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Why does Mackie think we need an "error theory"? Do you think he is right to believe that we need it?
Pages 12 (3012 words)
The error theory states that the idea of morals is not absolute and that in fact, morals are only a figment of the imagination of the societies that practice them, since they are nonexistent. The error theory is a denial of the existence of morals and it can be said that the existence of morals is considered by the proponents of this theory to be relative to the society that practice them.
The error theory suggests that morals are not absolute, that what is morally right or wrong vary from one society to another. It is a theory that states that morals are judged, not by the universal moral norms, but according to the society within which a circumstance calls for moral clarification (Dorsey 2006, p.495). When one considers the definition above, it can be stated that the morals are no longer absolute in different societies because of the fact that they have evolved over a long period, changing considerably from one society to another. A good number of the proponents of this theory, such as John Mackie, believe that morality was an invention of societies to maintain control over its members, and it is because of this that morality varies. If, for instance, morals and social norms were universal in all the societies, in the world, then there would have been no differences in morals, and as a result, the error theory would not have been developed. ...
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