Nicholas Smyth Brown University
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  • Graduate student, Brown University

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About me
I'm a PhD candidate at Brown University working in Normative Ethics, Meta-Ethics and Moral Psychology. I'm interested in such questions as: (1) What would it mean to establish that a moral theory has authority over our practical lives? (2) How do human beings understand and interpret the practical reasons on which other human beings act? (3) What is/are the functional role(s) of such concepts as blame, guilt, integrity, character and 'human being'? (4) How have those conceptual roles evolved over cultural history? (5) Is there such a thing as a purely descriptive moral psychology?
My works
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  1. Nicholas Smyth (2014). Resolute Expressivism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (4):1-12.
    Over the years, metaethicists have witnessed the rise of a cottage industry devoted to claiming that expressivist analyses cannot capture some allegedly important feature of moral language. In this paper, I show how Simon Blackburn's pragmatist method enables him to respond decisively to many of these objections. In doing so, I hope to call into question some prevailing assumptions about the linguistic phenomena that a metaethical theory should be expected to capture.
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