David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):601 - 616 (2011)
In this paper I offer solutions to two problems which our moral practice engenders for expressivism, the meta-ethical doctrine according to which ethical statements aren't propositional, susceptible of truth and falsity, but, rather, express the speaker's non-cognitive attitudes. First, the expressivist must show that arguments which are valid when interpreted propositionally are valid when construed expressivistically, and vice versa. The second difficulty is the Frege-Geach problem. Moral arguments employ atomic sentences, negations, disjunctions, etc., and, by expressivist lights, the meaning of a moral sentence depends on the attitude that it expresses. Since one's attitude varies as one asserts a claim, or negates it, or cites it as a disjunct, etc., the meaning of the relevant phrase changes as well, so the argument equivocates. (Formal proofs are provided in appendices to the paper.)
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References found in this work BETA
Simon Blackburn (1988). Attitudes and Contents. Ethics 98 (3):501-517.
Simon Blackburn (1993). Essays in Quasi-Realism. Oxford University Press.
Simon Blackburn (1984). Spreading the Word. Clarendon Press.
M. H. Brighouse (1990). Blackburn's Projectivism — an Objection. Philosophical Studies 59 (2):225 - 233.
P. T. Geach (1965). Assertion. Philosophical Review 74 (4):449-465.
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