Se è un difetto della ragione essere incapaci di adottare certi mezzi, allo stesso modo è un difetto della ragione essere incapaci di adottare certi fini, dicono i kantiani. Secondo Blackburn questa tesi non-strumentalista deve la sua apparente validità ad una fallacia modale. Dal condizionale «Se si adotta il fine X, è necessario adottare il mezzo Y», si deriva il conseguente «Si deve adottare il mezzo Y», ci si interroga sulla natura del modale che occorre nel conseguente, poi si ricostruisce (...) l’antecedente come «E’ necessario adottare il fine X» e infine si ricostruisce il condizionale come «Se è necessario adottare il fine X, è necessario adottare il mezzo Y». Il non-strumentalista è così portato a credere che la stessa normatività che è contenuta nel principio strumentalista deve essere derivata dalla normatività dei fini (p. 242). (shrink)
In the mid-20th century, descriptive meta-ethics addressed a number of central questions, such as whether there is a necessary connection between moral judgment and motivation, whether moral reasons are absolute or relative, and whether moral judgments express attitudes or describe states of affairs. I maintain that much of this work in mid-20th century meta-ethics proceeded on an assumption that there is good reason to question. The assumption was that our ordinary discourse is uniform and determinate enough to vindicate one side (...) or the other of these meta-ethical debates. I suggest that ordinary moral discourse may be much less uniform and determinate than 20th century meta-ethics assumed. (shrink)
This volume contains thirty-one state-of-the-art contributions from leading figures in the study of emotion today. The volume addresses all the central philosophical issues in current emotion research, including: the nature of emotion and of emotional life; the history of emotion from Plato to Sartre; emotion and practical reason; emotion and the self; emotion, value, and morality; and emotion, art and aesthetics. -/- Anyone interested in the philosophy of emotion, and its wide-ranging implications in other related fields such as morality and (...) aesthetics, will want to consult this book. It will be a vital resource not only for scholars and graduate students but also for undergraduates who are finding their way into this fascinating topic. (shrink)
Innate emotional bases of ethics have been proposed by authors in evolutionary psychology, following Darwin and his sources in eighteenth-century moral philosophy. Philosophers often tend to view such theories as irrelevant to, or even as tending to undermine, the project of moral philosophy. But the importance of emotions to early moral learning gives them a role to play in determining the content of morality. I argue, first, that research on neural circuits indicates that the basic elements or components of emotions (...) need not be limited to what psychologists think of as basic emotions. But in that case, innate mechanisms of social transfer of emotion, such as infants’ tendency to facial imitation, gaze-following, and emotional contagion or empathy, provide a source of plasticity in developing the basic elements that lets emotions incorporate cultural influence from early on. This leaves room later for cognitive components of adult human emotions and hence for the further role of language in conveying cultural influence. We can thus see how moral judgment might depend on innate emotional capacities that are both modifiable by culture and capable of registering objective values. I use Rawls’s treatment of the development of moral sentiments to illustrate the kind of supportive role that emotions can play in a principle-based account – though my own account involves modifications I go on to indicate. (shrink)
Ethicists are typically willing to grant that thick terms (e.g. ‘courageous’ and ‘murder’) are somehow associated with evaluations. But they tend to disagree about what exactly this relationship is. Does a thick term’s evaluation come by way of its semantic content? Or is the evaluation pragmatically associated with the thick term (e.g. via conversational implicature)? In this paper, I argue that thick terms are semantically associated with evaluations. In particular, I argue that many thick concepts (if not all) conceptually entail (...) evaluative contents. The Semantic View has a number of outspoken critics, but I shall limit discussion to the most recent--Pekka Väyrynen--who believes that objectionable thick concepts present a problem for the Semantic View. After advancing my positive argument in favor of the Semantic View (section II), I argue that Väyrynen’s attack is unsuccessful (section III). One reason ethicists cite for not focusing on thick concepts is that such concepts are supposedly not semantically evaluative whereas traditional thin concepts (e.g. good and wrong) are. But if my view is correct, then this reason must be rejected. (shrink)
The paper analyses economic evaluations by distinguishing evaluative statements from actual value judgments. From this basis, it compares four solutions to the value neutrality problem in economics. After rebutting the strong theses about neutrality (normative economics is illegitimate) and non-neutrality (the social sciences are value-impregnated), the paper settles the case between the weak neutrality thesis (common in welfare economics) and a novel, weak non-neutrality thesis that extends the realm of normative economics more widely than the other weak thesis does.
This paper is devoted to a critical examination of the\ndivine command account of obligation offered by Robert M.\nAdams in his Finite and Infinite Goods. First it considers\nquestions about the way Adams formulates his account and\ncriticizes his arguments for preferring a divine command\ntheory of obligation to rival divine will theories. Then it\ndiscusses the inconsistency apparently created by the\ndivine command to Abraham to kill his innocent son. Its\nmain argument is that Adams has not shown that the Kantian\nresolution he favors, according to which (...) there really is no\nsuch command, is superior to the Kierkegaard solution,\naccording to which it is not wrong for Abraham to kill his\nson. (shrink)
In the last forty years there has been a resurgence of interest in moral dilemmas—situations in which through no fault of a person’s own, he or she is morally required to do one thing, required to do another, but cannot do both. Some prominent figures have argued that such things could be. Opponents have marshaled several anti-dilemma arguments in response. For the most part, this debate has centered on issues in metaethics. Those metaethical questions are interesting, and resolving them could (...) (in principle, at least) settle the debate about moral dilemmas. However, this paper will show that this exclusive focus on metaethics has been a mistake. Both dilemma advocates and dilemma opponents have failed to recognize that the debate could also be settled by answering an important question in normative ethics: is it possible for there to be an absolute prohibition on allowing something to happen? If the answer is yes, then dilemmas are possible, and if the answer is no, then they are not. Furthermore, it will be argued that it is our instincts about this normative issue that truly shape our views on the dilemmas debate. After sorting out these issues, the paper argues that as yet there is no good reason to rule out the theory of dilemma advocates, and thus that the widespread rejection of moral dilemmas is not as well-founded as is often assumed. (shrink)
Evaluative and normative concepts are often said to be "essentially contestable". This notion has been used in political and legal theory and applied ethics to analyze disputes concerning the proper usage of terms like "democracy", "freedom", "genocide", "rape", "coercion", and "the rule of law". Many philosophers have also thought that essential contestability tells us something important about the evaluative in particular. Gallie (who coined the term), for instance, argues that the central structural features of essentially contestable concepts secure their evaluativeness. (...) I'll argue that these (widely held) central features are exemplified by many evaluative and non-evaluative terms alike, owing to more general factors (such as multidimensionality) which have nothing in particular to do with being evaluative. The role of these factors in semantic interpretation is subject to a certain kind of "metasemantic" disputes which have the features of the disputes characteristically admitted by essentially contestable concepts (whether evaluative or not) and which can be similarly substantive and worthwhile. In closing I'll discuss how my argument shows that our understanding of evaluative disagreement needs refinement. The overall upshot is that essential contestability shows nothing deep or distinctive about the evaluative in particular. (shrink)
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the internal structure of Gandhi's ethics as a way to determine opportunities for improving that system's ability to influence behavior. In this paper, the author aims to work under the idea that a system of ethics is a guide for social responsibility. -/- Design/methodology/approach – The data source is Gandhi's set of ethics as described by Naess. These simple (primarily quantitative) studies compare the concepts within the code of ethics, and (...) their relationships to one another. -/- Findings – Gandhi's ethics are robust at the 0.25 level (the scale is zero to one – zero is lowest). This is consistent with theories of the social sciences (that do not work well in practice). Gandhi's success might be ascribed to his leadership ability. -/- Research limitations/implications – Some suggest this approach is reductionist because of its superficial similarity to approaches of physical science. The implications for research are profound. First, this approach provides an objective method for comparing (and so, advancing) systems of ethics. Second, this paper suggests the opportunity to compare the internal structure of ethics with “external” aspects – the implementation of ethical systems. -/- Practical implications – By itself, Gandhi's system of ethics cannot be reliably applied in practice - it cannot be expected to change behavior more than any other system of ethics. This raises concerns about other ethical codes as well. The practical implications of the form of analysis presented in this paper are immense because it provides a way for practitioners to objectively compare two codes of ethics and determine which one will be more effective. -/- Originality/value – The approach documented in the paper has never been applied to the field of ethics. It is unique in that it addresses the “internal” structure of a system of ethics (compared to the “external”, or application, of ethical systems). (shrink)
This study examined correlations between moral value judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey (MIS), and participant scores on the Short-D3 “Dark Triad” Personality Inventory—a measure of three related “dark and socially destructive” personality traits: Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy. Five hundred sixty-seven participants (302 male, 257 female, 2 transgendered; median age 28) were recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk and Yale Experiment Month web advertisements. Different responses to MIS items were initially hypothesized to be “conservative” or “liberal” in line with (...) traditional public divides. Our demographic data confirmed all of these hypothesized categorizations. We then tested two broad, exploratory hypotheses: (H1) the hypothesis that there would be “many” significant correlations between conservative MIS judgments and the Dark Triad, and (H2) the hypothesis that there would be no significant correlations between liberal MIS judgments and Machiavellianism or Psychopathy, but “some” significant correlations between liberal MIS judgments and Narcissism. Because our hypotheses were exploratory and we ran a large number of statistical tests (62 total), we utilized a Bonferroni Correction to set a very high threshold for significance (p = .0008). Our results broadly supported our two hypotheses. We found eleven significant correlations between conservative MIS judgments and the Dark Triad—all at significance level of p < .00001—but no significant correlations between the Dark Triad and liberal MIS judgments. We believe that these results raise provocative moral questions about the personality bases of moral judgments. In particular, we propose that because the Short-D3 measures three “dark and antisocial” personality traits, our results raise some prima facie worries about the moral justification of some conservative moral judgments. (shrink)
The so-called Common Sense Morality (C) is any moral theory that allows, or requires, an agent to accept special, non-instrumental reasons to give advantage to certain other persons, usually the agent’s friends or kin, over the interests of others. Opponents charge C with violating the requirement of impartiality defined as independence on positional characteristics of moral agents and moral patients. Advocates of C claim that C is impartial, but only in a positional manner in which every moral agent would acquire (...) the same relational characteristics if that agent was in a certain relationship to the given moral patient. The opponents of C reply that a theory that allows for positional characteristics is self-defeating; it violates the requirement of prescriptivity due to its inability to provide moral recommendations what should happen all things considered. Advocates of C retort that a moral theory should be prescriptive by telling every agent what to do, not what should the joint outcome of those activities be. In this paper I analyze the last two moves of this debate: the objection that C is self-defeating and the reply that there is a plausible moral theory (C) that accommodates positional characteristics of special moral reasons. (shrink)
In its descriptive sense ethical language allows one to make assertions, which like other assertions may be true or not. “One should not torture,” descriptively, makes an assertion about torture - that it is an act that one should not do. While the peculiar force of ethical language comes from its overloading of different types of uses - descriptive, imperative, and emotive -, our concern here will be with the descriptive. Many of our assertions will focus on the English word (...) ʻshould,ʼ although mutatis mutandi they hold as well for other ethical terms, such as ʻjust.ʼ.. (shrink)
Metaethics occupies a central place in analytical philosophy, and the last forty years has seen an upsurge of interest in questions about the nature and practice of morality. This collection presents original and ground-breaking research on metaethical issues from some of the very best of a new generation of philosophers working in this field.
Ethics is frequently divided into three parts: metaethics, normative ethical theory, and the more specific normative ethics. However, only metaethics is explicitly philosophical insofar as it is concerned with fundamental questions about the content, objects, and status of ethical thought and discourse. During the heyday of conceptual analysis, philosophers were admonished to restrict themselves entirely to metaethics. Since, it was said, they lacked any special expertise as philosophers on normative questions, their pronouncements could be no more than hortatory. I will (...) argue that there is no satisfactory alternative to conducting normative ethical inquiry in conjunction with metaethics. Only by investigating normative and metaethical questions together in an integrated philosophical ethics can we hope to make real progress with either. Ethics should remain part of philosophy. (shrink)
I argue, contra Dreier, Blackburn, and others, that there are no morally neutral metaethical positions. Every metaethical position commits you to the denial of some moral statement. So, for example, the metaethical position that there are no moral properties commits you to the denial of the (quite plausible) moral conjunction of 1) it is right to interfere violently when someone is wrongly causing massive suffering and 2) it is wrong to interfere violently when only non-moral properties are at stake. The (...) argument generalizes to all metaethical positions. (shrink)
Do moral facts exist? What would they be like if they did? What does it mean to say that a moral claim is true? What is the link between moral judgement and motivation? Can we know whether something is right and wrong? And is morality a fiction? "Metaethics: An Introduction" presents a very clear and engaging survey of the key concepts and positions in what has become one of the most exciting and influential fields of philosophy. Free from technicality and (...) jargon, this book covers the main ideas that have shaped metaethics from the work of G. E. Moore to the latest thinking. Written specifically for beginning students, this book assumes no prior philosophical knowledge. This book highlights ways to avoid common errors, offers hints and tips on learning the subject, includes a glossary of core terms, and provides guidance for further study. (shrink)
This book defends a form of ethical intuitionism, according to which (i) there are objective moral truths; (ii) we know some of these truths through a kind of immediate, intellectual awareness, or "intuition"; and (iii) our knowledge of moral truths gives us reasons for action independent of our desires. The author rebuts all the major objections to this theory and shows that the alternative theories about the nature of ethics all face grave difficulties.
In this essay, I present three arguments for the claim that theists should reject divine command theory (DCT) in favor of divine attitude theory (DAT). First, DCT (but not DAT) implies that some cognitively normal human persons are exempt from the dictates of morality. Second, it is incumbent upon us to cultivate the skill of moral judgment, a skill that fits nicely with the claims of DAT but which is superfluous if DCT is true. Third, an attractive and widely shared (...) conception of Jewish/Christian religious devotion leads us naturally to an attitude-based conception of morality rather than a command-based one. (shrink)
This paper concerns the relation between two metaethical theses: moral naturalism and moral skepticism. It is important that we distinguish both from a couple of methodological principles with which they might be confused. Let us give the label “Cartesian skepticism” to the method of subjecting to doubt everything for which it is possible to do so—usually by introducing alternative hypotheses that are consistent with all available evidence (e.g., brains in vats). Let us give the label “global naturalism” to the principle (...) that requires of any item which we admit into our ontology that it “fits” (in some manner or cluster of manners to be specified) with our naturalistic scientific worldview. One might be both a Cartesian skeptic and a global naturalist, if the latter principle is something that has survived the former test procedure. Alternatively, one might have adopted global naturalism for some other reason, while having little patience for the Cartesian method of doubt. Moral naturalism is the metaethical view that moral entities (e.g., properties like goodness and evil) fit within the scientific image of the world. The moral naturalist will probably be a global naturalist, but need not be: It is consistent with allowing non-natural entities into one’s ontology that one happens to think that moral properties are of the natural variety. Moral skepticism denies that moral entities fit within our scientific worldview. One way of denying moral naturalism is to be a moral error theorist: to hold that our moral discourse attempts to make reference to moral properties, but these properties do not exist.1 Another way of denying moral naturalism is to be a noncognitivist: to hold that our moral discourse was never really in the business of referring to moral facts or properties in the first place, and ipso facto such facts or properties are not naturalistic. In this paper, the label “moral skepticism” denotes the disjunction of these two theses. Neither the error theorist nor the noncognitivist must be committed to global naturalism, but usually will be; indeed, this commitment will often be a motivating factor of their metaethical views.. (shrink)
Intuitions are widely assumed to play an important evidential role in ethical inquiry. In this paper I critically discuss a recently influential claim that the epistemological credentials of ethical intuitions are undermined by their causal pedigree and functional role. I argue that this claim is exaggerated. In the course of doing so I argue that the challenge to ethical intuitions embodied in this claim should be understood not only as a narrowly epistemological challenge, but also as a substantially ethical one. (...) I argue that this fact illuminates the epistemology of ethical intuitions. (shrink)
The Euthyphro Dilemma is named after a particular exchange between Socrates and Euthyphro in Plato‟s dialogue Euthyphro. In a famous passage, Socrates asks, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” (Plato 1981: 10a), and proceeds to advance arguments which clearly favor the first of these two options (see PLATO). The primary interest in the Euthyphro Dilemma over the years, however, has primarily concerned the relationship between (...) God and morality in the monotheistic religious tradition, where God is taken to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, having created the universe initially and still actively involved in it today. But as we will see at the end of this entry, there has also been a recent surge of interest in a version of the Dilemma which applies to so-called response-dependent accounts of normative properties in meta-ethics. (shrink)
The Continuum Companion to Ethics offers a definitive guide to a key area of contemporary philosophy. The book covers all the fundamental questions asked by meta-ethics and normative ethical theory - areas that have continued to attract interest historically as well as topics that have emerged more recently as active areas of research. Fourteen specially commissioned essays from an international team of experts reveal where important work continues to be done in the field and, most valuably, the exciting new directions (...) the field is taking. The Companion explores issues pertaining to moral methodology, moral realism, ethical expressivism, constructivism and the error theory, morality and practical reason, moral psychology, morality and religion, consequentialism, Kantian ethics, virtue ethics, feminist ethics, moral particularism, experimental ethics, and biology, evolution, and ethics. Featuring a series of indispensable research tools, including important technical terms in ethics, a historical chronology, an extensive overview of contemporary meta-ethics and normative ethical theory, a detailed list of internet resources for research in ethics, and a thorough list of recommended works for further study, this is the essential reference tool for anyone working in contemporary philosophical ethics. (shrink)
The study of morality continues to flourish in contemporary philosophy. As the chapters of this Companion illustrate, new and exciting work is being done on a wide range of topics from the objectivity of morality to the relationship between morality and religious, biological, and feminist concerns. Along with this vast amount of work has come a proliferation of technical terminology and competing positions. The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the terrain in contemporary ethics.
Kane's ambitious and bold book presents a sustained argument for an ethical theory that gives an account of right action and the good life. The general structure of the main argument is presented and specific points are critically discussed.
It has often been suggested that people's ordinary understanding of morality involves a belief in objective moral truths and a rejection of moral relativism. The results of six studies call this claim into question. Participants did offer apparently objectivist moral intuitions when considering individuals from their own culture, but they offered increasingly relativist intuitions considering individuals from increasingly different cultures or ways of life. The authors hypothesize that people do not have a fixed commitment to moral objectivism but instead tend (...) to adopt different views depending on the degree to which they consider radically different perspectives on moral questions. (shrink)
"The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice." (Martin Luther King) -/- A moral explanation is an explanation of a particular or type of event (or fact or state of affairs) that features moral terms in the explaining phrase. Here are some examples. First, one way of the above quote is as the claim that, in the broad sweep of history, societies tend toward more just institutions, and that they do so precisely because these institutions (...) are just. This is a moral explanation of social development. Second, historians might claim that “The injustice of slavery contributed to its demise”: this is a moral explanation of a historical event. Third, I might say that “I believe that Hitler was morally depraved because he was morally depraved”: this is a moral explanation of a moral belief. Finally, philosophers sometimes say things like “In the original Trolley case, it is morally right to flick the switch, because this will lead to the morally best outcome”: this is a moral explanation of a particular moral fact. -/- The issue of the availability of moral explanations of these types is relevant to both normative ethics and metaethics. In normative ethics the availability of moral explanations is bound up with the possibility of general normative theories. In metaethics the issue of moral explanations is closely tied to the doctrine of moral realism. In what follows I first trace the relevance of moral explanations to normative ethics and metaethics, before considering some examples in detail. (shrink)
Agent-based computer simulation and ethics Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9660-7 Authors Beckett Sterner, Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, The University of Chicago, Social Sciences Building 205, 1126 E 59th St, Chicago, IL 60637, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
In a recent study appearing in Neuroethics, I reported observing eleven significant correlations between the “Dark Triad” personality traits – Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy – and “conservative” judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey. Surprisingly, I observed no significant correlations between the Dark Triad and “liberal” judgments. In order to determine whether these results were an artifact of the particular issues I selected, I ran a follow-up study testing the Dark Triad against conservative and liberal judgments on fifteen additional moral (...) issues. The new issues examined include illegal immigration, abortion, the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools, the use of waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the war on terrorism, laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and environmentalism. 1154 participants (680 male, 472 female; median age 29), recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk, completed three surveys: a 15-item Moral Intuition Survey (MIS), the 28-item Short Dark Triad personality inventory, and a five-item demographic survey. The results strongly reinforce my earlier findings. Twenty-two significant correlations were observed between “conservative” judgments and the Dark Triad (all of which were significant past a Bonferonni-corrected significance threshold of p=.0008), compared to seven significant correlations between Dark Triad and “liberal” judgments (only one of which was significant past p=.0008). This article concludes by developing a novel research proposal for determining whether the results of my two studies are “bad news” for conservatives or liberals. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss a set of problems concerning the method of cases as it is used in applied ethics and in the metaphysical debate about personal identity. These problems stem from research in social psychology concerning our access to the data with which the method operates. I argue that the issues facing ethics are more worrying than those facing metaphysics.
Martha Nussbaum has argued in support of the view (supposedly that of Aristotle) that we can, through thought-experiments involving personal identity, find an objective foundation for moral thought without having to appeal to any authority independent of morality. I compare the thought-experiment from Plato’s Philebus that she presents as an example to other thought-experiments involving identity in the literature and argue that this reveals a tension between the sources of authority which Nussbaum invokes for her thought-experiment. I also argue that (...) each of her sources of authority presents further difficulties for her project. Finally, I argue that it is not clear that her thought-experiment is one that actually involves identity in any crucial way. As a result, the case she offers does not offer any satisfactory support for her view on the relation between identity, morality and thought-experiments, but we do gain some insights into what that relation really is along the way. (shrink)
The paper addresses O'Neill's view that her version of Kant's Categorical Imperative, namely, the requirement of followability (RF), marks the supreme principle of reason; it takes issue with her claim that RF commits us to Kantian constructivism in practical philosophy. The paper distinguishes between two readings of RF: on a weak reading, RF ranges over all (practical) reasoning but does not commit to constructivism, and on a strong version RF commits to constructivism but fails to meet its own test, and (...) so is self-defeating. The paper argues that RF, if understood strongly, depends for its reasonableness on reasons that cannot coherently be required to meet RF, so that RF cannot be the supreme principle of reason. The paper considers several responses to this problem in order to suggest that RF depends for its reasonableness on perfectionist considerations. (shrink)
For some time, philosophers have sought a more satisfactory understanding of the mysteries of morality through a close analysis of its assumed kinship with practical rationality, via the psychological capacity of choice. It is the view in the present paper that no such understanding is possible by these means. The significance of morality has nothing to do with choice.
Emotivists hold that moral opinions are wishes and desires, and that the function of moral language is to “express” such states. But if moral opinions were but wishes or desires, why would we see certain opinions as inconsistent with, or following from other opinions? And why should our reasoning include complex opinions such as the opinion that a person ought to be blamed only if he has done something wrong? Indeed, why would we think that anything is conditional on his (...) doing something wrong unless “doing something wrong” signifies a real kind of action? -/- Many have believed, and seemingly on good grounds, that these questions lack good answers, and that emotivism is doomed for that very reason. What I will argue, however, is that once emotivism is recognized for what it is, namely an empirical theory about the psychological nature of moral opinions, and once we relate it to a general theory of human reasoning, moral reasoning and intuitions of inconsistency and consequence are only to be expected. Recent objections to earlier emotivist or “expressivist” accounts can thus be met, and the phenomena of inconsistency and consequence fully embraced by emotivists. (shrink)
We raise three issues for Philip Kitcher's "Ethical Project" (2011): First, we argue that the genealogy of morals starts well before the advent of altruism-failures and the need to remedy them, which Kitcher dates at about 50K years ago. Second, we challenge the likelihood of long term moral progress of the sort Kitcher requires to establish objectivity while circumventing Hume's challenge to avoid trying to derive normative conclusions from positive ones--'ought' from 'is'. Third, we sketch ways in which Kitcher's metaethical (...) opponents could respond to his arguments against them. (shrink)
Normative requirements are often overlooked, but they are central features of the normative world. Rationality is often thought to consist in acting for reasons, but following normative requirements is also a major part of rationality. In particular, correct reasoning – both theoretical and practical – is governed by normative requirements rather than by reasons. This article explains the nature of normative requirements, and gives examples of their importance. It also describes mistakes that philosophers have made as a result of confusing (...) normative requirements with reasons. (shrink)
Expressivist views of an area of discourse encourage us to ask not about the nature of the relevant kinds of values but rather about the nature of the relevant kind of evaluations. Their answer to the latter question typically claims some interesting disanalogy between those kinds of evaluations and descriptions of the world. It does so in hope of providing traction against naturalism-inspired ontological and epistemological worries threatening more ‘realist’ positions. This is a familiar position regarding ethical discourse; however, some (...) authors (e.g. Field, Heller, Gibbard, Blackburn, Chrisman) have recently defended a similar view regarding epistemic discourse. Others (especially Kvanvig, Cuneo, and Lynch) have argued that epistemic expressivism faces special problems, not necessarily attaching to expressivism about other areas. Their arguments differ in interesting ways, but the common strategy is an attempt to show that the very sort of meta-epistemological theorizing needed to articulate and establish epistemic expressivism involves the epistemic expressivist in some sort of internal incoherence or self-defeat. That is, they think that articulating or defending the position requires implicit commitment to the negation of one of the positions core tenets. This paper responds to those arguments on behalf of epistemic expressivism, suggesting that they each misunderstand what is crucial to epistemic expressivism. By responding to these arguments, we hope to achieve more clarity about what epistemic expressivism is and why one might want to endorse it in a meta-epistemology. (shrink)