Concept Formation in Ethical Theories: Dealing with Polar Predicates

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2010 (August):1-8 (2010)
Abstract
In "A Danger of Definition: Polar Predicates in Metaethics," Mark Alfano (2009) concludes that the response-dependence theory of Prinz and others and the fitting-attitudes theory first articulated by Brentano are false because they imply empirically false statements. He further concludes that these statements cannot be avoided by revising the definitions of the terms 'good' and 'bad' used in the two theories. I strengthen Alfano's first conclusion by arguing that the two theories are false even if they imply empirically true but conceptually contingent statements, and show how, contrary to his second conclusion, the theories can avoid both empirically false and conceptually contingent implications.
Keywords definition theory  creativity  conservativeness  response-dependence theory  fitting-attitudes theory
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