THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF ETHICAL ANALYSIS AND ETHICS
This paper is concerned with the interrelationship between ethical analysis (metaethics) and normative ethics. It is argued that the two cannot be divorced logically and that their separation explains in large part why analytical ethical theory has so little of relevance to say to live moral issues. Two of the bases of the prevailing logical separation of the inquiries are examined critically: first, a de jure basis in which the separation is defended on theoretical grounds, e.g. by intuitionists, emotivists and prescriptivists, and second, a de facto basis in which we find a separation in practice that results from using analytical techniques borrowed from other areas in philosophy (viz. epistemology) that are inappropriate for ethics, e.g. by ordinary language philosophers. The prevailing conception of ethical analysis is criticized on the grounds that both the pre-analytical data and the aims of ethical analysis are sui generis and not to be compared to the data and aims of the other kinds of logical analysis. Problems like ethical relativism, moral dilemmas and akrasia cannot be analysed separately, but are part of the given logical and conceptual analysis of ethics.
The second part of the paper focuses on the nature of moral controversy as a moral problem requiring ethical analysis. It is shown that different ethical and analytical preconceptions lead to entirely different analytical results; thus, a utilitarian approach favours quite a different type of analysis from a Kantian approach. It is argued that a Kantian approach is to be preferred to ethical analysis.