Quine on Ethics

Theoria 64 (1):84-98 (2008)
Abstract
W.V. Quine has expressed a fairly conventional form of non-cognitivism in those of his writings that concern the status of moral judgments. For instance, in Quine (1981), he argues that ethics, as compared with science, is ‘methodologically infirm’. The reason is that while science is responsive to observation, and therefore ‘retains some title to a correspondence theory of truth’ (p. 63), ethics lacks such responsiveness. This in turn leads Quine to contrast moral judgments with judgments that make cognitive claims (i.e., judgments that are true or false). In Quine (1986), he argues that ‘[m]oral judgments differ [...] from cognitive ones in their relation to observation’ (p. 664).
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