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  1. Dorit Bar-On & James Sias (2013). Varieties of Expressivism. Philosophy Compass 8 (8):699-713.
    After offering a characterization of what unites versions of ‘expressivism’, we highlight a number of dimensions along which expressivist views should be distinguished. We then separate four theses often associated with expressivism – a positive expressivist thesis, a positive constitutivist thesis, a negative ontological thesis, and a negative semantic thesis – and describe how traditional expressivists have attempted to incorporate them. We argue that expressivism in its traditional form may be fatally flawed, but that expressivists nonetheless have the resources for (...)
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  2. Gunnar Björnsson (2013). Contextualism in Ethics. In Hugh LaFolette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    There are various ways in which context matters in ethics. Most clearly, the context in which an action is performed might determine whether the action is morally right: though it is often wrong not to keep a promise, it might be permissible in certain contexts. More radically, proponents of moral particularism (see particularism) have argued that a reason for an action in one context is not guaranteed to be a reason in a different context: whether it is a reason against (...)
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  3. Gunnar Björnsson (2013). Quasi-Realism, Absolutism, and Judgment-Internal Correctness Conditions. In Christer Svennerlind, Jan Almäng & Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (eds.), Johanssonian Investigations. Ontos Verlag. 96-120.
    The traditional metaethical distinction between cognitivist absolutism,on the one hand, and speaker relativism or noncognitivism, on the other,seemed both clear and important. On the former view, moral judgmentswould be true or false independently on whose judgments they were, andmoral disagreement might be settled by the facts. Not so on the latter views. But noncognitivists and relativists, following what Simon Blackburn has called a “quasi-realist” strategy, have come a long way inmaking sense of talk about truth of moral judgments and itsindependence (...)
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  4. Michael Clark (1972). Obligations. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 73:53 - 67.
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  5. David Copp (2009). Realist-Expressivism and Conventional Implicature. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:167-202.
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  6. Edmund Dain (forthcoming). Eliminating Ethics: Wittgenstein, Ethics and the Limits of Sense. Philosophical Topics.
    This paper is about what might be called the philosophical tradition of ethics, and Wittgenstein’s opposition or hostility to that tradition. My aim will be to argue that ethics, or a large part of what we think of as ethics, is nonsense, and in doing so I shall be developing the line of argument that I take to lie behind Wittgenstein’s claim in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that there can be no ethical propositions. That argument has its basis in the simple (...)
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  7. Edmund Dain (2008). Review of Mark Kalderon, Moral Fictionalism. [REVIEW] International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (1):146-9.
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  8. Tom Dougherty (2013). Vague Value. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1).
    You are morally permitted to save your friend at the expense of a few strangers, but not at the expense of very many. However, there seems no number of strangers that marks a precise upper bound here. Consequently, there are borderline cases of groups at the expense of which you are permitted to save your friend. This essay discusses the question of what explains ethical vagueness like this, arguing that there are interesting metaethical consequences of various explanations.
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  9. Daniel Y. Elstein & Thomas Hurka (2009). From Thick to Thin: Two Moral Reduction Plans. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (4):pp. 515-535.
    Many philosophers of the last century thought all moral judgments can be expressed using a few basic concepts — what are today called ‘thin’ moral concepts such as ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ ‘right,’ and ‘wrong.’ This was the view, fi rst, of the non-naturalists whose work dominated the early part of the century, including Henry Sidgwick, G.E. Moore, W.D. Ross, and C.D. Broad. Some of them recognized only one basic concept, usually either ‘ought’ or ‘good’; others thought there were two. But they (...)
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  10. Mary Gore Forrester (1982). Moral Language. University of Wisconsin Press.
    And the Light Shineth in Darkness Stephen: the refusal In Ulysses the character of Stephen Dedalus is free of the institutional attachments confronted in ...
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  11. Christopher Freiman (2014). Goodness and Moral Twin Earth. Erkenntnis 79 (2):445-460.
    Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons’s “Moral Twin Earth” thought experiment allegedly undercuts virtually any form of naturalist moral realism. I argue that a neo-Aristotelian conception of moral properties defeats Moral Twin Earth. Developing themes in the work of Peter Geach, Philippa Foot, and Rosalind Hursthouse, I sketch an Aristotelian moral semantics that is unique in construing terms like ‘right’ and ‘good’ exclusively as attributive adjectives that denote relational properties. On this view, moral goodness is a relational property predicated of those (...)
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  12. Joshua Gert (2007). Cognitivism, Expressivism, and Agreement in Response. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume Ii. Clarendon Press.
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  13. Oswald Hanfling (2003). Learning About Right and Wrong: Ethics and Language. Philosophy 78 (1):25-41.
    The difference between right and wrong is not something that is taught; it is, necessarily, picked up by a child in the course of learning its native language, and parents have no choice about this. In learning the meaning of ‘steal’, for example, the child learns that such actions are wrong. It also develops, through a kind of conditioning, the appropriate feelings and attitudes. The very concept of a reason has a moral content; so that, in acquiring this concept, the (...)
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  14. Diana Heney (2012). Santayana on Value: Expressivism, Self-Knowledge and Happiness. Overheard in Seville 30 (30):4-13.
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  15. C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan (2010). Maximising, Satisficing and Context. Noûs 44 (3):451-468.
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  16. Guy Kahane (2013). Must Metaethical Realism Make a Semantic Claim? Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):148-178.
    Mackie drew attention to the distinct semantic and metaphysical claims made by metaethical realists, arguing that although our evaluative discourse is cognitive and objective, there are no objective evaluative facts. This distinction, however, also opens up a reverse possibility: that our evaluative discourse is antirealist, yet objective values do exist. I suggest that this seemingly farfetched possibility merits serious attention; realism seems committed to its intelligibility, and, despite appearances, it isn‘t incoherent, ineffable, inherently implausible or impossible to defend. I argue (...)
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  17. Berel Lang (1991). Writing and the Moral Self. Routledge.
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  18. James Lenman (2010). 1. How to Share a Flat. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press. 5--175.
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  19. Neil Levy (2011). Moore on Twin Earth. Erkenntnis 75 (1):137-146.
    In a series of articles, Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have argued that Richard Boyd’s defence of moral realism, utilizing a causal theory of reference, fails. Horgan and Timmons construct a twin Earth-style thought experiment which, they claim, generates intuitions inconsistent with the realist account. In their thought experiment, the use of (allegedly) moral terms at a world is causally regulated by some property distinct from that regulating their use here on Earth; nevertheless, Horgan and Timmons claim, it is intuitive (...)
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  20. John M. Mikhail (2011). Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment. Cambridge University Press.
    Is the science of moral cognition usefully modeled on aspects of Universal Grammar? Are human beings born with an innate "moral grammar" that causes them to analyze human action in terms of its moral structure, with just as little awareness as they analyze human speech in terms of its grammatical structure? Questions like these have been at the forefront of moral psychology ever since John Mikhail revived them in his influential work on the linguistic analogy and its implications for jurisprudence (...)
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  21. John M. Mikhail (2000). Rawls' Linguistic Analogy. Dissertation, Cornell University
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  22. Michael Rubin (2014). On Two Responses to Moral Twin Earth. Theoria 80 (1):26-43.
    Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons's Moral Twin Earth thought experiment poses a serious challenge for an influential kind of moral realism. It presents us with a case in which it is intuitive that two speakers are expressing a substantive disagreement with one another. However, the meta-semantics associated with this relevant form of moral realism entails that the speakers' moral predicates express different semantic contents, and thus, the moral sentences they utter do not express conflicting propositions. Consequently, this variety of moral (...)
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  23. Anders Schinkel (2011). Huck Finn, Moral Language and Moral Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (3):511-525.
    The aim of this article is twofold. Against the traditional interpretation of ‘the conscience of Huckleberry Finn’ (for which Jonathan Bennett's article with this title is the locus classicus) as a conflict between conscience and sympathy, I propose a new interpretation of Huck's inner conflict, in terms of Huck's mastery of (the) moral language and its integration with his moral feelings. The second aim is to show how this interpretation can provide insight into a particular aspect of moral education: learning (...)
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  24. Mark Schroeder (2012). Philosophy of Language for Metaethics. In Gillian Russell & Delia Graff Fara (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Routledge.
    Metaethics is the study of metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, insofar as they relate to the subject matter of moral or, more broadly, normative discourse – the subject matter of what is good, bad, right or wrong, just, reasonable, rational, what we must or ought to do, or otherwise. But out of these four ‘core’ areas of philosophy, it is plausibly the philosophy of language that is most central to metaethics – and not simply (...)
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  25. Alex Silk (2013). Truth Conditions and the Meanings of Ethical Terms1. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 8:195.
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  26. Alex Silk (2012). Review of Shafer-Landau, Russ, (Ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 6. [REVIEW] Ethics 122 (3):622-627.
  27. Jorn Sonderholm (2013). Unreliable Intuitions: A New Reply to the Moral Twin-Earth Argument. Theoria 79 (1):76-88.
    This article is concerned with Mark Timmons and Terence Horgan's influential twin-earth argument against the semantic views of that school of thought in metaethics that has come to be known as “Cornell realism”. The semantic views of Cornell realism have been developed in greatest detail by Richard Boyd, and it is Boyd's view that is targeted by Timmons and Horgan. In the first part of the article, the twin-earth argument is introduced and two versions of it are disentangled. Thereafter, a (...)
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  28. Charles L. Stevenson (1979). Ethics and Language. Ams Press.
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  29. Daniel Stoljar & Michael Smith (2003). Is There a Lockean Argument Against Expressivism? Analysis 63 (1):76 - 86.
    It is sometimes suggested that expressivism in meta-ethics is to be criticized on grounds which do not themselves concern meta-ethics in particular, but which rather concern philosophy of language more generally. Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit (1998; see also Jackson and Pettit 1999, and Jackson 2001) have recently advanced a novel version of such an argument. They begin by noting that expressivism in its central form makes two claims—that ethical sentences are not truth evaluable, and that to assert an ethical (...)
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  30. Ezra Talmor (1984). Language and Ethics. Pergamon Press.
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  31. T. Toppinen (2013). Believing in Expressivism. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 8.
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  32. Pekka Väyrynen (2014). Essential Contestability and Evaluation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy (3):1-18.
  33. Pekka Väyrynen (2013). The Lewd, the Rude and the Nasty: A Study of Thick Concepts in Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    In addition to thin concepts like the good, the bad and the ugly, our evaluative thought and talk appeals to thick concepts like the lewd and the rude, the selfish and the cruel, the courageous and the kind -- concepts that somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. Thick concepts are almost universally assumed to be inherently evaluative in content, and many philosophers claimed them to have deep and distinctive significance in ethics and metaethics. In this first book-length treatment of thick (...)
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  34. David Wiggins (1998). Needs, Values, Truth: Essays in the Philosophy of Value. Oxford University Press.
    Needs, Values, Truth brings together of some of the most important and influential writings by a leading contemporary philosopher, drawn from twenty-five years of his work in the broad area of the philosophy of value. The author ranges between problems of ethics, meta-ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of logic and language, looking at questions relating to meaning, truth and objectivity in judgements of value. For this third edition he has added a new essay on incommensurability, in addition to making (...)
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Moral Semantics
  1. Nicholas Baima (2014). The Problem of Ethical Vagueness for Expressivism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):593-605.
    Ethical vagueness has garnered little attention. This is rather surprising since many philosophers have remarked that the science of ethics lacks the precision that other fields of inquiry have. Of the few philosophers who have discussed ethical vagueness the majority have focused on the implications of vagueness for moral realism. Because the relevance of ethical vagueness for other metaethical positions has been underexplored, my aim in this paper is to investigate the ramifications of ethical vagueness for expressivism. Ultimately, I shall (...)
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  2. Derek Baker & Jack Woods (forthcoming). How Expressivists Can and Should Explain Inconsistency. Ethics.
    Mark Schroeder has argued that all reasonable forms of inconsistency of attitude consist of having the same attitude type towards a pair of inconsistent contents (A-type inconsistency). We suggest that he is mistaken in this, offering a number of intuitive examples of pairs of distinct attitudes types with consistent contents which are intuitively inconsistent (B-type inconsistency). We further argue that, despite the virtues of Schroeder's elegant A-type expressivist semantics, B-type inconsistency is in many ways the more natural choice in developing (...)
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  3. David Barnett (2002). Against a Posteriori Moral Naturalism. Philosophical Studies 107 (3):239 - 257.
    A posteriori Moral Naturalism posits a posteriorimoral/naturalistic identities. Versions of this view thatposit necessary identities purport to rely on theKripke/Putnam doctrine of scientific essentialism.Versions that posit only contingent identities requirethat moral terms are non-rigid designators. I argue thatmetaethics does not fall within the scope of scientificessentialism and that moral terms are not non-rigid designators.
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  4. Lars Binderup (2008). Brogaard's Moral Contextualism. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):410–415.
    Brogaard's non-indexical version of moral contextualism has two related problems. It is unable to account for the function of truth-governed assertoric moral discourse, since it leaves two (semantically clearheaded) disputants without any incentive to resolve seemingly contradictory moral claims. The moral contextualist could explain why people do feel such an incentive by ascribing false beliefs about the semantic workings of their own language. But, secondly, this leaves Brogaard's moral contextualism looking weaker than a Mackie-style invariantist error theory about morals. The (...)
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  5. Gunnar Björnsson & Stephen Finlay (2010). Metaethical Contextualism Defended. Ethics 121 (1):7-36.
    We defend a contextualist account of deontic judgments as relativized both to (i) information and to (ii) standards or ends, against recent objections that turn on practices of moral disagreement. Kolodny & MacFarlane argue that information-relative contextualism cannot accommodate the connection between deliberation and advice; we suggest in response that they misidentify the basic concerns of deliberating agents. For pragmatic reasons, semantic assessments of normative claims sometimes are evaluations of propositions other than those asserted. Weatherson, Schroeder and others have raised (...)
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  6. Gunnar Björnsson & Tristram McPherson (2014). Moral Attitudes for Non-Cognitivists: Solving the Specification Problem. Mind 123 (489):1-38.
    Moral non-cognitivists hope to explain the nature of moral agreement and disagreement as agreement and disagreement in non-cognitive attitudes. In doing so, they take on the task of identifying the relevant attitudes, distinguishing the non-cognitive attitudes corresponding to judgements of moral wrongness, for example, from attitudes involved in aesthetic disapproval or the sports fan’s disapproval of her team’s performance. We begin this paper by showing that there is a simple recipe for generating apparent counterexamples to any informative specification of the (...)
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  7. Olle Blomberg (2007). Disentangling the Thick Concept Argument. SATS 8 (2):63-78.
    Critics argue that non-cognitivism cannot adequately account for the existence and nature of some thick moral concepts. They use the existence of thick concepts as a lever in an argument against non-cognitivism, here called the Thick Concept Argument (TCA). While TCA is frequently invoked, it is unfortunately rarely articulated. In this paper, TCA is first reconstructed on the basis of John McDowell’s formulation of the argument (from 1981), and then evaluated in the light of several possible non-cognitivist responses. In general, (...)
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  8. Michael Brady (ed.) (2011). New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave Macmillan.
    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.
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  9. Berit Brogaard (2008). Moral Contextualism and Moral Relativism. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):385 - 409.
    Moral relativism provides a compelling explanation of linguistic data involving ordinary moral expressions like 'right' and 'wrong'. But it is a very radical view. Because relativism relativizes sentence truth to contexts of assessment it forces us to revise standard linguistic theory. If, however, no competing theory explains all of the evidence, perhaps it is time for a paradigm shift. However, I argue that a version of moral contextualism can account for the same data as relativism without relativizing sentence truth to (...)
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  10. Aaron Bronfman & J. L. Dowell, Janice (forthcoming). The Language of Reasons and 'Ought'. In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons.
  11. Matthew Chrisman (2012). 'Ought' and Control. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):433-451.
    Ethical theorists often assume that the verb ?ought? means roughly ?has an obligation?; however, this assumption is belied by the diversity of ?flavours? of ought-sentences in English. A natural response is that ?ought? is ambiguous. However, this response is incompatible with the standard treatment of ?ought? by theoretical semanticists, who classify ?ought? as a member of the family of modal verbs, which are treated uniformly as operators. To many ethical theorists, however, this popular treatment in linguistics seems to elide an (...)
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  12. Matthew Chrisman (2012). On the Meaning of 'Ought'. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 7. Oxford University Press. 304.
    Discussions about the meaning of the word “ought” are pulled in two apparently competing directions. First, in ethical theory this word is used in the paradigmatic statement of ethical principles and conclusions about what some agent is obligated to do. This leads some ethical theorists to claim that the word “ought” describes a real relation, roughly, of being obligated to (realism) or expresses some non-cognitive attitude toward agents acting in certain ways (expressivism). Second, in theoretical linguistics this word is classified (...)
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  13. Matthew Chrisman (2010). Expressivism, Inferentialism, and the Theory of Meaning. In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    One’s account of the meaning of ethical sentences should fit – roughly, as part to whole – with one’s account of the meaning of sentences in general. When we ask, though, where one widely discussed account of the meaning of ethical sentences fits with more general accounts of meaning, the answer is frustratingly unclear. The account I have in mind is the sort of metaethical expressivism inspired by Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare, and defended and worked out in more detail recently (...)
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  14. Matthew Chrisman (2010). From Epistemic Expressivism to Epistemic Inferentialism. In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    Recent philosophical debate about the meaning of knowledge claims has largely centered on the question of whether epistemic claims are plausibly thought to be context sensitive. The default assumption has been that sentences that attribute knowledge or justification (or whatever else is epistemic) have stable truth-conditions across different contexts of utterance, once any non-epistemic context sensitivity has been fixed. The contrary view is the contextualist view that such sentences do not have stable truth-conditions but can vary depending on the context (...)
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  15. Matthew Chrisman (2008). Expressivism, Inferentialism, and Saving the Debate. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):334 - 358.
    Theoretical reasoning aims to expand our knowledge of how the world is. Practical reasoning aims to expand our knowledge of how to behave in the world as we know it to be. Although this distinction between theoretical and practical reasoning is notoriously central to normative ethical theorizing, its significance has, I think, been underappreciated and misconstrued in the metaethical debate about realism. I suspect that this is the result of two aspects of that debate: (a) the realism debate has been (...)
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  16. S. Marc Cohen (1971). Socrates on the Definition of Piety. Journal of the History of Philosophy 9 (1):1-13.
    The central argument in the Euthyphro is the one Socrates advances against the definition of piety as "what all the gods love." The argument turns on establishing that a loved thing (philoumenon) is 1) a loved thing because it is loved (phileitai), not 2) loved because it is a loved thing. I suggest that this claim can be understood and found acceptable if we take "because" to be used equivocally in it. Despite the equivocation, Socrates' argument is valid, showing that (...)
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