Expression, truth, and reality : some variations on themes from Wright
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Crispin Wright & Annalisa Coliva (eds.), Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge: Themes From the Philosophy of Crispin Wright. Oxford University Press (2012)
Expressivism, broadly construed, is the view that the function of utterances in a given area of discourse is to give expression to our sentiments or other (non-cognitive) mental states or attitudes, rather than report or describe some range of facts. This view naturally seems an attractive option wherever it is suspected that there may not be a domain of facts for the given discourse to be describing. Familiarly, to avoid commitment to ethical facts, the ethical expressivist suggests that ethical utterances (e.g., “Gratuitous torture is wrong”, “What John did was morally good”) do not serve to ascribe ethical properties to objects, actions, persons, or states of affairs. Instead, they simply function to give voice to certain of our sentiments (or ‘pro/con’ attitudes). Along similar lines, philosophers have entertained versions of expressivism about the aesthetic, the modal, the mental, what is funny, even about theoretical science and knowledge ascriptions.
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