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In metaethics (seeethics), the view that moral judgments do not function as statements of fact but rather as expressions of the speaker's or writer's feelings. According to the emotivist, when we say You acted wrongly in stealing that money, we are not expressing any fact beyond that stated by You stole that money. It is, however, as if we had stated this fact with a special tone of abhorrence, for in saying that something is wrong, we are expressing our feelings of disapproval toward it. Emotivism was expounded by A. J. Ayer in Language, Truth and Logic (1936) and developed by Charles Stevenson in Ethics and Language (1945).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on emotivism, visit Britannica.com.