Conjecture: Logical Positivism — the theory that says the only statements that are meaningful are statements that are empirically verifiable (in other words, true by using observation) — is right.
Refutation: The idea of Logical Positivism isn’t empirically verifiable. So by its own definition, it’s meaningless.
Conjecture: With regard to morality: just do what you think is right.
Refutation: It doesn’t actually tell you anything. Whatever you end up doing, you will do it because you think it’s right. The question is, ‘how do you find out what to think is right?’
Conjecture: Cultural Relativism — the theory that says there is no such thing as true/right/wrong, but only what the culture thinks it is — is right.
Refutation: Cultural Relativism is just a piece of philosophy. It’s not a physical fact. So, again by its own definition, there is no such thing as Cultural Relativism being better/truer than any other beliefs. Therefore there’s no reason to believe it.
Conjecture: Utilitarianism — the theory that says what is moral is what causes the most satisfaction for the most people (or the most happiness and the least pain) — is right.
Refutation: It’s the same as saying ‘people should do whatever they want to do’, which is the same as ‘just do what you think is right’.
Refutation: What satisfies you partly depends on what you think is right. But to find out what is right, you must find out what satisfies you. But to find out what satisfies you…
Conjecture: Subjectivism — the theory that says what is right and wrong is what each individual thinks or feels is right and wrong — is right.
Refutation: I don’t think it’s right. So yet again, by its own definition, it’s wrong. (Incidentally, it also suffers from the ‘do what you think is right’ problem.)
A lot of bad theories can be refuted just by applying them to themselves. Try it on your own theories. It’s fun. 😁