The Ought-Is Gap: Trouble For Hybrid Semantics

Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):657-670 (2012)
When it comes to the meanings of normative expressions, descriptivist theories and expressivist theories have distinct explanatory virtues. Noting this, and with the hope of not compromising on explanatory resources, hybrid semantic theories refuse to choose. Here, I examine how well the strategy works for Moorean open questions and associated is-ought gaps. Though hybrid theorists typically rely on their expressivist resources for this explanandum, there is a type of open question that unadulterated expressivist theories can handle but hybrid theories cannot – reverse open questions associated with an ought-is gap. Because of this, hybrid theories do not enjoy the best of both worlds, and Moorean considerations favour unadulterated expressivism over any partly descriptivist theory
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9213.2012.00082.x
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