknowledges and, in some way, values the existence of moral diversity. It is also true to say that moral opinions are often formed on the basis of gaining others approval or avoiding their disapproval.

  • Emotivism – Weaknesses

A few of Emotivism’s weaknesses are just because you have an emotional feeling that something is wrong does not logically mean that other people should agree. According to Schlick, there is a disconnection between the statement “murder is wrong” and the implicit conclusion that other people should not do it.

  • Emotivism – Personal Views

I personally like the idea of this ethical theory. I think that this ethical theory should be accepted because if everyone followed this idea our world would be a completely different place. For example, if everyone agreed that murder was wrong then the murder would practically not exist anymore. Also, if everyone followed the theory of emotivism then there would pretty much everything we consider negative would essentially be eliminated from the world such things like war or murders.

  • Social Darwinism – General Beliefs

Social Darwinism is a loose set of ideologies that emerged in the late 1800s in which Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was used to justify certain political, social, or economic views. Social Darwinists believe in “survival of the fittest”—the idea that certain people become powerful in society because they are innately better. Social Darwinism has been used to justify imperialism, racism, eugenics and social inequality at various times over the past century and a half.

  • Social Darwinism – Standards-setter

Everyone has heard the term ‘Survival of the Fittest’. That term means that only the superior ones are going to be the ones that survive in the long run. Whereas the ones that are not the fittest might survive for a little bit but will not survive in the long run.

  • Social Darwinism – Applied to

This theory can be applied to just about anyone in the world. With that being said it all depends on the world you are in. For example, if you are American and you got to Japan it will be hard for you to live there because you do not know their language, you are not accustomed to their food that they eat and you don’t not know about their culture because their culture is way different than Americas culture.

  • Social Darwinism – Cultural Displays

Hitler adopted the social Darwinist take on survival of the fittest. He believed the German master race had grown weak due to the influence of non-Aryans in Germany. To Hitler, survival of the German race depended on its ability to maintain the purity of its gene pool. The Nazis targeted certain groups or races that they considered biologically inferior for extermination. These included Jews, Roma, Poles, Soviets, people with disabilities and homosexuals.

  • Social Darwinism – Strengths

Some strengths of Social Darwinism are the best of the best are able to survive in that environment. Where others will have to either leave or they could possibly end up dying.

  • Social Darwinism – Weaknesses

Some weaknesses of Social Darwinism are

  • Social Darwinism – Personal Views

I do believe that Social Darwinism is a good theory because it helps adapt people to their respective environment. For example, the people in china are more adapted to that environment than they are to the one in America and vice versa.

Section 2 – Ethical Applications


Abortion Explained. Abortion is the ending of pregnancy due to removing an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus. An abortion that occurs spontaneously is also known as a miscarriage. When deliberate steps are taken to end a pregnancy, it is called an induced abortion, or less frequently an induced miscarriage. The word abortion is often used to mean only induced abortions.

Abortion on Emotivism. If I disapprove of an action, I must also have similar feelings about similar actions, or my attitudes will not provide consistent guidance about how to live. Moral disagreement, then, can be about the relations between different attitudes. For example, deciding whether abortion is right or wrong is complicated because there are many attitudes involved, sympathy towards the mother, sympathy towards the fetus, feelings about human life, death, and parenthood. It is difficult to work out how these attitudes can all be acted upon, and that is why people disagree.

Abortion on Social Darwinism. Malthus' population theory and Spencer's social-Darwinism have helped provide a philosophical foundation for the abortion movement, but no single person has done more to devalue the life of the unborn child than the famed German evolutionist Ernst Haeckel. Consolidating the earlier work of Johann Meckel, Karl von Baer, and Fritz Muller, Haeckel theorized that each animal retraces its evolutionary history during its embryonic development.

Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment Explained. Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, whereas the act of carrying out the sentence is known as an execution. Crimes that are punishable by death are known as capital crimes or capital offences, and they commonly include offences such as murder, treason, espionage, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Capital Punishment on Emotivism. Emotivists believe that moral language expresses emotions and tries to influence others; it has no cognitive content. If I say that capital punishment is wrong, I’m just expressing my dislike for it, and trying to get you to agree with me. I might as well have said capital punishment, while shaking my head and rolling my eyes.

Capital Punishment on Social Darwinism. Hoffman argues that by hiding punishment, modern American society has systematically compromised the intrinsic urge to restrain the punishment we mete out even to the worst among us. We've turned criminals into monsters so that we can hide them away. By hiding them away we are unable to see them again as anything but monsters.

Digital Media/Piracy

Digital Media/Piracy Explained. Piracy refers to the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content that is then sold at substantially lower prices in the 'grey' market. The ease of access to technology has meant that over the years, piracy has become more rampant. For example, CD writers are available off the shelf at very low prices, making music piracy a simple affair.

Digital Media/Piracy on Emotivism. From a negativist and emotivist perspective, he suggests a representation of the possible remote effects appealing to the feelings which are aroused, treating doubtful (but possible) things as if they were true, since we cannot allow ourselves to make mistakes when issues of such importance and magnitude are at stake (in the case of the use of the Internet, reason, perception, memory, emotion). Ethics must take into account the long-term results of present actions, including the whole of humanity

Digital Media/Piracy on Social Darwinism. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. Fast forward to the 21st Century and Darwin’s principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ is still very much relevant, although this blog won’t be referring to it in the context which Darwin originally intended. Instead, we will discuss Darwinism through a business strategy lens. Replace the mention of species from the above quote with the phrase social media platforms and voila, you have yourself a statement about what it takes for a social media platform to survive in today’s rather overcrowded social media ecosphere!


In the end, this research paper discussed the ethical theories of Emotivism and Social Darwinism, and their applications to abortion, capital punishment, and digital media/piracy.


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  7. Piracy - What is Piracy? Piracy meaning, Piracy definition. (n. d. ). Retrieved from https://economictimes. indiatimes. com/definition/piracy
10 October 2020
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