Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 33 (1):41 - 65 (1971)

In this article the author investigates the scientific (wetenschappelijk) character of moral statements. First he gives an analysis of the verb ‘to know’ and its equivalents in Dutch. His conclusion is that the verb to know may be, depending on its context, (i) an epistemic qualificator, (ii) a dispositional verb or (iii) a relational verb. Then he deals with the criteria of a scientific system : evidence, relevance, possibility of prediction, of formalisation and finally the criterion of simplicity. The author shows that the latter criterion is the most fundamental. Various formalized ethical systems are developed in this article. The author shows that ethics fulfills all the criteria of science, except the criterion of the possibility of prediction. In ethics one cannot predict without committing the naturalistic fallacy. The author sees scientific systems as logical empirical ones. He demonstrates that ethics can be considered a scientific system, provided that the logic permitted in the system is strong enough (i.e. that it includes deontic logic) and the experience permitted in the system is wide enough (i.e. that it includes ethical intuition)
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