The Pragmatics of Moral Motivation

Journal of Ethics 15 (4):341-369 (2011)
Abstract
One of the most prevalent and influential assumptions in metaethics is that our conception of the relation between moral language and motivation provides strong support to internalism about moral judgments. In the present paper, I argue that this supposition is unfounded. Our responses to the type of thought experiments that internalists employ do not lend confirmation to this view to the extent they are assumed to do. In particular, they are as readily explained by an externalist view according to which there is a pragmatic and standardized connection between moral utterances and motivation. The pragmatic account I propose states that a person’s utterance of a sentence according to which she ought to ϕ conveys two things: the sentence expresses, in virtue of its conventional meaning, the belief that she ought to ϕ, and her utterance carries a generalized conversational implicature to the effect that she is motivated to ϕ. This view also makes it possible to defend cognitivism against a well-known internalist argument
Keywords Cognitivism – Externalism – Generalized conversational implicature – Paul Grice – Metaethics – Moral motivation – Non-cognitivism
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References found in this work BETA
Robert Audi (1997). Moral Judgment and Reasons for Action. In Garrett Cullity & Berys Nigel Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. 125--160.
Simon Blackburn (1995). The Flight to Reality. In Rosalind Hursthouse, Gavin Lawrence & Warren Quinn (eds.), Virtues and Reasons. Clarendon Press. 35--56.

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Caj Strandberg (2012). A Dual Aspect Account of Moral Language. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):87-122.
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Sergio Tenenbaum (2011). Externalism, Motivation, and Moral Knowledge. In Susana Nuccetelli & Gary Seay (eds.), Ethical Naturalism: Current Debates. Cambridge University Press.
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