David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 25 (2):165 - 185 (2012)
In recent years it has become more and more difficult to distinguish between metaethical cognitivism and non-cognitivism. For example, proponents of the minimalist theory of truth hold that moral claims need not express beliefs in order to be (minimally) truth-apt, and yet some of these proponents still reject the traditional cognitivist analysis of moral language and thought. Thus, the dispute in metaethics between cognitivists and non-cognitivists has come to be seen as a dispute over the correct way to characterize our psychology: are moral judgments beliefs, or a kind of pro-attitude? In this paper, I argue that this distinction, too, is difficult to maintain in the light of a reasonable skepticism about folk psychology. I conclude by suggesting some new possibilities for the analysis of moral language that look beyond this distinction. I begin by briefly reviewing some contemporary positions in metaethics on cognitivism and non-cognitivism, that are intended to emphasize the supposed psychological differences between the two views. I show that the appearance of a clear difference between these views depends on one's having a very strong commitment to the context-independence and completeness of certain concepts of folk psychology. I then argue for a moderate skepticism about folk psychology. I conclude that folk concepts like ?belief? are not sufficiently well-defined to settle this metaethical dispute
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Allan Gibbard (1990). Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment. Harvard University Press.
Allan Gibbard (2003). Thinking How to Live. Harvard University Press.
W. V. Quine (1969). Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. Columbia University Press.
Simon Blackburn (1984). Spreading the Word. Clarendon Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Daniel D. Hutto (2008). Limited Engagements and Narrative Extensions. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (3):419 – 444.
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