Analysis 64 (1):84–91 (2004)
|Abstract||1. In ‘A problem for expressivism’ Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit argue ‘that expressivists do not have a persuasive story to tell about how ethical sentences can express attitudes without reporting them and, in particular, without being true or false’ (1998: 240). Brieﬂy: expressivists say that ethical sentences serve to express non-cognitive attitudes, but that these sentences do not report non-cognitive attitudes. The view that ethical sentences do report non-cognitive attitudes is not Expressivism (and not non-cognitivism), but rather a version of cognitivism. According to (what we’ll call) Subjectivism, a typical ethical sentence like ‘Abortion is wrong’ reports the speaker’s non-cognitive attitude toward abortion; it says, in effect, that abortion is the object of some attitude of the speaker’s. Expressivists, by contrast, say that the sentence expresses a non-cognitive attitude toward abortion, but does not say that the speaker has it. Ayer put it this way: I can say that I am bored by uttering the sentence ‘I am bored’, but I can express boredom, without saying that I am bored, by yawning (Ayer 1952: 109).|
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