Warring Tautologies: Moral Dissent from a Cognitivist Perspective

Ethic@ 8 (1):125-145 (2009)
It is commonly thought that the prevalence of moral dissent poses a problem for the moral cognitivist, forcing her to diagnose either a lot of misunderstanding, or a lot of unexplained observational error. Since mere misunderstanding can be ruled out in most cases of moral dissent, and since the diagnosis of widespread unexplained error is interpretively unstable, prevalent dissent has pushed many philosophers towards non-cognitivism. In this essay, I argue that once a diachronic, pragmatist theory of language along the lines of the latest Wittgenstein is employed, a third interpretive option becomes available to the cognitivist. Besides the diagnostic options of misunderstanding and factual disagreement, she can argue that a given case of moral dissent is an instance of grammatical tension. This interpretation not only saves moral cognitivism, it also has some attractive theoretical implications. Among other things, it yields an elegant way of solving the current debate around moral particularism.
Keywords Moral Cognitivism  Inferentialism  Linguistic Evolution  Wittgenstein
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5007/1677-2954.2009v8n1p125
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Matthias Kiesselbach, Warring Tautologies: Moral Dissent from a Cognitivist Perspective
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Olle Blomberg (2007). Disentangling the Thick Concept Argument. SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):63-78.
Jeff Wisdom (2009). A Defense of Descriptive Moral Content. Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):285-300.
Graham Oddie & Dan Demetriou (2007). The Fictionalist's Attitude Problem. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):485 - 498.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

144 ( #28,018 of 1,938,452 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #82,549 of 1,938,452 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.