Non-cognitivism and rational inference

Philosophical Studies 153 (2):243 - 259 (2011)
Non-cognitivism might seem to offer a plausible account of evaluative judgments, at least on the assumption that there is a satisfactory solution to the Frege-Geach problem. However, Cian Dorr has argued that non-cognitivism remains implausible even assuming that the Frege-Geach problem can be solved, on the grounds that non-cognitivism still has to classify some paradigmatically rational inferences as irrational. Dorr's argument is ingenious and at first glance seems decisive. However, in this paper I will show that Dorr's argument equivocates between two different notions of evidence, and that once this equivocation is noted there is no reason to doubt that non-cognitivism is consistent with the rationality of such inferences, at least if it is assumed that the Frege-Geach problem can be solved. In particular, I will show that non-cognitivists can endorse the same explanation of the rationality of such inferences that cognitivists should endorse, and that there is thus no need for non-cognitivists to offer any sort of idiosyncratic account of the epistemology of such cases, in contrast to what other commentators on Dorr's argument have thought
Keywords Non-cognitivism  Expressivism  Rationality  Frege–Geach problem  Cian Dorr
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